In Three Words: What is the Future of Books?


A tremendous thank you to, and round of applause for, our wonderful contributors.

In Three Words publications are licensed under a Creative Commons License. Feel free to share the work anywhere, please just link back here.

Thanks Jared McDaniel, HelpScout and Steve Jobs for your inspirations!

Now it’s your turn. What are your three words? Share in the comments.

  • Emily Scheinman

    Future Best Investment

    • Matt Gartland

      That’s great Emily! Love the perspective that books are quality investments for our future. Totally agree :)

  • Dick Carlson

    Only The Wealthy

    • Matt Gartland

      Thanks so much Dick!

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  • Jared Dees

    What a great concept.

    My favorite: “beyond the page.” This is so crucial in a long-term strategy for authors. I don’t plan on writing a single book that doesn’t lead people out of the book and into a deeper understanding and application of the concepts and an opportunity to build a relationship with me and the other readers. (I write non-fiction.)

    • Matt Gartland

      Yes, Jane’s comment was great. She has great sensitivity to the current trends and future possibilities – which include, as she says, “transmedia specialists.” I agree that this is a big part of the future of books.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • MelanieOrmand

    Writers, Readers Unite!

    • Matt Gartland

      Totally agree. There will continue – I think, and I hope – to be a convergence of writers and readers. All good things for both groups.

  • MelanieOrmand

    Writers, Readers: Unite!

  • Keitaijames

    Read my book

    • Matt Gartland

      Thanks for sharing your 3 words!

  • Terrance Foxxe

    Swim or sink.

    • Matt Gartland

      Thoughtful Terraance. Yes, I think the pressures to be seen and respected as a professional writer are escalating due to the reduced barriers to entry. This could certainly exacerbate a sink or swim climate.

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  • Nancy Roe

    Great Content Sells. Knowing your audience and providing useful information are key.

    • Matt Gartland

      Indeed, Nancy. Despite the shifting landscape, it remains paramount to know your audience well and deliver the content that they need and crave.

  • Sebastiano Mereu

    Creativity is ink.

    • Matt Gartland

      Absolutely, Sebastiano! I love the imagery of this thought.

  • toni

    Only Stories Matter

    • Matt Gartland

      Stories are indeed very powerful, and I think the future will be kinder to those books and other digital publications that have a more advanced forms of storytelling.

  • Jessie Gunderson

    Fire Starters.

    You can take that either way. Kindling or controversy.

    • Matt Gartland

      We <3 books too!

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  • Romy Singh

    Cool infographic…. the book that catches my eyes is “Story Not Formatted”

    • Matt Gartland

      Thanks Romy. I agree, Dan Blank’s insight was telling. We’ll worry less about the format and more about the message of stories in the future.

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  • Chi Wang

    Nonlinear, Multidimensional, Interactive

    • Matt Gartland

      Three of my favorite words :) Thanks Chi!

  • Blackbird Digibooks

    Freedom For Originality

    • Matt Gartland

      Thanks for sharing your three words!

    • Matt Gartland

      As William Wallace would say, “What would we do without freedom?”

  • markwollacott

    Imagination’s your limit

    • Matt Gartland

      Great sentiment, Mark. I totally agree.

    • Matt Gartland

      I certainly hope imagination is our limit. Well said.

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  • Richard Huckle

    Books have feelings.

    • Matt Gartland

      That’s very insightful. Thanks Richard!

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  • Kathleen Lambert

    Heart of Community

    • Matt Gartland

      I like that a lot Kathleen. Thank you for sharing!

  • David

    Competing for eyes.

    • Matt Gartland

      Absolutely, David. That bit of the future is here already.

  • Joe Berger

    Coporate Overlord Controlled

    • Matt Gartland

      I kinda hope not, though I do sense that big business will always have a strong hand in the book industry.

  • Mary Jo

    Books Will Endure
    [nod to Faulkner]

    • Matt Gartland

      [nod] 😀

  • Tom Lawson

    MESSAGE, not medium.

    • Matt Gartland

      Thanks Thomas!

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  • MByerly

    Innovate or die.

    • Matt Gartland

      The innovation curve is certainly accelerating. Thanks!

  • Emily Helms

    Organic, yet Refined

    • Matt Gartland

      I like the “organic” thought; yes, I think more books will be produced “naturally” in close concert with readers.

  • Ed_Cyzewski

    For Print: Word and Design
    For E-books: Best story wins

    I hope it’s not a cop out to divide the future of books into two paths, but as an E-reader owner who loves print books, I find that I want to own print books that have beautiful design. Text and nice cover are nothing special for a print book compared to what you get on an E-reader.

    • Matt Gartland

      I like the split; I would actually say that both sentiments apply to both categories of books. Design is becoming more important as a distinguishing factor for ebooks, and the best story is always of paramount importance regardless of form/medium.

      Thanks Ed!

  • Terry

    interactive multimedia rules

    • Matt Gartland

      Thanks Terry! Yes, I think we will increasingly see more interactive multimedia intertwined with books.

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  • Graeme Mcnee

    Use formats creatively!

    • Matt Gartland

      Thanks Graeme. The experimentation of new formats is one of the more fascinating aspects of the publishing revolution.

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