A new, great and wonderful, type of ebook was launched this week which promises to shake up the digital publishing industry.
Okay, now that I've gotten the marketing BS out of my system, here's the news.
A few days ago I got a press release touting the launch of a new edition History of a Pleasure Seeker. This title was released by a relatively new digital publishing start up, Orson & Co, and if you believe the press release it is neither an ebook nor an ebook app (even though it runs on the iPad) but an "eLume".
Luckily for me I did not get any notice of the launch until after Laura had posted her article at paidContent. That removed any need to get the story out that day, so instead I asked for and got a free copy of the app.
Marketing hype aside, it is really just another ebook app. It has a parchment colored off-white background, trim around the edges of the screen, and embedded images and audio (narration provided by Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens). The images can be clicked on and scrolled, which is kinda neat, but only because most other ebook apps will let you zoom in on an image so it fills the screen. There's also some limited sharing options, but nothing you haven't seen in other iPad apps.
All in all, this isn't even a decent quality app. It lacks fairly basic features like a table of contents, font size choices, and pretty much everything that ebook apps have had since late 2010.
While I have seen some new interesting ebook abilities over the past couple years, I don't see what's so special about this app (aside from a decent marketing team). Perhaps someone could look over the free sample and explain what is so amazing?
On a related note, Orson & Co is working to release other titles, including an older title by Harriet Sergeant. Shanghai was previously published by British publisher John Murray in 1999, and it will have similarly enhanced content.I'll keep an eye out and see if that app is more interesting than this one.