Mr. Benkler said he saw the project as "simply an experiment of how books might be in the future." That is one of the hottest debates in the book world right now, as publishers, editors and writers grapple with the Web's ability to connect readers and writers more quickly and intimately, new technologies that make it easier to search books electronically and the advent of digital devices that promise to do for books what the iPod has done for music: making them easily downloadable and completely portable.
Motoko Rich has an interesting NYT piece about the disruption being caused by digital publishing. Author John Updike's speech in response to Kevin Kelly's earlier NYT piece is recommended listening. Having grown up in an age where books were something one read, films were something one watched and having the good fortunate to learn from artists over the years I respect John's point of view. His speech encapsulates many of the fears, uncertainties and doubts I regularly encounter within organisations who are having to rethink their role within a networked world. Successfully doing so requires a fundamental change in mindset from fight or flee to flow. A state John and Kevin would quickly reach were they ever to meet-up face to face. For while their words may appear on the surface to be at odds they both share a common passion for a better world.
UPDATE : Comment is free joins the conversation
UPDATE 2 : Jeff Jarvis continues the conversation over on BuzzMachine
UPDATE 3 : Scott Karp moves the conversation along from 'either or' to 'yes and'