The Digital Bookshelf

Okay so this is a work of speculative tech blogging; This is not a real product, just a concept. Enjoy

We know that when Barnes and Noble and Microsoft settled their beef, they decided to go half on a spinoff company built around the Nook. After the announcement, the question became what would be the product of such a union; would Barnes and Noble build a Windows based Nook tablet? Would the Nook become Microsoft’s book platform?

Well the answer would be something like this:

On some date, lets say this time next year, tech journalists and bloggers get invitations to an event in New York for the first product produced by the spinoff company now known as Bind.

At the beginning of the presentation, the head of Barnes and Noble, William J. Lynch, will talk about books and how they are created; the name Bind comes from the process of putting the pages together into the product you hold in your hands, he’ll say. But he’ll also say that Bind represents the companies commitment to bring the craftsmanship of book making and design, “A love of the Printed form”, to the digital age. Once Lynch’s done with the PR, he will introduce the head of Bind.


MoMA iPad App

So the new head of Bind comes to the stage and he or she talks about meaning of books to our lives; the little ways we interact with them, use them, and abuse them. Then they start talking about the E-book revolution and the success of the Nook as well as its competitors. but then they will pause, look at ensemble mass and pause (dramatically).

“But”, they’ll say, “For all the we can do with E-books, we don’t have a platform that takes everything we love about books and really re-imagines them for the Digital age.” The talk switches to what a real 21st century book platform should look like; how it should be about the content. That the current way of creating eBooks gives you a minimum amount of choices; between faux leather or words on screen. The Bind head will ask rhetorically, “ Where’s the craftsmanship of putting words on page or screen; where are the illustrations?” They blab on for a few more minutes until they get to the hook, “We think we have an answer” They say its the next iteration of the Nook and represents the next leap in electronic reading and learning. They call it the Nook Leaf.

(Okay now everybody goes Ohhhh)

So we pause so the people can take their pictures and video. Presentation continues

The Nook Leaf is in fact a Windows RT tablet based on the Qualcomm chipset. It has a 7.8 inch screen and as the Bind head notes is shaped to fit comfortably in your hand like a book. The shape was designed again to resemble a book.



And then they call up the person form Microsoft; who starts by saying, ‘”Together we at Microsoft and Barnes and Noble think we have a product that revolutionizes e-Reading; and not just for the reader but for authors and publishers as well.” We then are treated to a video in which we see authors and publishers praise the Leaf and the new publishing platform built around it. The video ends, and the Microsoft guy comes back on and describes the ideas behind the Leaf’s book platform. He goes through the studies done into active reading; the ways in which people use and hold books. The Leaf platform, he says, is about bringing the best of books with the best of touch and mobile computing.

At this time they show how authors can build books with the Leaf publishing software; he makes a point that the software is available for Macs and PCs. He sights the tools ability to create dynamic books with interactive video, but also magazines. With this finished he finishes by saying that the Leaf isn’t just about readers but also about education and research; he leaves and another video (on education) comes on.

The video ends, and the head of Bind is back on stage. He says he wants to show us one more thing and he pulls out a phone and shows off the new Nook app for phones. He ends by saying thank you to the audience of writers, bloggers, and others.  And the audience goes into the other room to get a hands on.

Prediction: Based on an article by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, what I think will happen is that Microsoft’s Office division (along with the Windows division) will create  software specifically around e-Reading. My hope is that it is basically the Courier and isn’t an add on to Microsoft Word. I also think the next Nook or at least one model will be Windows based.    

Images from MoMA

                       Design Taxi 

                       Office Labs


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