Monday, May 17, 2010

Digital Publishing. ipad? kindle?

I have been thinking about digital publishing a lot lately, and how inadequate the black & white e-readers seem to be for (specifically) craft books. I am really coming around to the idea of e-readers somewhat replacing many of the books I love so much, possibly just because of space restrictions and the kids pulling all the books off the lowers shelves and using them for various non-book uses. The real problem I have with e-books/readers is that one of my major book loves are the big glossy photos in cookbooks and craft books, and until recently I could not imagine how an e-reader could possibly give someone a similar experience with the screens available. Enter iPad!!! (really Apple? You couldn't have arranged for a panel of people off the street to review the possible names for this device?) I have not actually seen the iPad in person, but the online videos are spectacular. I keep thinking of ways to use it for craft instruction books/patterns that could be just as beautiful and perhaps even preferable to paperbooks. For example, when websites or data in the text becomes obsolete or otherwise needs to be edited, no need to come out with a new edition, simply update the digital media, tada! No more searching the interent for errata and hoping it is the most current info.

I am also thinking of ways to embed video within the file, so as I describe a technique in a pattern you can tap the video box and watch a demonstration. Or, perhaps, a series of short video clips at each section for a sort of knit along class. Another cool thing to see would be having charts have a built in "guide" that you can move around with the touch of a finger. (just like my magnetic chart keeper that I use now, but can't "lock" and must hide from the kids at all costs or lose the magnetic strips and my place in the chart.) How about a row counter dial that sits in a corner of the screen so you can keep track of everything you need in one neat little place? Plus you can include as many gorgeous full color photos as you want!

Another HUGE aspect of this idea to me is that rather than just selling your digital content as a pdf (and thus easily pirated by casual sharers) you could make all your patterns or books an app and include lots of interesting interactive beautiful content, and not worry about copyprotection on your own. I am SO excited about the possibilities the ipad presents for these genres of publishing. KnitGrrl blogged about this here and  was clearly ticked at the paper publishing industry (rightly so!!) and has been pondering various options in "alternative" publishing. I am super happy to see that "established" designers are so involved and open about all this publishing business, it is such a blessing to newbies trying to figure out the business side of knitting design.

ok, must take offspring to karate. will continue thinking about all this and update.


Shannon said...

Aww, thanks for that! I think "ticked off" might even be too mild a description of how I'm feeling about some of this... :)

There are no perfect solutions right now, only interim ones, and things are just going to keep getting more useful and innovative as time goes on, if you ask me. The iPad is pretty amazing, its screen resolution is even higher than a printed book!

Putting things into an app makes sense but the development time and cost makes it prohibitive to do it for every book. (Trust me, I've been looking at EVERY possible angle).

We live in interesting times, no? :)

bek mylastname said...

ugh, I know Shannon! I thought there was real potential with the app idea, but my husband (the computer engineer) informs me that Darth Jobs has decreed that the adobe app packaging software (that actually made the concept accessible to visual/graphic designers) will no longer be supported when the next update goes out.

so pissed.