October 27th, 2010
James Bridle has been thinking about what's missing from the current generation of ebooks:
[While...] traditional books are physical objects, that's not the core of our relationship with them. The truth is that books are essentially not physical objects, but temporal ones.
[The...] real problem with the ebook as it stands is that it denies us many of these temporal aspects, which produces a kind of cognitive dissonance. And there's a social layer that forms around this, another timeline of reading reviews and discussing with friends, that the ebook could actually exploit better than the physical book, if we work on it some more. We really need to look at how we address this temporal mode with ebooks.
Well, the thing I've been thinking about a lot, the thing I keep coming back to, is Bookmarks. Bookmarks in all their forms: as underlining, dogears, annotations, notes and references. User-generated tags and footnotes. A horrible phrase, but. There is something there. [...]
All of which, as well as being interesting in its own right, acts as a launchpad for Bridle's Open Bookmarks project:
Open Bookmarks is a project to discuss, develop and design an open framework for saving, storing and sharing bookmarks, annotations and reading data in ebooks. When established, Open Bookmarks will champion the new standard and support widespread adoption.
We want to work with publishers, software developers, hardware manufacturers, merchants, and anyone with an interest in the future of the book.
Here's hoping the publishing houses have learned something from the experience of their friends in the music and film industries. Something other than "wrap your content in as much platform-specific DRM code as you can find and hope for the best", I mean.
[Via Phil Gyford]