NeoBooks Introduction

Thank you for buying this souvenir.

That's what a book is now: a souvenir, a memento, a snapshot of a specific collection of ideas at a moment in time. You can get it autographed, you can mark it up, you can make it your own copy (though your ebook will never get that well-loved look of tattered, dog-eared pages and scuffed covers).

Your act of buying this book supports our community. We are grateful.

Books are an entry vector, because they are recognizable cultural artifacts. Smart people put their knowledge inside books, right?

They do, but that's where the problems begin.

Alas, books are inert. They are snapshots, frozen in time, like Han Solo locked in Carbonite. Worse, they offer no means for authors to learn from their readers or to invite readers into conversations. Or for readers to meet one another and join (or form!) communities of interest. Or for readers to see and participate in the thinking behind the books. Or for readers to spin off "books" of their own, perhaps re-using parts of relevant works.

Even worse, the Digital Rights Management software that wraps most eBooks makes it hard for us to put their information to use effectively in the world. (To go deeper, see IP Overprotection.)

So a book is a familiar artifact, but the more interesting and useful artifact lives online, openly. It is alive, it is connected, and it is free. We call it a NeoBook.

The book aspect of a NeoBook, visible in your eBook reader or even as a physical book via print-on-demand, is just a starting point. Frankly, it's bait. From there, things get really interesting.

This NeoBook is an act of leveling up media, one of several we're experimenting with.

How do NeoBooks work?

We think of the ideas that compose this NeoBook as "Nuggets" that we string together in Playlists to create Narratives. Playlists organize Narratives, and can be abundant, making room for improving, alternative or even competing Narratives. On top of that, a collection of Narratives becomes a Point of View (see Nuggets, Narratives and Points of view).

!Nuggets Are Really Powerful

To create an eBook, we roll these Nuggets up in the order set by the NeoBook's Table of Contents, add front matter and back matter, then use software that exports documentation and books. (Lots more on creating your own NeoBook here.)

Metaphorically, NeoBooks are Mushrooms of The Big Fungus.

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