What Is A Book? – Part II

Yesterday, Penguin UK unveiled what a book might look like on the iPad.

Again, the word ‘book’ betrays what amazing abilities that technology like the iPad are going to deliver or as Michael Cader from Publisher’s Lunch pointed out many of these abilities already exist in the form of apps at the iTunes Store.

I continue to contend: You don’t interact with books, you read them.

A notable exception is flap books and pop-up books in the children’s realm and it is no surprise that Penguin was able to quickly conceptualize software equivalent.

If the real change in books is going to be that ability to interact, we need new vocabulary that moves us forward. The word ‘ebook’ gives us no real idea what is going to appear on the screen. These next iterations better resemble games, programs, or applications.

My temptation would be to call these new creations ibooks to emphasis the their interactivity nature (except for the use of that term by a certain company in Cupertino, CA for several years).

This separation of content from form is an important industry branding issue that currently muddles the publishing marketplace. And in this case, traditional book publishers lose, because of the already existing expectation that we find this sort of functionality in the another marketplace, mainly software.

Related: What Is A Book? from Dec 30, 2009

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