Caught this on Boing Boing today and really had to comment.
“Nelson” (an aggregator of commentary and external references) is cool, but Coupland is just another social network based around books – something we already have – albeit one that’s nominally targeted at businesses. Alice is interesting, but also well trod really… there was a Google Maps based narrative a couple of years back that did much of what they describe and several other similar experiments have been put out.
Honestly, i agree with BB on this, IDEO has pretty pictures, but even I came up with some of this stuff years ago, and many smarter people are doing far more interesting things in the experimental space of the web.
Also, the publishers are sort of written out at the front end of this, but the truth is, we already have a very decentralized publishing system… it’s called “The World Wide Web” and monetizing it is very different from monetizing what we now think of as books. I don’t think the publishers of long form Fiction and Non-Fiction can be discounted quite so trivially… they’re going to profoundly contribute to the evolution of the product here.
I do find it interesting that at this stage, essentially everyone takes it as a given that the interface to these projects will be a touchable surface with the UI metaphors of an iPad. These are very much becoming common parlance already among even only vaguely tech-literate folks.