I saw this object on the shelf at my local Borders and it melted my mind. But as intriguing as a "Star Trek" themed online book would be, this product that claimed to be a Star Trek online book appeared to be nothing more than an ordinary ink-on-woodpulp paperback.
There was no USB port embedded in the spine. The pages weren't updated through a wireless interface. This purportedly online book didn't even have a touchscreen.
As it turned out, The Needs of the Many wasn't the "Star Trek" themed online book I'd expected. It was instead a "Star Trek Online" themed book--a traditional book based on an online video game based on a television/movie franchise. What a way to milk a story universe!
So okay, false alarm. This book turned out to be a sad little novelization of something online that exists entirely outside of the book's pages. But I'd like to see a product that starts as an ordinary storybook which then expands, updates, and customizes itself through a network connection. It wouldn't be the digitized version of a traditional book or a video game in text-adventure format--it would be a self-contained product capable of evolving into new configurations based on the needs and preferences of each reader.
Now that what would really fit The Needs of the Many!