Digital Magazines and Books need to Evolve!

, , , ,

This was a week for some great ideas to emerge on how tablet platforms and digital readers need to evolve in terms of functionality, features, user experience, social media integration.

Now that the iPad has been on the market for some time and a slew of other tablets are about to drop, usage and behavior patterns are starting to emerge, and ideas on extending tablet functionality are becoming more concrete.

Here at Polymash we have been humbly completing work on extending tablet magazine reader functionality for the information product and educational market, adding plug-in features such as in magazine notepads and social media integration for Apple and Android platforms.

But for a more comprehensive and compelling glimpse at future possibilities, I’d invite you to check out this video from IDEO entitled “The Future of the Book”
<embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=15142335" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300"></embed>

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

My favorite concepts here:

  • The idea that interactivity needs to extend to participatory and community based discussions about the material being read. (Ideo calls this “Nelson”)
  • The idea to link to book clubs, reading lists and recommendation engines (Copeland)
  • Ideo also proposes a concept (Alice), which allows for co-creating the story, affecting the plot, interacting with characters and so on, and while I love the idea I do see it more in the realm off app and game development.

However long term the creation of truly interactive content will blur the line between app development and content creation…

Frankfurt Book Fair

Also this week the Frankfurt Book Fair took place, and following twitter feeds and blog entries it was apparent that there was much tablet talk and discussion. I’d like to share Joe Wikert’s presentation he gave “My eContent Wish List–Frankfurt TOC 2010” as posted on slideshare, which mirrors some of VIMEO’s vision in a perhaps more pragmatic way:

Having worked with, and around, the limitations of today’s tablet reader technology, the critical element to me is to create platform independent APIs that allow developers to directly access and interface to the publications content

My favorites:

  • Platform independent readers, with platform independent APIs
  • Better Social Media integration, for example tweeting from within and article or story
  • The ability to highlight and annotate content, and then be able to share, archive, collect and search these annotations across publications

There are some great ideas in these presentations, and I hope publishing houses and tool makers in the tablet industry are listening and adjusting to the market needs being formulated.