New definition of a book

Book, (n), A wiki, printed at a specific point in time.

At least that's how I see it. And how I'm hoping my publishers see it. Maybe I'm just trying to justify my short(ened) attention span, my desire to share ideas and gain input as I go along, and/or my fascination with writing on the web. But it seems to me - as I distract myself from book manuscripts to blog and build a wiki - that books (nonfiction, contemporary) should be supported by conversations and exchange like that which can occur through a wiki. I, the "author" frames the subject, posts the pages and sections (chapters), makes the argument(s), presents the evidence, draws conclusion(s). Others participate, re-frame, add, subtract, take issue with, counter-argue. We all learn. Some of us may change our minds. The work is strengthened. STOP. PRINT. BIND. SHIP. Return to wiki.

I thought it was just me but then I checked back in over at the Future of the Book and a colleague pointed me to this experiment - a million penguins - the novel as wiki.

Don't get me wrong. The bound, portable, long lasting, no electricity or wireless connection needed, feels good in the hand and looks great on a shelf, book is a favorite of mine. I won't contribute to the death of the book. I think the 'conversational media' like blogs and wikis can improve the ways we exchange ideas, the ways we think, and, I hope, the ways we write. But, heck, what do I know? I still read newspapers.

So what for philanthropy? You mean besides the fact that the books I'm procrastinating from writing and the blogs/wiki I am working on are about philanthropy? Oh, I don't know. Its just interesting, that's all.


2 comments:

Kevin said...

Edward Tufte shared early peeks of his new book Beautiful Evidence on his discussion list, and now continues to receive corrections and feedback on this thread - http://snipurl.com/1ash8.

It's not quite a wiki, but a similar idea.

Anonymous said...

Here are two wiki novels

http://nodeadtrees.pbwiki.com/

and

http://elothtes.pbwiki.com/