With the growth in the use of mobile devices, whether smartphones or tablets, consumers can access an array of content from just one device. The boundaries between different media can only blur further. What will be the difference between a book with multimedia content, a website, or a magazine? There is already little or no difference between a digital children’s book with animations and different paths to follow, and a game. Experimentation, whether by authors, publishers, or other players, will offer great diversity to the user in the range of products and services which will become available, and the creators of content will have to think and collaborate in new ways. Will books remain a differentiated product, or will we have new combined

products such as the mook (magazine-book)? How will the connections develop between books, and to other content? Will content merge to enable users to create their own access points and curated or personalized selection? Will augmented reality on phones or glasses make available a wide range of content in new ways?

The notion of Web 3.0, the next generation of the internet, has some big implications for what the book will become. First, the development of the semantic web, as proposed by Tim Berners-Lee, would mean much more effective search as results are filtered by meaning and not just the relevance of the key words used. Search engines are already able to learn the behaviour of their users, and generate personalized results. For example, book lovers who search for Tolkien might see relevant results, more targeted towards the publications available, rather than, say, the Peter Jackson films. Google’s Knowledge Graph was introduced in 2012 in a variety of languages and offers semantic search results which get closer to user needs – for example, it anticipates that if you search for the speech ‘I have a dream’

by Martin Luther King, you will want to find its text and a video clip. Advertisers are exploiting our search histories to target advertising in a highly effective manner – this is the power of so-called big data. This can go even further as our media and reading habits are analysed in even greater depth. Once search engines, and other systems, have a more developed sense of the

meaning of data, this will enable machines to talk to each other more effectively: