While going through a recent edition of Businessweek, I came across a story on how publishing houses are trying to put up a front to counter the rising dominance of Amazon (Trying to avert a Digital Horror Story – Businessweek, January 11)
There is a mention of how people are interested in paying for a variation on the standard book viz. a single chapter or a searchable database. As a result some of the publishers are now considering bringing out iPhone applications for some of their books.
This is very fascinating. First books transitioned into their paper-free avatar –the eBooks and now they are going one step further – into applications.
There is a mention of a book called “What to drink with what you eat” which the publishers are now trying to turn into an app that is like a ‘virtual sommelier cum food critique’, featuring food and wine pairings and tutorials and flavour balancing.
This signifies a shift in the way publishing houses think and has impact on the way information would be packaged in the future. The example of a book turning into an application shows how knowledge is being turned into applied knowledge. It seems that just the way there has always been a market for knowledge from books, the market for the application of knowledge from that book will become bigger and bigger in the future. Being able to use the things that we read in a book – when we are in a meeting, or having lunch or when we are traveling, offers a big opportunity for books to expand their relevance and impact.
‘The application mind set’, as I call it, can potentially turn almost every idea, every bit of information into a byte-sized tool that is always on tap. Thanks to effective miniaturization of technology – the future of knowledge and information will go more and more down the application path.
“What can be the iPhone application for this idea?” is a question, that can help us unlock the potential of any good idea that crosses our mind in the future.