Saturday, February 17, 2007

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.


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 -

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

Anonymous said...

Here are two wiki novels