The Future of the Book


How will people read in the future? What will books look and feel like? How will publishers adjust in the face of technological upheaval? In what new ways will authors engage with their readers? ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination is collaborating with Intel® Labs on a number of creative interventions and research projects to explore the future of books, reading, writing and publishing.

Volume 2: Knowledge Systems
Volume 3: The Future of Reading

Volume 1: The Future of Publishing, October 9-11, 2013

The first phase of Sprint Beyond the Book was an ambitious experiment that teamed up novelists, scholars, digital publishers and journalists to create a digital book featuring original writing, video and images in just 72 hours. From October 9-11, 2013, we were on site at the Frankfurt Book Fair writing, editing and assembling a collaboratively written book about the future of publishing.

The book, Beyond the Book, also features crowdsourced text and video responses to a variety of questions about the future of books and publishing collected through the project’s website. It was created using a collaborative media platform, currently in prototype form at Intel® Labs. The book is free to read and share, and is available now at the Sprint Beyond the Book websiteBeyond the Book is a living book, so check back frequently for updates and enhancements!

Watch this brief video introduction to Sprint Beyond the Book by Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination:

The core team of writers included:

Additional writers contributing material for the book as part of our global network included Brian David Johnson, Intel futurist and principal engineer; Corey Pressman, president of Exprima Media and co-founder and publisher of The Holocene magazine; John Risseeuw, director of ASU’s Pyracantha Press and proprietor of Cabbagehead Press; Christine Szuter, director of ASU’s Scholarly Publishing Graduate Certificate Program; Beverly Schlee, conservator at ASU Libraries; G. Pascal Zachary, professor of practice at ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Mark Tebeau, director of ASU’s Public History program; and Ariel Bogle, research associate at the New America Foundation.

Volume 2: Knowledge Systems, February 6-7, 2014

The second phase of Sprint Beyond the Book was a book sprint at Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus. We compressed our timescale for writing, editing and publishing to just 48 hours, and brought together more than 20 authors to collectively imagine the future of the book as a system for creating, organizing and disseminating knowledge.

Key questions addressed in the book include: How will digital textbooks transform teaching and learning? What new kinds of communities will form around the books of the future? How can we archive and preserve digital books as carefully and lovingly as paper books? Does changing the definition of “book” change the definition of “knowledge”? How can we encourage playfulness and experimentation in book design and authorship?

Beyond the Book, Volume 2: Knowledge Systems also features images, diagrams and video interviews with our authors.  It was created using a set of collaborative, open-source tools that enable real-time collaborative writing, responsive feedback and revision, multimedia integration and an iterative publication process that builds a “living” book that can be updated and enriched continuously.

The book was available for public reading and commentary throughout the writing and editing process. It is free to read and share at the Sprint Beyond the Book website.

Contributors to Volume 2 included:

Volume 3: The Future of Reading, May 12-14, 2014

The third phase of Sprint Beyond the Book will take place in May 2014 at Stanford University’s Center for the Study of the Novel. Participants will include science fiction author and editor Eileen Gunn, editor and typographer John D. Berry, experimental musician / professor of philosophy David Rothenberg, and many more!

Back to top