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Google launches e-book ‘experiment’

4 February 2016

From The Bookseller:

Google has launched a new digital-only bookstore “for books that cannot be printed”.

The “experiment” into digital books, called Editions at Play, was created by London-based publisher Visual Editions and Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney and features books Visual Editions has commissioned, including a book set in Google street view.

The idea behind Editions at Play is “not to challenge conventional publishing” but to “open some doors”, according to its creators. It was born out of a “response” to the evolving digital publishing landscape, including e-books, enhanced e-books and online PDFs. The initiative’s goal is to “allow writers to create books that cannot be printed” and, said Google, “fit better with 21st century sensibilities”.

In a blog, Google said: “Editions At Play is an experiment by Visual Editions and Google’s Creative Lab to explore the potential of digital books: that is, books that change dynamically on your phone or tablet, using all the attributes of the modern mobile web to do things that printed books never could. Simply put, we wanted to see if we could keep the integrity of reading, but play with the book’s digital form.”

It added: “Books in Editions at Play are designed to make the most of the mobile web in order to ‘do things printed books never could’. They abide by the principles that books must be envisioned as ‘mobile-first’, have pages and “use the dynamic qualities of the interweb”.

Editions at Play’s two launch titles include a book that “travels the world” through Google Street View called Entrances & Exits by Reif Larsen; and a book that invites the reader to “take sides” called The Truth About Cats & Dogs by the authors Joe Dunthorne and Sam Riviere. The titles cost £2.99 each through the Google Play store and can be read through both Apple and Android devices.

Link to the rest at The Bookseller


12 Comments to “Google launches e-book ‘experiment’”

  1. So, possibly interactive non-books, ‘called’ ebooks for some reason?

    I’ll stick with my old kindle for now …

  2. Extended books? Only with no connection to an ereader?

  3. Web pages that need Google apps of some kind or other to read. Yay progress.

  4. Good luck to them. I can’t see this working, but there’s a lot of things I don’t get, from Tumblr to Snapchat to the Kardashians that millions follow and are clearly making somebody somewhere a great deal of money.

    BTW, am I the only one who remembers the Uma Thurmann/Janeane Garofalo movie also called The Truth About Cats and Dogs? My first thought when I saw that title was confusion about some sort of strange retcon for the 21st century, when it is apparently nothing of the kind.

  5. er, I dont think I understand. CANT be printed? As in, wont, or dont, or too hot to handle, or ‘for your eyes only’ or beware the publishing of books on paper is considered an act of treason? What?? Help. I feel fingerless in a digital world.

  6. Oh, dear gods. Shoot me now.

    Reason #15678932-4 why I won’t ever get a smart phone. Or buy apps.

  7. Wow, books that keep changing. Now they can treat our books like they treat our computers: continually “upgrading” them, whether we like it or not, and refusing to support the models that work for us. Microsoft should love these!

  8. I love software – I’ve been designing interactive entertainment for 20 years — but if the publishers think they’re in trouble now, they have no idea what troubles interactivity would bring them.

    Let’s keep our linear experiences linear for as long as we can.

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