Networked Books

The Wall Street Journal looks at the rise of “networked books“:

“In a fairly radical turn, one major publisher has made a networked book available free online at the same time the book is being sold in stores. Other publishers have posted networked titles that invite visitors to read the book and post comments. One author has posted a draft of his book; the final version, he says, will reflect suggestions from his Web readers.”

And for books published online:

“The real power of the approach is that the entire book will be indexed in Google’s primary index, which means anyone can find the book by its content as well as its author, title or ISDN number…”

The goal of many of these projects is to create a “community of conversation.” In many ways, this can be empowering to authors and publishers who have felt sidelined by the rise of social media online. On the other hand, how will they feel if their work is modified in ways they don’t like – how does this affect their concept of ownership?

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