Digital Books are already here

4 February 2009 in Future of Publishing Inanimate Alice

Another thoughtful post from Michael Bhaskar over at; he argues that talking about the future of the book is kind of redundant, because, in many ways, that future is already here. He names ‘Inanimate Alice’ as an example of digital fiction (already here, yes, most definitely) and says:

“To recap, digital books/fiction looks like this:

- ebooks and ebook derivatives

- ??writerly” computer games

- stories told used existing forms of social media (blogs etc)

The first and the last are already realities. Pretty much every large publisher has an ebook program; most publishers are now using social media for at least marketing. Both authors, publishers and others are increasingly using social media more creatively. The middle is the most difficult for those involved in books. The big winners maybe authors and agents who can begin to sell rights for game spin offs and/or get involved in the process of conceiving game ideas.

Lets not wait for the future anymore; it arrived in about 2006.”

Here’s my comment:  This is a thoughtful post Michael, and a useful summary of where things are at currently. And thanks for mentioning ‘Inanimate Alice’. Your list of forms for the digital book/digital fiction is useful, but I’d like to add a fourth item: a hybrid form that takes elements of all of the first three to create a new kind of literature for a born digital generation. I’ve no idea where this will live, in terms of the platform, but for me the word ‘literature’ and all it implies about quality of writing, quality of narrative, quality of experience, is important.


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