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The future of the e-book might be a… book?

Check out this amazing hybrid creation from Manolis Kelaidis that combines a traditional book over-printed with conductive ink. Manolis presented his project blueBook at the O’Reilly TOC conference this week and is receiving rave reviews.

From Andrea Laue:

He asked the audience if, upon encountering an obscure reference or foreign word on the page of a book, we would appreciate the option of touching the word on the page and being taken (on our PC) to an online resource that would identify or define the unfamiliar word. Then he made it happen. Standing O.

Yes, he had a printed and bound book which communicated with his laptop. He simply touched the page, and the laptop reacted. It brought up pictures of the Mona Lisa. It translated Chinese. It played a piece of music. Kelaidis suggested that a library of such books might cross-refer, i.e. touching a section in one book might change the colors of the spines of related books on your shelves. Imagine.

and from Andrew Savikas:

These debates (print is doomed! from my cold dead hand!) are so often reduced to a binary decision, when in reality they’re a fluid, flexible conversation that can sustain many perspectives — and we risk stifling the voices of innovators like Manolis if we forget to make allowances for our own ignorance of the future.

The e-content vs. books argument does not necessarily require an all or nothing solution.

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