Friday, April 16, 2010

An ebook is a standalone website

Mark Pesce at Innovative Ideas Forum 2010 seems to be using a very complex and wordy analysis for some very simple ideas of what an ebook is. He seems to think that paper books are a linear form starting from page one and going to the last page. This is not the case, most obviously for non-fiction books and less so for fiction.

Books have non-liner features such as tables of contents indexes and footnotes. In teaching web design I explain to the students how to design a web site by analogy to a book. I suggest that designed have one default linear path through the web site, like the format of a book. In the extreme case a book can be converted to a book, by converting the components to their book equivalent.

Recently I took a set of web pages and turned them into a book, including ebook versions (the paper version is in the NLA and the web version in Trove). Obviously the paper and ebook versions have different features. The ebook versions differ depending on the ebook device used and if it is online or not. As an example, the citations cannot be clicked on in the paper version of the book. In the PDF and Kindle versions they can be clicked on, but if the book is not online external links will still not work.

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