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The Future of the Book is in the Web Browser

Brian Austin
Brian Austin Web Browsers

Ebooks will die - eventually. Why? Hint: "All together or as a whole", is the theme. For now, look at the early web - that's today - including remarkable resources like Youtube.com, slideshare.net, and ebooks everywhere in multiple formats. Yet, let's imagine for a few minutes, what might happen to ebooks.

Electronic books are the first bridge between print and digital publications. Right now, and for a while at least, we love them - sometimes. Yet, there is a problem:

  • They have serious limitations: after we have become exposed to the visual richness of the web, ebooks seem "flat".
  • Why do we feel the need to make digital books look like paper-based books?
  • Why should we need to download e-books? Downloading is energy wasteful: uses unnecessary power and bandwidth, and takes time. Why not just open and read?
  • Why should a digital "book" contain just text and maybe pictures? Why not movement too? Yes, I know, there are various platforms that can include videos and animations in ebooks.

Modern Web Pages Can Offer a Much Better, Richer Environment for Reading: Text, Pictures, Animations, Videos

Some printed books are without doubt beautiful. Why not digital books too? Not as imitations of print books, instead, new digital creations optimized for a new web and cloud environment.

As Shakespeare once said: "We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep". Maybe, just maybe, the ebook drowsiness is on the horizon.

And recent enhancements in the fields of web development - especially CSS, JavaScript, and cloud computing - are starting to open new doors, options, exciting possibilities. The change has already started.

Why Can't We Digital Authors "Write" Our Own Web Books?

I want to see a time when authors become their own publishers - easily - writing and creating rich, engaging publications, that readers love, and that deliver most of the return directly to the author, not to separate publishers, or digital download providers. 

The secret is: simplicity, with minimal barriers between creative thoughts and the recording medium.

  • Why can't modern digital books be web browser based self contained applications, containing everything you need to interact with the book?
  • To "read" a book on-line, or offline, why can't we just use a the single universal, familiar tool: a web browser?

So if you can use a web browser, you can write - by typing or talking using built-in web browser speech-to-text conversion software. Your readers access and read your "book" using only their preferred web browser. What graphical wonders await them!

Two drivers will come together to create something remarkable:

  • Web browsers can provide near instant display speeds (under 4 seconds). Your website can become a new kind of book. A web domain name (perhaps) becomes the title for your book: the domain name extension becomes irrelevant, so no need for .com worries any more; all you need are the words themselves. Side note: in time, the domain name system may even expand to include sound-based identities; no text needed - only a sound, a name, words, a title, and maybe even a single graphical symbol, an icon. How will all that work? Let's get back to today, or possibilities for the next few years, with Point 2.
  • Standalone web applications offer new possibilities. Run them anywhere on any platform: Windows, Mac, IOS, Android smartphones, and more, using your favorite web browser.

For priced books, your first chapter and table of contents come free. If you opt to pay a small fee, instantly, you can access the full "book" anywhere on the web using only your web browser, whether you're online and offline. The book is "tied" to you, not your devices. if you become the ticket, the point of access, what does that do to theft? From evaluating a book to full access in 10 - 20 seconds, or less:

  • No need for non-standard formats like: .pdf, .epub, .mobi - these become "outdated technology".
  • No dedicated e-reader needed, or special reading device required - outdated technology. Instead: use any device that has a standard web browser.
  • No control by any single entity or organisation anywhere. Open source software for everyone to use, adapt, or enhance, for zero cost.
  • Utmost freedom: the spirit of Joomla - all together or as a whole - for digital books.

How?

Like all successful fundamental change on the web, such momentous events happen through the emergence of free software that is easy to use, and usually involve a coming together of two or more existing technologies that create something entirely new, something better, faster, cheaper, easier.

Talented, generously minded invididuals, who live for computer coding, are working on these precise challenges right now! What will emerge?

Yet low cost does not have to mean low profit - just a better sharing for all involved, and greater reward for authors who at last control their own assets using encrypted technologies.

Readers Getting Inside the Story

Eventually, with 3D and augmented reality, "readers" can even be inside the story as an invisible spectator:

  • If you have eyes that work, see the action.
  • If you can listen, hear the sounds.
  • Smell the heather, the gun smoke, damp earth mixed with Autumn dew.
  • Touch the characters (if its a scary thrill you want, you may wish you hadn't).
  • Experience what happens "in the story".
  • Take part on your own, or with your friends, or with "digital people you meet" immersed in the drama. The definition of a "club" could change forever.
  • Users who opt to upgrade could experience and contribute to the storyline itself - become part of the story and change the outcome: the ultimate storyline experience.

Where will you be?

The birth of ebooks; the death of ebooks; yet just like a chrysalis turns into a stunning butterfly, the book survives, changes, adapts, thrives, becomes stronger, and through evolution, merges with the web, personalized movies, and 3D experiences. What a world we live in!