What is an unbook?

A traditional book is released in editions.  When a work is revised or updated, a new edition is released. These revised or updated editions usually offer small, incremental changes, such as a new preface or introduction, a new chapter, or small changes to the content.

An unbook is more like software:

1. An unbook is never finished, but rather continually updated, based on feedback from users andtheir evolving needs.

2. An unbook is released in versions. As in open source software, version 1.0 of an unbook is a significant milestone, indicating that it is stable and reliable enough for use by the general public. The significance of a new release is indicated by the size of the gap: For example, the difference between 1.1 and 1.1.3 is minor, while the difference between 1.1 and 2.0 is major.

3. An unbook is supported by a community of users who share their experiences and best practices with each other, and help each other troubleshoot problems encountered in their practice areas. An unbook’s community is a very real part of the unbook’s development team.

An unbook is mindware: software for the mind.

23 Comments to 'What is an unbook?'

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  1. heather gold said,

    I create/d play(s) (or what I’ve been calling an interactive comedies) “I Look Like An Egg, but I Identify As A Cookie” in a parallel fashion. I include the “audience” in the show itself and the show was written, workshopped and revised in public. It’s designed to change somewhat based on who is there for the live experience.


    I can imagine unbooking these pieces.

    My process was similarly influenced by software and the net although it emphasizes the real-time live experience together.

    Although I’ve been using video to write as well as to capture.
    You may want to include the communal writing pages or video in the “unbooks” as well.

  2. Dave Gray said,

    Hi Heather,

    Yes, I think we’ll be seeing a lot more “mashups” of things happening in physical space, like performance and print, with other media like video and wikis.

  3. How is an unbook different from a wiki?

  4. Dave Gray said,

    Hi Daniw, I had more thoughts than were probably appropriate for a comment thread, which I have posted here.

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