“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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