Ebooks and apps innovation exciting publishers despite price concerns
Companies hope quality will be key weapon against wave of 99p competition on ebook and app stores
The evolution of books into interactive, digital products is far from over, according to Henry Volans, head of digital publishing at Faber & Faber.
Speaking at the Independent Publishers Guild's Digital Quarterly meeting in London, Volans said there is plenty more scope for innovation in book-apps and ebooks.
"The phrase which keeps coming up in my mind about ebooks is evolution," he said. "I have absolute certainty that we have not reached anything close to the evolutionary ideal of the ebook... I find it absolutely inconceivable that the book can't evolve and change and grow."
In his role at Faber, Volans commissioned the iPad edition of The Waste Land, working with partner company Touch Press on the tablet version of T.S. Eliot's poem.
Volans picked out Thames & Hudson's Cyclepedia iPad app as another good example of book-app innovation during his speech at the event. "It seems a good example of an e-book that does justice to an art book," he said.
"It's visually stunning, it's also practical - the best visual glossary explaining the components of a bike that I've seen, by some distance. But it's a work of passion too, and it's exciting to see things like that coming along. That's not an app, it's an ebook. A digital edition of an art book."
Also speaking at the event was Dan Franklin, digital publisher at Random House. He warned the publishing industry not to treat digital as a silo.
"Digital publishing now is publishing. This should now be in everyone's heads as a completely integral part of what we do. Even though, yes, at the moment it's 10% of the market. But by the end of this year it should be 20%," he said. ...