In the Electric Bookshop session, Claire and Peggy got the delegates involved in a key question: what will the book look like decades and centuries from now?
The future of the book is a veritable “pleasure palace”!
Electric Bookshop was started in 2010 and looks to books of the past and future. Peggy showed us some examples of books ahead of their time including an edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four that featured a camera in the front of the cover so you could see yourself – very meta! Peggy also described the Editions At Play stories as created by Visual Editions; a narrative that is driven by live Google Street View.
Electric Bookshop have run a number of workshops and events exploring the above ideas. In their funded ‘Pressed for Time’ project launched at the 2013 Edinburgh International Science Festival they were able to invite the audience to participate by printing bespoke book recommendations tailored to their feelings, printing their own comic book (about Edinburgh’s own literary innovator Jim Haynes) and ‘playing’ a story on the Storytrope, amongst other reading experiences.
One event featured a session in neurofiction involving a skull cap which reads the brain as it reads a book. “Choose your own adventure to the next level!” said Peggy.
After inspiring the audience with such futuristic ideas the session was split into numerous groups and asked to come up with an idea of a book, such as Go Set A Watchman, could be experienced in the future.
The future is 4D
One group naming themselves Textual Reality conjured a project that goes beyond enhancing the book to enhancing humans and their experience through externally projected emotional reactions so others around can feel what the ‘reader’ is feeling. These feelings could even be projected into people’s dreams.
Show Your Working came up with numerous editions of Go Set A Watchman. That is, the book being published by numerous publishers with different notes in the margins from editors. This could be on tracing paper or, digitally, in red pen which could link to a site where you could share with others what you would have changed or edited in the original story.
Futurising 2020 thought up an app in your phone that beams a hologram of the book into the room. Rather than replacing a reader’s thoughts they’d seek to hint towards the contents of the book and link via social media. They’d combine the separate worlds of an author, eg Poirot and Miss Marple to bring the next generation of communal literature.
The biggest group (cleverly named HarperCollins by Peggy) would publish accepted fan-fiction with a choose your adventure format where you can choose your character and timeline they exist in.
Earthy Books’ tagline ‘feel us’ brought back the 4D theme of the day where you’d ‘feel’ the reading experience. If there’s a snow storm in the book, you’ll feel it. Spy novels, such as those featuring James Bond, would become collaborative where you help solve the mystery and once you’ve completed it the book self-destructs. A clever way of getting people to buy the book again and again…!
4D was a popular desired experience across the session and Peggy & Claire summarised by predicting that the future of the book will positively be a “pleasure palace” of virtual experience!
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