Books to be reinvented as tablets become mainstream

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The Independent Culture

Penguin Books CEO John Makinson provided a look at how media devices might shake up the way we define text-based publications in the future.

Whilst speaking at FT's Digital Media & Broadcasting Conference in London on March 2 Makinson shared details about Penguin's future e-book strategies.

Makinson views the oncoming rush of e-books into the consumer market as an opportunity to revamp the book publishing industry. His vision of the future involves a new definition of "books" that will provide readers with completely engaging "interactive learning experiences."

Penguin has made the bold move of experimenting with "book applications" instead of trying to find ways to make their content work with the current e-book standard, .epub. Penguin believes applications will give them more freedom to write books with embedded audio, video and streaming.

"So for the time being at least we'll be creating a lot of our content as applications, for sale on app stores and HTML, rather than in e-books. The definition of the book itself is up for grabs," revealed Makinson.

"We don't know whether a video introduction will be valuable to a consumer. We will only find answers to these questions by trial and error."

A demonstration of some of the book applications Penguin is working on can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdExukJVUGI&feature=player_embedded

John Makinson's presentation can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw5wLaBqdV0&feature=player_embedded

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