“We have broken your business, now we want your machines.”

Rus­sell Dav­ies on what’s been per­col­at­ing in digit­al cul­ture regard­ing print media:

It’s not news that the inter­net has stim­u­lated all sorts of cre­ativ­ity in the real world. From com­munit­ies and mar­ket­places of crafters like folksy to new forms of per­son­al man­u­fac­ture like shape­ways; tech­no­logy is giv­ing reg­u­lar people access to tools and mar­kets that once they could­n’t reach. And these aren’t neces­sar­ily new tools or tech­no­lo­gies. It’s just that sud­denly masses of people get to use them where once it was only large organ­isa­tions that could. And the example I wanted to focus on was paper. (It was for The Guard­i­an Media Group after all).

Tim O’Reilly has a great idea about the power of Watch­ing The Alpha Geeks. And if you did that now, you’d notice that an inter­est­ing sub­set of alpha geeks are get­ting all excited about books and paper. You only have to look at Book­Camp this week­end. And its attend­ant Paper­Camp.

Later in the art­icle, he men­tion­s Dave Gray’s book Marks and Mean­ing. Well, actu­ally, Dav­e’s pre­ferred nomen­clature is “unbook” since the dis­tri­bu­tion mod­el and edi­tions are untraditional. Here is his descrip­tion reprin­ted in full:

A tra­di­tion­al book is released in edi­tions. When a work is revised or updated, a new edi­tion is released. These revised or updated edi­tions usu­ally offer small, incre­ment­al changes, such as a new pre­face or intro­duc­tion, a new chapter, or small changes to the con­tent.

An unbook is more like soft­ware:

1. An unbook is nev­er fin­ished, but rather con­tinu­ally updated, based on feed­back from users and their evolving needs.

2. An unbook is released in ver­sions. As in open source soft­ware, ver­sion 1.0 of anunbook is a sig­ni­fic­ant mile­stone, indic­at­ing that it is stable and reli­able enough for use by the gen­er­al pub­lic. The sig­ni­fic­ance of a new release is indic­ated by the size of the gap: For example, the dif­fer­ence between 1.1 and 1.1.3 is minor, while the dif­fer­ence between 1.1 and 2.0 is major.

3. An unbook is sup­por­ted by a com­munity of users who share their exper­i­ences and best prac­tices with each oth­er, and help each oth­er troubleshoot prob­lems encountered in their prac­tice areas. An unbook’s com­munity is a very real part of the unbook’s devel­op­ment team.

An unbook is mind­ware: soft­ware for the mind.

I repeat: In an age of increas­ing digit­iz­a­tion, objects become more valu­able. And digit­iz­a­tion not only increases value, but changes the way we think about objects and, con­sequently, how we dis­trib­ute them. We’ll talk about that more tomor­row.

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