The Future of the Book

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. In 2010, we asked: what happens when the reading experience catches up with new technologies?

Future of the Book concept video

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. 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.

We believe that digital technology creates possibilities, so our solutions truly adapt to the new environment, rather than emulate analog qualities onscreen. Here's a bit more on each of the three developed prototypes:

The “Coupland” concept explores book discovery as a social activity by allowing readers to build shared libraries and hear about additional texts through existing networks.

The "Nelson" concept connects books to commentary, critique, and contextual information, letting readers explore a topic from multiple perspectives. Nelson reinforces the role of books as carriers of knowledge and insight.

“Alice” turns storytelling on its head by making narratives non-linear and participatory.


  • Webby Award, Experimental & Weird, Online Film and Video

  • Core77 Notable Professional, Interactive, Web & Mobile

News Coverage:

Jun 2010