I am seeking partners to execute this idea; I don’t much enjoy solo projects. Would you like to join me on this venture?
Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut, famously said: “You promised me Mars colonies. Instead I got Facebook”. For the past 20 years or so, the human race has been really busy exploring cyber-space. We took a detour from the real world, which I call meat-space. I am fascinated by cyber-space ideas that enhance meat-space. The idea I describe below is one such idea which combines elements of book-love and the sharing economy.
The idea is driven by two questions:
- What if books had legs?
- What if books could talk?
By pondering these two questions I ended up at: we could build the world’s most distributed library, and it would enable books to walk and talk. What if you could give away a hundred books and follow their travels?
How would it work?
We need a few technology elements to execute on The Library of Traveling Books. We need a website and we need stick-on labels.
The website would be the hub of our library. It provides guest books for all of the traveling books. It provides educational material, instructions for how to contribute to the community by adding new books to the library. The website must also encourage new guests to keep the books traveling.
The labels are crucial for educating new guests and connecting books to their unique guest book. Each book in the library requires a unique label, with a unique URL, and a unique QR-style barcode. The labels are the gateway, and they need to concisely explain and encourage new guests to make their way to the website.
What is a QR code?
A QR code is a 2 dimensional barcode. QR codes are great for connecting meat-space objects to their digital identities.
This is an example of a QR-code. When scanned, it leads you to this blog.
The Fun Bits – We Love Books
As book lovers, curation of the library is exciting! Which books would be selected for traveling? Would we choose only classics? Books that change lives? Hardcovers only with protective covers?
How will this invention help book-lover community and connect like-minded people? Make the world a bigger place, spread gratitude and love?
The Problems – What could go wrong?
Of course, there are pitfalls to this approach. Problems make it more interesting! It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.
Books may end up on the trash
Books may sit on a shelf for a really long time.
Books get wet and books get damaged
How do we make super-durable books? Library-grade books, battle-hardened books. Books that will last forever.
Celebrate the Winners
While acknowledging problems will be run into, we will celebrate the successes. Celebrate the books that keep traveling. The books that are so remarkable that the reader insists on passing it to a friend, or giving it back to the universe, sending it on it’s traveling way.
What will be the longest book journey?
What will the guests say about the books in the travel log?
What if you put money in the books to incentivize book hunting, like geocaching.
What if it took off and we formed a 501c3, accepting charitable donations to add more books?
What if we went for-profit and used the attention to market to book lovers.
What if we turn the library into a sort of “perennial bestsellers list” which authors aspire to land on. We could position the list as a higher honor than New York Times bestseller.
What if we get really techno-fancy, and embed some kind of low power computer into the books, making them “smart books”.
What would it take to implement this:
- A website
- A printer
- A Books
- A person to take a book to an airport.
Iterate! Experiment! Learn! Adapt! Evolve!
Thanks for reading. Together we build a world free of fear. What would you do if you were not afraid? Be legendary.