IfBookThen: Book of One

by Suw on March 21, 2013

Nille Svensson, Publit

If the printed book is not going to die or be replaced by the ebook, what can we expect from the future?

Assumptions:

– Commerce moves towards an on-demand economy. People will have more influence on the things they consume.

– Physical objects will increasingly become integrated parts of the digital world.

Digital printing made print-on-demand possible, so can print shorter runs, and ‘demand’ is the publisher’s assumption of the demand from the market.

Publishers still has to make an informed guess about the demand, but talking in 100s instead of 1000s, so doesn’t change much of how the business works.

Is now possible to print one book at a time, which is real print-on-demand, where the demand is the demand of the reader.

Best vantage point to talk about on-demand economy is is the point of purchase, where the decision is made by the end consumer to buy something.

For mass production, point of purchase is the end of a long chain of production, logistics, distribution etc. Business opportunity is upstream of the point of purchase.

On-demand economy turns it upside down, the purchase is the beginning of the process, nothing is produced until it is bought. Business is located downstream.

Don’t produce anything until it’s sold. Can understand where is the end consumer? That guides production, where the book should be printed. Order goes to printing press closest to consumer.

Consumer can also decide how the book will be produce: Is it paperback, hard cover, should it have a dust jacket. What was a publishing decision becomes a consumer decision. May be ways to customise the product.

What is going to be produced? A book is traditionally looked upon as copyright protected material, as artwork, as a set form that can’t be changed.

But what way can we change the content in a way that everyone is comfortable with.

Every book will be unique, no one will an exact copy of others.

Part of a larger trend, we have a consumer society, able to surround ourselves with things that are the products of our own wishes, influenced by how we want things to be. A situation that’s more like a pre-industrial society than the current period of industrial society where everthing is mass produced, clones of each other.

Changes how people look at things. Will expect things to bear the marks of our own personalities.

Physical objects also connected to the digital world, eg QR codes, augmented reality, RFID, conductive ink/printed circuits.

RFID – every copy of the book can trigger something unique to happen or have an identity in the digital world.

Conductive ink – will be able to print electronics directly on to the pages of the book, so the book will in itself becomes an electronic device. Could create a printed book able to display ebooks.

The book of one:

– Produced only when it’s wanted, when bought and paid for. Near future, this is how all printed books will be produced.

– Produced in a way that is influenced by that demand, is unique

– Connected to the digital world, as a uniquely defined object, may have own IP number.

 

Svein Moe Ihler, Océ Nordic

Cross-media environment we are in, strength in the different channels, working together to find their space.

Communications started as one to one, then mass communication, now back again to one to one.

Today’s publisher’s challenges:

– increasing number of titles

– need to reduce stock levels

– manage backlist titles

– reduce cost of returns and pulping

– ned to reduce transportation costs and time

– 40% waste in trad book value change

40% waste is crazy from environmental and business point of view. Wasting energy producing and moving books around the world, warehousing, etc.

Average order size in print on demand is 1.8 books. Need to have sophisticated system, need to create enough volume to have good margins.

“We canot continue ourgrowth by building new storehouses.” Hans Villem Cortenrad, Centraal Boekhuis.

Have to make a shift, new business model. But tough to shift to the future, as business based on one model and changing can hurt.

Going from long runs, inventory, stock, waste and long tail, to short run production, on-demand production, cost optimisation.

Changes in job run length – long runs decreasing, short run lengths and one-offs gaining influence, down to 1 item.

Mass produced static content is under pressure.

If something can be digital, it will become digital.

But have intermediate period, and have to find a way to run a business during it.

Production environment based on steady content and long runs results in massive cost explosion.

Digital print also changed, moved from short run to on-demand.

High efficiency needed for small orders. Need to automate and process jobs, and need no warehousing for on-demand. But need to make sure that have the resources in place, eg enough paper.

Joakim Formo, Ericsson

Belongs to small group of researchers in Ericsson, try to make the abstract visions of future technology into more concrete examples or product designs.

Was going to talk about the Internet of Things, about connecting things to the internet and then perhaps remotely controlling them. Used as a bucket term for everything related to the mix of physical objects, digital collection, networks, clouds, big data. It’s a soup, but it is happening.

Graph of usage of networks is showing typical hockey stick shape. Number of people using internet-connected things is increasing eg cars, electricity meters.

But Internet of Things is also about the things, not just the internet.

Shows demo of a book that when you turn the pages also turns the pages of an electronic version. Object is related explicitly to something else.

Looked a few years ago at how to enhance video with metadata. Tagged a movie catalogue with location data for the scenes in those movies. Use the data as a hub for other interactions with the movie. Can use that data to connect to other movies, eg with scenes filmed in same location. Use the data to go from movie to movie.

Another project, Social Web of Things, trying to make the networked-ness of things more visible. Not a one-to-one connection between things, but full many-to-many connectivity. So created a Facebook for things. So these are connected things and their data is shared. Things connecting horizontally.

Berg and Google Creative Labs, Smart LIghts, augmented reality and connected data. Made a projector wit eyes that could identify things and then project stuff on to them. Enhance the real world, rather than having an introverted world for one person. Can be used on dumb things, not just internet connected smart things. This has been done, so will become cheaper as it is done more.

Flipboard prototype for machine narratives. Robot-jouralism on data from things. Take date from things, ingest into an algorithmic journalist bot, which has read a lot of newspapers and found a way to replicate the pattern or templates in those, so can generate readable text in article format directly from data from things.

Can take that one step further by ingesting that output text into a web animated avatar services with text-to-speech and lipsync, then ingested that into a news studio template, to do a news report of your things.

What is possible today with these technological environments?

Moving towards things having apps, but won’t stop there will explode sideways and connect with others. So will become, metaphorically, socially connected. World of fuzzy objects, composites with physical materials and internet services.

Expectations will change. Products will increasingly be expected to have interrelations with other ecosystems.

So what is a book? What is an artefact in this future?

Will need some new competencies. How to product and compose physical-digital ecosystems.

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