I read a great post yesterday from Craig Mod, one of the people behind Flipboard for iPhone, about how he adapted a book he co-authored, calledArt Space Tokyo, for digital publishing platforms. The post talks a lot about publishing, social reading, and Kickstarter, but what I found most interesting is the sentiment that analog copies of books should not simply be stuffed into a digital medium. In other words, turning a book into an e-book shouldn’t just be a 1:1 conversion – which is what we’ve been seeing a lot of over the past two years of the iPad.
According to Craig, the characteristics of a book, such as the illustrations, typography, and layout, all have to be adapted when turned into an .epub format, to accomodate the various sizes of e-reading devices. An iPhone 4S has a smaller screen than a Retina iPad, which has a smaller (but more dense) screen than a 27″ iMac – and so the experience has to be optimized for each of these different screen sizes. This is also something that Oliver Reichenstein of iA discussed at length in his excellent interview on the Verge (this isn’t quite about consumption any more, but it’s still relevant).
As I consume more and more of my content on devices like the iPhone and iPad, I’m learning to appreciate when people take the time to get digital right. I’m not just talking about being careful about skeuomorphism either. I’m talking about really sitting down and thinking about how people interact with an app – where and how they sit, whether they prefer to tap or swipe, how they perceive an app’s overall form – to make sure the experience makes sense, and feels right.