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Why the Book and the Internet Will Merge (Hugh McGuire)

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. You can find him on Twitter at @hughmcguire.

Sometime last year, I had a moment that felt like a profound revelation, and as with all such revelations of mine, I got me to Twitter and posted there:

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

The Distinction Between Books and the Internet Is Arbitrary

The Distinction Between Books and the Internet Is Arbitrary

It seems almost trivial as far as epiphanies go now, but still at the time it was a kind of shocking realization. If you think about “books”—which are, more or less, collections of words, sentences, and images arranged in a particular way—and compare them to, say, websites—which are, more or less, collections of words, sentences, images, audio, and video, arranged in a particular way—there is a jarring distinction that presents itself. We have decided, for mostly historical reasons, that collections of words and sentences of one kind go into a “book” and collections of words and sentences of another kind go onto the “Internet.”

Books vs the Internet

And the ...

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