Monday, July 26, 2010

Ipad - ebooks and elit

The ipad launched in NZ last Friday. Although I have had the ipad for a couple of weeks, I have not had much time to really play with it. So far, I have been able to evaluate the ipod touch apps I want to keep and update any ipod touch apps which have ipad versions. Of note is Stanza which is my present ebook reader platform. The added capability which I love is being able to add files off my computer easily and transfer these on to the ipad. Stanza allows various ebooks I have purchased over the years which are .epub files to be read along with .pdf files. So I am now able to more easily access my rather large collection of study / research articles on the ipad. I have always been a fan of reading with a digital device and the ipad’s display really enhances the experience. As recommended on the Stanza FAQ, calibre can be used to convert various file formats into .epub or .pdf. which is user friendly and not only converts the books but also had a nifty ebook reader as well.

However, reading print books on an ipad is rather old hat although more ebooks are now sole through Amazon than hard cover books. So the next thing to work on is to evaluate the collection of elit and also here. This article features the multimodalities possible by bringing digital technologies into books. All require multimedia players and the ones which run on shockwave or flash will not run on an ipad (sigh). However, many of the examples are reminiscent of music videos, with audio of poems running with visual presentations, often with fast moving or scrolling images or using animations. Some have interactive sections or use text graphics to tell the story. Many are art forms rather than actual narratives but all tell a story of sorts. Here is an example which runs on a Mac. A guide to writing elit provides for some interesting approaches and ideas.

So it will be worthwhile looking into the future of textbooks and also children's literature which has been the natural home for interactive books for a while, exampled by one Kiwi company's approach to putting Kiwi classics on the ipad.