London Unfurled for iPad

London Unfurled for iPad is an interactive digital edition that allows you to fully explore Matteo Pericoli’s intimate drawings of the north and south banks of the Thames. With London Unfurled for iPad you can scroll the entire drawing seamlessly, flipping from north to south, jumping from place to place, finding famous landmarks, zooming in on its extraordinary detail and discovering over a hundred points of interest with added facts and amazing background information. You can also share your favourite views with your friends, telling your own London story on a digital postcard.

Matteo Pericoli opens up his experience of creating this inimitable work of art in audio voiceover highlights, and two of London’s most famous cultural figures (Iain Sinclair on the North and Will Self on the South) offer their thoughts on the city’s character.

In 2009 Matteo Pericoli (author of the bestselling iconic book Manhattan Unfurled) made an intensive journey along the River Thames, from Hammersmith Bridge to the Millennium Dome. Over two years later, he finished the most astonishing document of his journey: two thirty-seven-foot-long freehand pen-and-ink drawings.

The app has been produced by the Picador team, working with Matteo Pericoli, and developers Red Glasses.

Available now from the Apple iTunes App Store -

James Long, Pan Macmillan’s Editorial Director for Digital said:

London Unfurled for iPad is not just a 'book-as-app', rather it is a digital edition designed for the tablet and for interactivity and I’m delighted with what we’ve made.

Picador Publisher Paul Baggaley added:

London Unfurled is a unique project for Picador and it is one where the extraordinary physical book and the wonderfully useful app complement each other perfectly.

CEO, Red Glasses Adam Martin said:

Matteo's beautiful artwork pushes the iPad to its limits, from the tiny details of individual windows, to a huge canvas that reaches more than 20 metres end to end. The enthusiasm of Matteo himself and the people at Pan Macmillan - who from the start believed in making an app that complements the book, rather than replaces it - made the project a delight to work on.

Pan Macmillan reports exponential ebook growth

Pan Macmillan reported today that its ebook sales accounted for over 8% of all its trade sales in the first quarter of 2011, with a rise to as much as 10% predicted by the end of this year. At the same time the publisher’s sales of print books have shown double digit sales growth in the same quarter.

Pan Macmillan’s Q1 rate of ebook sales has increased fifteen-fold since the first quarter of 2010. The publisher now has some 1300 ebooks available, up from 500 during the same period a year ago. Pan Macmillan is currently digitising the remainder of its active backlist.

Pan Macmillan’s ebook programme includes hardback number one bestsellers, Wilbur Smith, whose Those in Peril, released in March 2011, was its fastest ever selling ebook at the same time as breaking records for his hardback sales, Jeffrey Archer, whose latest novel, Only Time Will Tell, is currently at the top of the hardback and ebook bestseller lists, Peter James and Emma Donoghue who have both enjoyed ebook No 1s.

Pan Macmillan also dominated the iBooks Top 20 over Christmas 2010 including its innovative Short Reads series, which packaged individual short stories by branded authors at 99p each and gained them significant promotional profile.

Sara Lloyd, Pan Macmillan’s Digital Director, comments,

“We're delighted with our strong ebook performance. Clearly the market is developing apace. We've capitalised on our ability to move fast to expand our customer base and proactively pursue the strategic promotional, packaging and placement opportunities that digital publishing affords us, to get ahead of the game."

Apple iPad

@stephenfry says: Nothing you can say about the iPad matches the experience of using it. So much more than a large iPhone or small laptop. Stunning feel. The long-awaited convergence device is here. General chatter about the web seems to be that perhaps the reality doesn't live up to the iDream (sorry, no more iPuns, I swear). But nevermind - the Apple iPad is a significant device for a number of clear and simple reasons.

Apple has joined the ebook party, which means that the consumer experience is going to get that special Apple flavour. The first good news is that iPad & iBooks are epub compatible, and that's good news for publishers and consumers alike. The iPad device added to the iBooks platform presents a genuine challenge to Amazon Kindle. It's a new element in the ebook ecosystem that will bring a fresh challenge to the market this year. Glimpses of the iBooks store in today's demo suggest ebooks will be priced up to $15.

