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Designing the future of reading

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) Interactive event on “The Future of Storytelling in the Digital Age.” The daylong festival featured discussions on topics ranging from the future of news to how HBO’s Game of Thrones uses multi-platform storytelling to generate buzz.

While much of the day provided thought-provoking dialogue, there was one session particularly relevant to Lean Back 2.0. In “Designing the Perfect Experience”, IDEO’s Dario Buzzini discussed how the award-winning global design firm is creating a more engaging reading experience. Called “The Future of the Book”, the project is an “exploration of digital reading that seeks to identify new opportunities for readers, publishers and authors to discover, consume and connect in different formats.”

The team at IDEO identified three opportunities for an enhanced digital reading experience: “Alice,” which makes reading a work of narrative fiction more participatory and non-linear; “Coupland,” which allows readers and companies to create shared reading lists and libraries; and “Nelson,” which lets readers connect with additional information, critiques and perspectives on the books they’re reading. For more information, you can watch the brief video below. 

While each of these reading opportunities is new and interactive, IDEO notes that they “resisted any temptation to move books closer to the bite-sized character of other digital media, because longhand writing encourages immersion (deep reading) and reflection.” In other words, books are still a lean back experience. 

Do you agree? How have digital technologies changed how you read books and magazines? Do you think IDEO’s new concepts complement or distract from the printed book? Do we need to continue this debate over print vs. digital, or is there room for both? Please comment below. 

Video courtesy of IDEO