El portal web The Literary Platform (Plataforma Literaria) organizó a principios de este año un concurso internacional destinado a creativos del audiovisual para que produjesen una animación a partir de una grabación de audio. Dicha grabación titulada Getting the Book Invented Properly fue hecha en 1993 y recogía las proféticas palabras de Douglas Adams, el insigne creador de The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (La Guía del Autoestopista Galáctico). El británico habla sobre la evolución del libro y comparte ideas que se anticiparon en el tiempo a la creación del e-book. Bob Stein de la Voyager Expanded Books y editor en los Estados Unidos de Adams hizo la grabación y 20 años más tarde la donó amablemente a The Literary Platform.

Escuchar a Adams hablar sobre la escritura en la piedra, los papiros, la imprenta, la encuadernación y de que el futuro del libro está dentro de pequeños chips de silicio resulta bastante excitante. Los participantes podían usar la grabación en su totalidad o elegir una parte cualquiera de la misma. Aquí os dejo la transcripción completa (en inglés):

Getting the book invented properly has been a long, hard slog for mankind. Early attempts at it were dogged by hardware problems. The hardware was rock-based, which meant that it was heavy, cumbersome and, above all, very hard. Then, someone had a bright idea: let’s scrunch up a lot of trees, mash them into a nice pulp, flatten them out, dry them, write on them and then, I don’t know, roll them up or something. This was a terrific success, or at least a semi-terrific success. The scroll was much lighter, much softer and a little bit easier to handle. Clearly it was the ‘I don’t know, roll them up or something’ bit that needed some work.

New research brought a stunning new idea: why not cut up the rolls of paper, sew them up the middle and, I don’t know, stick ‘em between a couple of bits of board or something? This was the turning point. This new version of the book was fantastically easy to use; all you had to do, basically, was sit there. It really caught on. In fact, it caught on in such a big way that soon everybody was writing down virtually anything they could think of and putting it into books. Lots of them. Lots and lots of them. The whole business was getting out of control again.

So, back to rock-based technology. Someone had had a bright idea about what to do with silicon, which was ‘scrunch it up, flatten it out, do a horrendous amount of other stuff to it and then, I don’t know, stick it in a powerbook or something’. This was the crucial breakthrough. Now, however much people wrote, it could be turned into Voyager Expanded Books software and the powerbook could handle it. All the things anybody liked about previous types of books – pictures, text, scrolling, page turning – could be modelled in software and you could take as many books as you wanted, anywhere you liked.

Voyager Expanded Books: everything you liked about books, scrunched up into silicon or something. Voyager Expanded Books: getting the book invented properly.

Poco a poco fueron llegando más y más trabajos al concurso, unos vídeos que serían juzgados por gente como el propio Stein, Stephen Fry o Ranjit Dhaliwal. El pasado 25 de mayo, Día de la Toalla (Towel Day), se dio a conocer el nombre del ganador, en este caso ganadora, del premio: Eleanor Stokes, de Eugene, Oregón. Stokes se llevo un iPad2 con los libros de Adams y una toalla Don’t Panic, además su creación se verá en la web de Literary Platform.

Foto: Trust no One