Read more about the iPad features here (and spot a couple of familiar book covers in the iBooks screenshot).

Welcome to the busiest year ever!

Hello and welcome to 2010, everyone. In each of the last three years, publishers and the media have asked, 'Will this year / next year be the year of the ebook?' I think in 2010 we can all offer a resounding 'Yes' to that question. Digitalists, prepare for your busiest year ever! I hardly need mention the buzz around ebook devices at CES, the near hysteria about exactly what shape the rumoured Apple device might take, who they might be talking to in publishing circles or the speculation about how the Big Three (Amazon, Google and Apple) are squaring up to each other in a battle for the ebook market.

Here at The Digitalist we have barely had time to breathe, let alone react sensibly to this frenzy, but we'd like to point you to thought-provoking, non-biased analysis here and here. And while we all look forward to the Big Reveal next Wednesday with baited breath, you can always read my now already hopelessly out of date revisiting of my Manifesto, commissioned by Peter Urpeth of Hi-Arts. It's already been suggested I should revisit this on an annual basis, but the way things are going a weekly update might work better.


You may or may not have seen, but alas, I am leaving Pan Macmillan. In the New Year I will be taking up a position as Digital Publishing Manager at Profile Books and Serpents Tail. I'm at once sad to be leaving Pan and very excited to be joining Profile. Over the past couple of years it has been a privilege and a pleasure to write for the Digitalist (and I expect you will still find me skulking about).  The Digitalist really is an open talking shop - unlike so many corporate communications channels the Digitalist really is just what we as a team have been chatting about. That spontaneous, open and, I hope, honest feel has always driven the blog and long may it continue. For all those who have been reading do feel free to get in touch when I start at Profile - I'm always interested to hear about peoples thoughts, ideas, conferences and symposia.

When I first joined Pan I came from a literary agency. The publishing landscape in mid-2007 was very different. Digital was, if not a full on dirty word, then something by turns feared, mistrusted, scorned and derided.  As the content industries around it had been transformed trade publishing, for the most part, was not particularly interested, concerned as it was with the usual rounds of advances, sales, editing, rights, covers and, occasionally, reading.

Nothing changed overnight.

Sometimes in digital the hype gets too much and people expect the world to transform, to wake up one morning in a digitopia draped over the country like an unforeseen covering of snow. This doesn't- and didn't- happen. A line endlessly trotted out at digital conferences is William Gibson's brilliant observation that "the future is already here; it just isn't evenly distributed".  That is why digital doesn't happen as fast as people think. Technologies move at bewildering speed, but habits, prejudices, knowledge, skills and desires often do not.

Nonetheless we are in a totally different world. The web 2.0 bubble came and went. A major retailer started selling ebooks before everyone jumped on board and another even created its own device and changed the game in the process. Then was the iPhone; the explosion of Twitter; the creation of a digital infrastructure of DADs and warehouses and conversion specialists and aggegators. There was the coming of age of Google Book Search and latterly the Settlement and Editions. There was, for the first time, real revenue from digital products. We went from a dearth of ereaders to an abundance. Even the idea of the ereader seemed under threat from mobiles and tablets, stymied by a fickle gadget buying public, perhaps before even hitting their stride, possibly to join the ghostly presences of the Betamax and the Minidisc player in the fabled Garden of Redudant Technology. (I don't actually believe that will happen by the way, but it is an arresting image). Digital departments became a permanent fixture on the staff of virtually every publisher. The media couldn't stop talking about ebooks. So a lot has changed.

A defining moment for me came a few weeks ago when I happened to be watching the adverts on ITV at prime time on a Friday (which I can assure you is a rare event). Suddenly there flashed up an advert for the Sony Reader, and lo, they did feature three ebooks, and one of those ebooks was Andrew Marr's The Making of Modern Britain, one of "my" ebooks.  I confess to a surge of excitement and pride. Beyond the personal though, adverts for ebooks on TV seemed to really signify that ebooks have arrived; ebooks are for real and people are really picking them up.

