The Network is Overrated

A session at Books in Browsers 2011

Thursday 27th October, 2011

10:15am to 11:15am (PST)

What is a book, anyway? An examination of the EPUB 3 draft standard reveals that most of the differences between an EPUB book and a website boil down to one core difference: the book is self-contained. The fact of self containment is at the same time limiting and liberating. While some aspects of interaction are cut off by the self-containment, an EPUB book can be untethered from a website, just as a print book, once sold, is untethered from its publisher. The untethering of books supports new and old peer-to-peer and community interaction modes. Although network-based, tethered books can simulate these interactions, the tethering creates eavesdropping and censorship vulnerabilities. Business models such as Gluejar’s crowdfunding model have the potential to make the untethered ebook economically viable.

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Eric Hellman


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Time 10:15am11:15am PST

Date Thu 27th October 2011

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