And this most interesting tech man in the world is now betting that printed volumes are a critical business component to his latest venture, Relive. What this online software tool does is securely collect images from smartphones, cameras, PCs, tablets or anything that can take a picture, then organize them around, say, a wedding and put all those images in virtual space any Web user can access easily. "I could not find a way to bring all my images together from an event in one place," Perkins told me as he demoed the product here in New York. "So I made one that could." And Perkins is going old-school on getting Relive to live as a business. "We are going to offer on-demand printed versions of the albums we organize," he said. Perkins is not the lone reader in the nuevo-book revolution.
Call me an old-school, book-loving fop. But the hoopla about hardcovers is not hard to read. In a world where pure information plays such as Google and Facebook struggle to charge even a penny for their virtual products, a real live, $25 blank book looks pretty darn lucrative. So with a little luck, sometime next year the fetish with the virtual may finally be expiring. And these major information companies will start quietly rebranding themselves as makers of real things. That means, friends, that the latest chapter on books is just getting started.