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1 January 2012

Breaking The Page by Peter Meyers

This guide to the embryonic world of electronic books is full of observations, ideas and suggestions. It discusses the ebooks of today, their capabilities, relative immaturity and shortcomings. And it hints at the ebooks we might own tomorrow, ones based upon innovative approaches, designs and techniques.

Even in this shortened three chapter preview edition, there are rich veins of information to be discovered. With plenty of useful material for anyone interested in the future of ebook creation and publication. Subjects covered include effective navigation, table of contents integration and the true purpose of indexes.

Peter Mayers makes the case that ebooks shouldn't try to slavishly copy the best features of our printed books, but instead replicate the actual experience of a physical book. Something that can be achieved with carefully considered, reader-focussed design. Certainly not an easy trick to pull off, but essential to realise the ebook's inherent advantages and rich potential.

There are so many topics to consider. Content scanning, intelligent searching, intuitive gestures, smart hyperlinks, interactive material, even user-defined flow - all unobtrusively combined with uncluttered readability.

Peter exploits his extensive publishing industry experience, knowledge and contacts to deliver a collection of interesting and up-to-date examples. Examples that are carefully chosen to highlight both good and bad practices. Examples that encompass competing technologies, such as EPUB, MOBI, HTML5 and apps. Examples that work for basic electronic ink screen e-readers, and ones aimed at the latest multifunctional tablets with their full colour displays.

We are just the beginning a journey towards building a better ebook. It's far from obvious which initiatives will be ultimately successful, and there'll be many failures along the way. I'd suggest that thoughtful, elegant and purposeful ebook design, is more likely to succeed over any particular technical standard, file format or technology. But it will certainly be a fascinating journey.

The full version of this book promises to help illuminate this journey. And I for one can't wait to read it.

(Here's a few innovative ebook company websites: Inkling, Touch Press.)