The Next Book
April 12, 2017
I have worked with Ivana Lukeš Rybanská from publishing house Nová Beseda since last year on their digital edition. Well, I finally feel like there’s enough puzzle pieces glued together to speak up about it. And yes, we glued the pieces together to form a ball.
Digital books cannot be similar to printed ones as much as printed books do not resemble carved stones. Amazon and most of the EPUB crowd are trying to preserve familiar format and market.
We want to publish book-shaped text in a good digital package.
- We believe that focused reading is powerful. Glancing through Facebook is a different thing—quick, ads are waiting to be noticed! Well-written text allows reader to flow through pages, to stop to think when she needs it, and to connect the dots—sometimes literally.
- The next book includes metadata, accessible datasets in visualizations, full-res photos etc. It’s malleable and you can cut and paste it. Link interactions reveal annotations so that readers don’t lose their focus. (Airplane mode is okay even when sitting in a wing chair.)
- Forget closed apps. We want readers to have full access to the bits. Read it, search it, parse it, count it, analyze it, fix it: use the source published under a permissive license. Books are forever — use any device that you like and have.
- Open web is the infrastructure for our business — community building above our editions and content subscription is our strategy. Books are built from building blocks in the same fashion as other websites.
The meaning of digital is changing — interactive, visual, multimedia, networked, social, live, virtual… There’s no lack of new technology. Let’s use all the good there is.
Movie camera is already here,
let’s shut up and film Citizen Kane.
Our first Next Book will arrive in June 2017.
- #iWantMore: Follow my blog (rss) and consider subscribing to our Next Book newsletter. First one is already in the making.
- #meetup! If you can get to Prague, come to the first of Next Book meetups on May 18th. (We’ll be also in Berlin & Budapest soon, too.)
- November 8, 2019 Notes from #ReadingConf19 The conference Reading in a Digital Environment in Regensburg just ended, and I sat down in a café at Hauptbahnhof to write down some quick notes. First of all, thanks to the organizers! I’ve met a lot of new people and attended some great sessions. And, of course, a lot of new questions popped up. Here are some quickly drafted notes. Paper or display? As expected, this is the most frequently asked question.
- September 16, 2019 Next-book’s open cloud Next-book makes every book an application. Any reader can utilize all the perks of the open web platform in its current form — both owning the documents and using the power of the network. The reading experience is more than just seeing the lines of text. It’s also using a comfortable device, returning to a book I left unfinished or sharing notes with a friend. A broader infrastructure is required to make such interactions possible.
- July 11, 2019 WPUB and the future of digital publishing Wow. On Monday last week, W3C’s Publishing Working Group decided to shelve the Web Publication’s spec draft (WPUB), citing little support from publishers and browser vendors. Working Group will focus on audiobooks where some traction is present. We attempted standardization before experimentation and incubation. Clear business needs have been hard to find. — Publishing WG Telco, 2019-07-01 WPUB intended to bring publishing to the open web. I’ve been observing the drafting process over the last two years and simultaneously (re)writing a comparison between WPUB and next-book, a cute octopus-shaped project I’ve been working on.
- November 3, 2018 Next-book: browser as a natural environment for e-reading Many people have happy memories of reading their favorite book. So of course, let’s focus on that man on the right, reading on his blackberry. This talk is consciously written as an answer to a big problem. And of course, I’m kinda humbled by the size of it. But of course, I’ll tell you what I believe is the right solution. People say that e-books are in a crisis. The Guardian is running a weekly column just to repeat that fact.
- June 21, 2017 Talkin’ bout pagination and digital books When you think of a book as of an object, you may find that pagination is its nature. It defines how one interacts with a book. It becomes the central affordance of a book. [Book] came to replace the scroll thanks to several problems that limited the scroll’s function and readability. For one, scrolls were very long, sometimes as long as ten meters. This made them hard to hold open and read, a difficulty not helped by the fact that most scrolls in that era were read horizontally, instead of vertically as scrolling virtual documents are read now.