Jan 8, 2011

Dan Gillmor's very interesting approach to publish his last book: Mediactive

I have been a firm believer, for years, that books should be published online using a website format. I proposed the concept years ago to a publisher in the US and another in France. I called it the "smart book". A sort of "digital shell" for books. Apps are okay. I'm using them. But, they have more limits, at least for now, in comparison with a regular website.
I want a live book. A book that never ends and that can be updated on a regular basis, by the author but also by the readers. I want to be able to share (Twitter, Facebook, etc), embed, link, geo-localize (google), learn a term that I don't know (dictionary), look at a bio (wikipedia), comment, search... and, yes, customize the content of the book that I'm reading.

Dan Gillmor has been using a very interesting approach for publishing his last book: Mediactive. The book is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. It has been self published on the great self publishing platform Lulu. You can find it on Amazon as a regular and a digital book (Kindle). You can also download it as a PDF.

Then, you can read the full book (for free) online. Dan has created a website. In addition to the book, there is a blog and digital resources related to the subject of the book. Blog and resources are updated. You can buy the book. You can make a donation. I made a small one: $5.

Much more can be done, but it is a great step in the right direction to make books even more interesting.

I read the website version of the book and I really enjoyed it: content and format. What do you think about it? What functionality would you like to add on the site?

1 comment:

  1. Jeff,
    I like your take on a web book format that takes advantage of the sorts of developments that are possible on the web - such as commenting, and text analysis. Take a look at these: Book Glutton (http://www.bookglutton.com/) and Joe Esposito's demo implementation of a "processed book" (http://www.prosaix.com/pbos/)
    Take care,