So much for the past. Earlier in the year I predicted that mobile would be the big event of 2009. Along with Amazon and Google, I think that has certainly been the case, in hype if nothing else. Above all it was the iPhone that changed not just digital publishing but pretty much everything, ever. Reading OMG there's an app for that! stories on the Guardian has almost become a bore. A few days ago it was announced there was a military app for making war, which rather prompts the question of why anyone would take their mobile into battle, a question immediately answered by the fact that no longer is the iPhone a humble telephone but is, in fact, a deadly combat machine up there with Sherman tanks and the T-1000.


What about 2010? One word sums it up: access. This is something I plan on discussing in much more detail next year, but broadly I think access models of one form or another are going to be hugely transformative. I'm thinking Google Editions, Kobo Books, Spotify, a plethora of devices, shifting patterns of ownership and cultural engagement, the benefits of the Cloud, workable solutions that bypass DRM and its attendant issues. Watch this space.

Of course should 2010 herald the long awaited arrival of the Apple tablet then we all expect something if not quite of the iPod/iPhone magnitude, then something still sufficiently massive to rock the publishing world as the music and telecom industries were rocked before us.

Look forward to catching up then and in the meantime have a great Christmas and New Year. Signing out, MB.


From Youtube: "This collaboration between The Wonderfactory and Time, Inc. is an excellent example of how tablets will enable the creation of innovative, addictive experiences by publishers, media companies, and advertisers. "

Don't even try telling me you don't want one. And this comes at a time when five major publishers announce a new download platform. The Day of the Tablet is nigh!


I'm sure many of you are familiar with the Twitter convention of hash tags, and the popular #lazyweb tag used when you are too lazy to find the answer to a question that you're pretty sure someone out there on the world wide web will know. So you tweet the question and add #lazyweb. What I love about this idea is that it's a passive impulse that taps into all the frantic activity of the web so simply. And now I'm hoping to use it for a question that I have...

We've been thinking a lot about how to facilitate conversations about our books on the internet (as I'm sure all publishers have been doing too). One way to do this is to try and aggregate content 'out there' back into a central location for our book/s, so you can see all the conversation in one place. (I'm simplifying, I know...)

But this kind of aggregation is not easy and is not the only element needed in the 'content mix' - we know that.

So my question is:

dear #lazyweb do you know any examples of really good or clever or fun 'centralized' content (aka aggregated book chat). I know about Amazon... any others? OK thx!

The Third Player

When we think of the Big Three West Coast tech firms poised to change publishing, we think Amazon, Apple and Google. Between them they embody a shift in discovery, distribution and hardware in reading and typify a move away from the traditional centres of the book world, in favour of more new media-native presences. Kindle currently dominates the US ebook market, and is likely to have a similar impact wherever it goes (Amazon recorded strong profit growth this year driven by the Kindle). The iPhone has a real but still emergent ebook market that will be exploded with the expected arrival of an Apple tablet device next year. And Google has Book Search and the forthcoming Editions, which could rival Amazon and Apple in terms of book downloads. The playing field is set - in her recent presentation Sara has a magnificent analysis of how this field breaks down.

However regarding Google most of the strategic thinking and recent commentary, of which there is acres, has focused on either the legal controversies surrounding the settlement or the plans regarding Editions. Google is seen in terms of discovery and retail. Perhaps, though, there is another story going on here.

Mobile has been the buzzword of ereading in 2009; you practically can't turn around without being hit over the head with another statistic about how many people have smart phones and how mind boggling the potential for expansion is, and how seductively convenient it is to have convergence on one handy device. Moreover we've seen the maturing of the space - Stanza, Scroll Motion's Iceberg and Eucalyptus are all excellent readers, there is a healthy Books chart on the App Store and fine developers like Missing Ink Studios and Enhanced Editions are beginning to truly prise open the potential for books on a phone.

So it all looks great. Only, in case you hadn't noticed, it's all on the iPhone. And all of sudden people are making noises about the iPhone, and not especially pleasant ones. Inevitably when something is successful and universally adored, people will find reason to dislike it. This is just how the world works.

