Bringing paper and ebook together

There’s a buzz building about a session at the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference (which looks great, I wish I could have attended) from Manolis Kelaidis on his “blueBook”. Kelaidis is a designer at the Royal College of Art in London. His idea is to bring electronics to the book, rather than making books virtual. Here is the brief, from his presentation:

  • Design a book consisting of sheets of paper with printed buttons (hyperlinks), which when touched allow the user to access and control digital information.
  • Information accessed in this way could then be stored either locally (within the book) or remotely (PC, handheld devices, Web, other books).
  • The book should have the look-and-feel of a regular book, with flipping pages and conventional binding, while technology should be non-intrusive, portable and robust.
  • Manufacturing should be based on traditional bookbinding techniques minimizing complexity and costs.

Using conductive ink and embedded electronics, such a book can include multimedia (play music or video) and live links to web content or interactive discussions, perhaps in conjunction with a wireless-connected PC. Printed words become hyperlinks. The presentation is amazing and thought-provoking. See also Tim O’Reilly’s post on the subject and its comments.

Update: Presentation seems to have been removed; if it reappears I imagine it will do so here.

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3 thoughts on “Bringing paper and ebook together”

  1. Interesting idea.

    However, books have their disadvantages. The content cannot easily be shared between people and they are bulky. They also degrade much quicker, and the medium is inextricably bound to the content.

    Hence I’ve taken to going onto Gutenberg and downloading out-of-copyright classics onto my PDA, mainly because I can read them wherever I want to, and also in the dark of the bedroom when my nearest and dearest has gone to sleep before me. I’m a fair way through Jules Verne’s oeuvre at the moment, and am also reading Anthony Hope’s ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’.

    I’m also reminded of the invention of ‘electronic paper’, something which seems to have hit the buffers. It seems to me that every ten years or so somebody has the same bright idea (or a variation on the same theme), there’s a minor kerfuffle about it, and then it gets forgotten about.

    The link to the presentation doesn’t work, by the way.

  2. Clyde,

    Yes, the presentation has gone, though fortunately I downloaded a copy.

    I still like the idea of foldable screens, which is the essence of electronic paper. I guess the technology just isn’t quite there yet, for the mass market anyway.


  3. Could you email me a copy of the presentation, please, if it’s not too big?


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