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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - April 2012

RESET: The Future of Books in 2015

The future of books is about creating stories that ignite people's brains. Books that inspire and books that connect. You have to figure out what story you want to tell, and then use the best tools and media possible...or as few as possible.

In this last part of my 'Reset' series, we are going to look at the future of books. What should you do if you have to start from scratch in 2015? What will books be like? What is the market like?

First of all, books are not going to change that much in the next 3 years. The book format hasn't really changed since the 5th century when we moved from scrolls to the 'modern codex'. When it comes to change, books just don't change.

We saw the same when books became digital. Nothing really changed. The book format was still just rectangle with text and perhaps a few images, and you swipe the screen to flip from one page to the next.

The ePub format (and its variations) practically limits books to just the same 1500-year-old format. Apple iBooks even looks like a book. And books are still sold based on a cover. It's passive, one-way interaction. You cannot update it, you cannot connect with it, you download it in a package, and it's linear in the way it tells the story. In every way, the ebook today is not new - it's just digital.

Until now.

All that is now changing in a dramatic way. While the change in how we define a book is happening today, and more so in 2015, don't expect this 1500-year-old format to change that quickly. It would probably take one or two generations for the old book formats to be replaced with what is to come.

By 2015, the old book format will still dominate the market, although most books will be sold as an ebook.

The new future format of books will just be a niche. But as with every niche, if you do it well you can make a lot more money.

What will this new format be like? How will books change?

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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