Bitesize: Exploring the Form, Function, and Future of Online Book Summary Services

Conor Falvey

Abstract


Popular book summaries are an under-researched family of information objects. Online book summary services offer condensed versions of popular press non-fiction books, especially titles related to management and leadership, for busy readers willing to pay subscription fees. These summaries are intended to be mobile, electronic, quickly-digested alternatives to reading entire books. Summaries can function as tools of learning as well as aids to book discovery. This paper describes the offerings of three online book summary services. It then discusses the implications of such services for information in society. It considers the benefits and drawbacks of the choice to focus these services on popular press nonfiction, which has commercial value and mainstream appeal, rather than other knowledge sources which might be more robust but less desirable to readers. Finally, it examines the ways in which artificial intelligence and natural language processing technologies could transform and disrupt the current system of producing and consuming book summaries.


Keywords


Book summaries, popular non-fiction, microlearning, text summarization, natural language processing

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5931/djim.v15i0.8979

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