“We’re glad you asked that!” as they say. We truly have been waiting to have these conversations, because we want to share the vision that we’ve had here for five years now. There is no doubt that the book retains a definite magic for young children, who still enjoy being read to. They like it best when they know the story well and it has lots of pictures. In later years reading is an intrinsic part of growing up and finding the thoughts and the mind of one’s own. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could retain some of those childish pleasures and intriguing discoveries?
In later life we are taught that a serious textbook needs serious study, it used to look austere (illustrations were costly) and often impenetrable - because some subjects just are harder to understand. We haven’t distinguished up to now between print and electronic media. But now, for digital publications we want to retain conventional, refined page layouts for maximum readability, consistency and clarity. We want an appropriate use of interactivity and multimedia and yes, we may use random access, hyperlinked non-linearity and selective reading levels.
However, and this is the big point, underneath everything we believe the linear narrative of the classic book should act as a reassuring highway the reader can return to in navigating through any semantic landscape. This narrative is actually a story that the author wanted to tell to make sense of the information. It was moderated by an editor, it was pitched to a publisher and typesetting, layout and packaging were done by craftsmen. Though these steps might not always have occurred in exactly that order, the whole process was meant to always add up to be the quintessential curated experience for the reader. Why should we give all, or even any of this up? The answer was the dismal science of economics, of course.
We want to find ways to return to standards of excellence in publications with controlled costs and undoubted value for money proven with experiential analytics for actionable data. Allowing communication in and out of an ePub, especially an eBook is opening up new horizons and perhaps, even new learning models for the reader and new production models for the industry.