E-books have room for improvement

Despite how rapidly technology changes, I want this blog to be useful to people today, and five years from now. The blog format is not (yet) optimized for archived information retrieval, but what is? The book, with table of contents and index, comes close.  But there’s one major flaw: information changes, books don’t.

I don’t care if you can fit more books onto your iPad/Kindle/Nook/tablet than the Library of Congress. E-books are still a largely static product. They are written, published, sold, shipped, and then they die. They just sit there on your reader.

In a recent book announcement, Reg Braithwaite explains his unorthodox publishing approach:

Dead tree books remind me of shrink-wrapped software. Today we love Github and software-as-a-service and continuous deployment and running a business in real time on tight feedback circles. That’s how Linux works, that’s how the web works, that’s how I wanted to publish[…]

So his ebook (it’s a JavaScript functions book) is a living thing, which readers can expect to change. I think it’s a fresh approach.

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