What is a Book?

I stumbled on recently an article in the Atlantic entitled "What is a Book? "

In this electronic age, the meaning of books has, obviously, changed. For many, a book is no longer a physical object made from paper - it has also been digitized to be read on an electronic device.

>In the Kindle era, it seems pretty obvious. There is an implicit argument in the act of digitizing a book and removing it from the shelf: a book is its text. A book is a unique string of words, as good as its bits.

A book is a unique string of words.

The author illuminates the efforts to go back an study the book as a physical object - allowing that these objects often contain hints of previous readers. Hints of their stories.

A book, then is

>Not just a bag of words, but a thing held by human hands.

That makes sense, if one looks back on books. But if what if one looks forward? What is a book within a new paradigm, a book which is not a "unique string of words"?

What if, freed from sequential writing and reading, a book becomes a pathway of discovery, for both the writer and the reader? A learning journey shaped by our curiosity. A search for meaning.

In this sense, such a book requires another, broader, definition, perhaps as a "container of meaning". Something that helps us in our lifelong journey to find meaning.

Hypertext frees us all of the singular sequential and opens up the doors to the Digital Mind. Ted Nelson , the creator of hypertext knew this. But, until now, we have not really been able to experience this liberating freedom.

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