123. Books

A Futurist’s Manifesto

Hugh McGuire and Brian O’Leary

The distinction between “the internet” & books is totally totally arbitrary, and will disappear in 5 years. Start adjusting now.

(…) Indeed, one of the first ever web sites, Gutenberg.org—started by Michael Hart in 1971—is dedicated to making public domain books freely available on the Internet.

(…) In 2008—when I read War and Peace on my iPhone—about 1% of trade book sales in the US were ebooks. In 2011 the number was close to 20%. Many expect 50% of trade sales to be ebooks by 2015, if not sooner.


We don’t know what the business models will look like. Subscription books? Advertising? Upselling other products? Serialized books? Something altogether different? We don’t know yet, but eventually courageous new publishers will find out.

Old publishers will follow or perish.

Hugh McGuire builds tools and communities where book publishing and the web intersect. He is the founder of PressBooks (on which this book has been built), and LibriVox.org, a community of volunteers that has created the world’s largest free library of public domain audiobooks. 

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