The 2010 Internet Summit in Raleigh, North Carolina wrapped up yesterday, with Internet professionals and entrepreneurs from across the United States coming together to discuss topics such as mobile marketing and social ecommerce. Our very own Bob Young was a keynote panelist and featured speaker discussing the future of both the web and books – no doubt two very broad and engaging topics.
Bob’s featured talk was entitled “There is No Such Thing as a Book” – claiming that “whatever replaces the book on the Internet is not going to look like a book.” During Bob’s talk and as a fan of René Magritte, I couldn’t help but imagine someone somewhere in the world wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a Kindle or an iPad and the sentence “Ceci n’est pas une livre” (I’ll wait while you go Google Translate that). Traditionally, we have all come to know and love books in their physical form, but now, “books” are hyper-mobile strings of binary code easily accessible and translatable on multiple devices. A modern-day book’s physical properties are seemingly confined only by the Wi-Fi signals that transmit them.
Bob argued that, “the device you are reading on is going to become more pleasurable,” as a plethora of textual enhancements like video and hypertext accompany the written word. The question for some, however, is whether all you need is a good story? Things like video, hyperlinks and an Internet connect may actually detract from a book’s narrative – diminishing the pleasure derived from an uninterrupted read. Personally, I think that in the future, some readers may intentionally choose to remain on one side of the digital divide, opting to read stories on books – not devices. But of course, that will remain a question of preference and choice, and if there is one thing the future of the web will include – it is choice.
For those of you who were unable to attend the event and enjoy all the interactivity that digital media has to offer, be sure to check out a recap of the lively discussions on Twitter #isum10.
We’d like to thank the organizers of the Internet Summit for putting on such an informative and well-organized event, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.