Currently, I am launching a software startup.
Initially we are using e-book technology to market physical, printed books.
Think of it as pulling book previews out of the current data silos and instead scattering them throughout the Web.
A main goal of the company
is to develop and promote open standards
and free software for paginated, fixed-layout books.
With interoperable standards, tools could be built to work with books
from multiple repositories, some as small as a single book on a static Web site
(in extreme: simply a non-networked flash drive), and some containing petabytes of data in sophisticated server farms.
Currently on the Web, for fixed layout books, there is no interoperability
between archives/repositories/libraries and reader apps, except
BookDROP which was a good first step.
I actively participated in that standards effort, including coding up the reference implementation client, but BookDROP can be greatly improved upon.
I believe I know how to go about doing that, and it does not require all that much novel work.
Long term, think about this:
all the pages of all the books ever
published can be scanned (in high resolution) in less than 100 petabyte. Currently that can be squeezed
into a bunch of 40 foot shipping containers
is very complicated to maintain.
Ten years from now, that will fit on a desktop. Yes, high quality wireless will be ubiquitous but caching will
also be greatly improved and if all the books are in a P2P/Freenet
type system, then privacy of reading will be enhanced.
The library of physical books can and should consist of first class Web object spread throughout the Web.
The current situation of proprietary readers and data silos viewable through the Web is no longer required.
Let's change that and see what happens.
Nothing public yet but one might
tease it out on my twitter feed.