Future of the Book for IDEO

Exploring the potential of book publishing in digital formats

The Future of the Book is a design exploration of digital reading that seeks to identify new opportunities for readers, publishers, and authors to discover, consume, and connect in different formats.

As more people consume pages in pixels, IDEO designers wondered why we continue to discover and consume the written word through the old analog, page-turning model. We asked: what happens when the reading experience catches up with new technologies?

The team looked at how digital and analog books currently are being read, shared and collected, as well as at trends, business models and consumer behavior within related fields. We identified three distinct opportunities—new narratives, social reading with richer context, and providing tools for critical thinking—and developed a design concept around each one.

The first concept, “Alice,” turns storytelling on its head by making narratives non-linear and participatory. With Alice, the story world starts bleeding into the everyday life of the reader. Real-world challenges, like acting on a phone call from the lead character, or participating in photo based scavenger hunts, unlock new aspects of the story, and turn other readers into collaborators or competitors. Alice is a platform for authors to experiment with narratives, to allow their stories to transcend media, and to engage fans in the storytelling process.

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Project date: 2010


Facts & Figures

IDEO’s Robert Lenne and Duane Bray are interviewed about the Future of the Book on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show. Listen here.

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Future of the Book concept video
Future of the Book concept video
Nelson concept
Nelson concept
Coupland concept
Coupland concept
Alice concept
Alice concept