With the introduction of Kindle2 and the availability of What Would Google Do? in a 23-minute video, we seem to have crossed a line in defining a "book". On Read Street, I noted that Bob Stein of the Institute for the Future of the Book recently said at a conference that our notion of a book as an object "used to move ideas around time and space" is no longer accurate. As readers gain more power to comment on a text -- as it is written -- the hierarchy between authors and readers is breaking down.
Stein proposed a new definition of a book: "a place where readers (and sometimes authors) congregate," according to Publishers Weekly. Nonfiction authors will "become leaders of communities of inquiry," and fiction writers will be "creating a world together with their readers."
Some non-fiction authors already use an online audience to vet their findings during the writing process; that’s how Chris Anderson wrote The Long Tail.
I wonder whether great fiction (or non-fiction) can be written by the "wisdom of the crowd," and how receptive readers will be. Is wiki lit our future?