May 18, 2011

Will the App Replace the Ebook?

The Kindle VS iPad for reading debate is about to heat up again. For some time now bloggers and book people have been discussing the possibility of the ebook completely replacing paper books. I still love both, so can't see that happening, but I do see a shake up of the book industry and a complete revision of how books are chosen and a shift in power. The new book industry will be consumer run rather than publisher run (sorry writers, there'll still be someone to answer to - the customers).

But what I do see as an interesting innovation is the apps that are appearing in place of ebooks and books. Probably the best known one being Al Gore's Our Choice, as presented by publisher/app creator Mike Matas:

Just shows what books can become. But my favourite was when I came across this app for a children's book. Check this out it is amazing (and an Australian publisher!):
I was blown away by how easy the language could be changed (I'd love these for my Spanish class), the interactivity and the ability to have the book read to you (audiobook style, not Kindle robot style). This book wouldn't work well on my black and grey Kindle, but is a treat on the iPad - have they finally found a way to push Kindle aside? Maybe Kindle will produce a colour touchscreen device (rumoured for mid 2011).

I LOVE the idea of books as apps, although I'm not keen on fiction being distracted with videos and such, but maybe having an audiobook embedded into the ebook, so you could read, but switch to audio when you are driving or tired. It would sync to your place for you. Can you think of any creative ways to turn fiction into book apps?

Want to know more about the publishers of the children's book app? Check out:
Blue Quoll Publishing


  1. My main issue with tablets is the screen and the strain it puts on my eyes. clearly there's a lot of stuff you can do with the power of proper computer behind you, but the glareless screen of e-readers is their greatest advantage, I think.

  2. Moody, I agree with the problem with the backlight of the screen. I have faith that a developer will create a screen that can go from lit to non lit or possibly have interchangeable screens. Fiction works well on the Kindle, but kids' books need colour and this app will apply to little hands (of course, that means little hands that you trust with your iPad).

  3. I think what this portends is a shift in consciousness. The last shift was ushered in by the introduction of language and, as has been seen with the advent of texting- which I loathe- a shorthand has been introduced that has been slowly eroding a more complex lexicon in terms of common use. Images and gizmos have a sense immediacy that the naked written word does not. Writing, not dressed up with other forms of stimuli, requires a certain slowing down to process and assimilate. A slowing-down that is not facilitated by modern life. I'm not a Luddite, just an observer who tells it like I see it.

  4. I can't keep up with publishing these days. So many changes happening so quickly! It makes my head spin. :-)

  5. Suze - you raise an interesting point. I often wonder if all these new ways of reading and sourcing information actually facilitates learning and knowledge or hinders it. The Internet may be quicker and more convenient than the ol' encyclopaedias I used as a kid, but I think reading one text at a time, rather than jumping from site to site and video to text, helps you to retain the information. So I think there will be many formats available and even with this new app book I strongly believe paper books will still be produce and circulated.

    Shannon - It's dizzying isn't it! I'm both a little frightened by how fast this era morphs from one technology to another and excited. Your work would go great as an app like Mr. Wolf! :)

  6. Now that's an interesting debate. I agree that it would be cool to use in classes--especially for kids who need the visual along with their words. I am still lamenting the fact that we may not have books in their true form soon. Good for trees though.

  7. It's easy to get left behind in this new publishing age, but books will be around for a very long time.

  8. You're right, it is an amazing innovation for books of all kinds. It's also wonderful that these apps are free & allow us to get used to this technology. Kindles & Nooks & iPads are all easy to operate, too.

  9. This sounds wonderfully innovative. I don't have an ipad, just a kindle, so I'll have to catch up on all this new technologie someday.

  10. For now I'm sticking with my newly purchased Kindle and books. I-Pads are expensive. I'm sure they'll come down in price.

  11. here in my country (Serbia, Europe) we still don't have e-books nor the electronic readers, so normal books will live here long and happy for decades to come :) which kinda makes me happy as someone who works in the publishing industry :)

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