Which brings us back to Google. In the whole discussion of ereading somehow we largely forget about other phones, in particular the Google owned Android OS. My case is that Android has been hitherto underestimated and may end up equaling Apple and Amazon in it's own right.

Let's not pretend: if there was an iPhone vs. Android fight right now then the iPhone would win, in terms of users, user experience and reading. To a certain extent this is not Google's fault as such, seeing as they don't produce the hardware, marketing or apps for the phones, but still, no one can deny the iPhone remains far ahead. As for other competitors like Windows Mobile, the revamped Nokia with it's oddly named Ovi Store etc etc in the end they will probably converge with Android due to the sheer madness of proliferating mobile dev standards.  So the iPhone wins, and whats more, with the handsets being unchained from their sole carriers and Apple amassing an eye watering, earth shattering $34bn the growth prospects are very good indeed.

However there are also signs to suggest that Android may start picking up. Firstly it has an inherent ability to grow more widely as it can be used on any number of different manufacturers handsets. Secondly the quality of those handsets is improving all the time - the HTC Hero is gaining traction (Full disclosure: I have one, it's good but I'll admit that the 3GS is a bit better) and the Motorola Droid, to name just one other, promises to be massive. Thirdly the App Marketplace remains weak in comparison to the App Store, but is also growing fast, as Google developers and UX people plus a ton of backing make it better, has a growing audience and has none of the problems sometimes associated with the submitting to the App Store. Fourthly, in publishing terms, there has been a dearth of books or reading software on the Android which is only now being rectified. Look at the burgeoning Comics section of the Marketplace and Aldiko, who want to do for Android what Lexcycle did for reading on the iPhone.

Widespread reading on Android may therefore not be that far away.

There is a further strand to the story. Over the past couple of months it has sometimes felt the trickle of new reading devices has morphed into a full on flood. It's impossible to keep up - everyday Engadget runs a new story on some boutique new ereader. Amidst this torrent however a few things have become clear. Phones were touted as good reading devices because they came with multi-functionality and it was assumed people only wanted a single device for all their communication and media needs (to speak in press release jargon). From here the idea of the tablet or the multi use e-ink mixed display gained traction.

In order to make the devices better people needed a robust, web friendly operating system and quietly waiting in the wings was Android. Witness just two of the recent crop of readers, the Nook from Barnes & Noble and the Alex from Spring Design (currently locked in a legal battle). Both use Android as their OS, and this is just the beginning (there are other examples). Needless to say that Android has the potential to become the default operating system for many readers, and is a strong candidate for being the OS that eventually becomes dominant for reading. Google could end up with a hefty share of the mobile reading and tablet device reading markets, initially in terms of software but who knows, maybe one day even in hardware.

Ultimately Google could be in a position where everything in the book chain, from finding the book on GBS to producing the object you hold in your hands, is part of its empire.

Balanced against this though are the other two big beasts, both unquestionably expert and successful in their fields who no doubt will fight their corners with tenacity and elan. We shouldn't forget Android though, nor it's possible role in digital publishing.

Room on the Broom Interactive ebook

Macmillan Children's Books has recently launched a new kind of picture book. From the legendary Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler duo, Room on the Broom is a picture book in the old fashioned sense but also a fully interactive experience. Bundled with the book is a cd that includes an animated version of the story, games, activities and extras. The idea is to find new ways of getting kids involved with the content and to start expanding traditional content in ways that will amaze and delight both adults and offspring; it is about recognizing that when parents have iPhones, computers are everywhere and even televisions are highly interactive the picture book has to evolve. By having the extra material as a cd though it keeps things within the established model of packaging audio cds with children's books; however downloads will soon be are already available.

One of the extras allows to kids to build their own stories within the world.  Over the past couple of years there has been much discussion of bringing more of this user generative, reactive "choose your own adventure" style story telling and this is an interesting example.  Children perhaps relish - and have the energy for - creativity more than adults so will hopefully have lots of fun with the tool. The package is also an example of how publisher IP is extremely important for games development.

Produced by Pat and Pals it looks and feels great, so we wish it every success. Attached below is a press release with more info should you be interested.