The Future On-line Books Linked to Support Services

Posted: February 18, 2011 in Business model combining, Business model combo
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I respect books as personal experiences, encounters with the creative mind of a writer. When I read books, it is a peaceful, even a spiritual, interlude. Books stimulate my imagination and inspire me to creative thinking. I like paper books, which has caused me to have some reservations about how widespread and popular online books might become. But some days ago, I watched a very thought-provoking IDEO video about the future of online books in the context of business model combining. It made me re-evaluate some of my opinions.

It was a five-minute video exploring the possibilities of digital books, and it examined three current concepts: the Nelson service, the Coupland service, and the Alice service. All three target groups of potentially interested users, but they differ in their offerings.

The Nelson service value propositions enable books to become the basis for critical thinking tools. They do so by combining all kinds of information, which can then be connected with a book’s content and author, providing multiple perspectives, references, and current conversations on that text. The layers of information beyond the book itself enable it to be seen in a much wider context, throughout history, the present time, and the future. If want to use the Nelson concept, we have to combine the books’ business models with the partners’ business models, the sources that have all the additional data connected with the books’ contents.

The Coupland service stimulates readers by connecting them into “book clubs” and other social layers where discussions, collaborations, suggestions, lists, and purchases can help each reader share and learn from others. The Coupland business model combines readers’ personal  business models.

The Alice service combines new ways for users to interact and affect the content of the books. Active participation allows each reader to utilize geographic location, communicate through the characters, and contribute to the storyline.

These kinds of services were used in the case of the book Business Model Generation, where readers co-created the content and style of the book. These concepts seem to indicate that the future of books will depend in large measure on support services which enable new value propositions, collaboration, co- creation of new contents, and new ways of learning. Those services will follow from new business models and business model combining.

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