Books as a Design Object

What is a book? One definition is from Frederick Kilgour’s paper The Evolution of the Book where he states “a book is a storehouse of human knowledge intended for dissemination in the form of an artifact that is portable”. Looking at it, the definition is broad however, it does set apart a book from other similar entities. Books are created with the intent to convey knowledge, entertainment, or a plethora of different things which are then published to the public. However, before they are published, books are often edited and revised to make a more refined experience for the reader.

One might ask why is this definition so complicated? Couldn’t a book simply be a collection of pages bound together that tells a story? Well, with the introduction of electronic books this definition is no longer relevant as books are no longer solely on print. Also, books serve more than being a medium to tell a story. We find that as technology advances, the next new thing usually surpasses and replaces the old but that hasn’t happened for eBooks yet. This is because in order for the eBook to surpass the print version of books there needs to be 5 elements:

  • Information
  • Technological knowledge and experience
  • Organizational experience and capability
  • Capability of integrating a new form into existing information systems
  • Economic viability

If there was a single point to single out to further develop on it would be integrating eBooks into existing information systems. Today, eBooks are becoming more and more popular as preferred platform to read books on. However, we run into a problem where not all books might be on digital platforms. When users aren’t able to get the same content they have on print to a digital one they won’t be willing to switch to the digital platform. By Ensuring that eBooks have all the content print media already have that is when we will expect to see the rise of eBooks and possible ascension over the archaic print media.

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