Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Marking Up The Fab Four: Just Imagine What XML Could Do For Your Books

Just posted over at THE CONTENT WRANGLER is my first article in what is planned to be a series examining how the traditional book industry could benefit from adopting XML.

Here's an extract from the first post ...

When I look at my book (Before They Were Beatles) on the Kindle, or on my iPhone, I am frankly disappointed in it. The reason? eBooks and eBook readers today are little more than simple electronic page turners.

But it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to think what they could be like. My book references lots of early recordings of various incarnations of the group that would become The Beatles – wouldn’t it be great to click on a link and actually hear those recordings, or even compare early versions with later versions recorded at the height of their fame. How about when I mention their encounters with other musicians? It would be cool to be able to click on a name and get a snapshot biography, links to books about them and access their music catalog. How about accessing photographs of 1950s Liverpool street scenes, or being able to tour the Fab Four’s childhood homes?

And it’s not only non-fiction where I see these sort of enhancements, imagine reading your favorite novelist, and when a character mentions a location being able to click through to the Google street view, or when they eat at a nice restaurant being able to access the recipe. Ever wanted to know exactly how to make the type of vodka martini that is best served shaken, not stirred? It could be just a click away.

There is no technical reason why this sort of interactive book couldn’t be done today.

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