“If you want to see what a 21st century reading experience should look like, . . . the marketplace you’re looking for is e-Bibles.”Read it here.
More interesting quotes from the Boston Phoenix article:
At the time of this writing, six of the top 20 most popular paid e-books in the Apple App Store are Bibles. Likewise, the Washington State–based company Olive Tree’s Bible Reader is consistently one of the most downloaded free books. Users have left thousands of comments praising e-Bible serviceability; one version with a social-networking component even allows believers to search for other folks who want to chat about specific chapters. More so, it can tap a smart phone’s GPS to locate local prayer groups with similar affinities.
And it is e-Bibles that have helped push technology forward, by allowing users to seamlessly flip between scanning on an iPhone and reading on a laptop (without losing their page). Ditto the ability to switch, mid-stream, between Standard English and dozens of translations, or jump to an audio-book version, while keeping place to the sentence. Learned readers can even teleport from one particular chapter/verse in the King James Version to the same place in the New International Version. The future is now.
It is somewhat ironic that religious Christians, whose most politically aggressive, evangelical factions are vociferously anti-science, are spurring this evolution. Equally humorous is that the industry that has traditionally driven technological advancements — from luring consumers away from Betamax to VHS, to developing interactive DVDs that utilize the full-functionality of digital home cinema — has been pornography. This time around, though, Christians are the torchbearers, and so it is thus: when it comes to e-Books and the digital revolution, they shall be led by holy warriors. . . .
When it comes to designing books with a Jetsonian flair, the Bible has more than a few great advantages over every other text ever written. Unlike The Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter, the New and Old Testaments belong to the public domain, which means anyone can use or publish them anywhere and anyhow. The Bible is also the best-selling book of all time, which makes for limitless marketing and networking opportunities. . . .
These righteous developers claim to have a lot more tricks up their sleeves. Their secular programming counterparts, on the other hand, are considerably behind, and in some cases are checking e-Bibles with their jaws dropped. . . .
[M]ost experimental e-book apps, like e-Bibles, have been built around public-domain texts.
The popular iPhone app Classics — developed by Phillip Ryu, 22, and his 19-year-old partner Andrew Kaz in the former’s Brighton apartment — offers reinvented and enhanced visual versions of nearly two dozen timeless gems, including The Iliad and Dracula. Users can quickly access their favorite titles on a virtual bookshelf, and can view illustrations where available. It’s no surprise that, in previews of iBook, Apple’s soon-to-debut online bookstore shamelessly cops its aesthetic from Classics. It regularly ranks in the top 50 most popular apps in the entire Apple Store, ahead of eBay, MySpace, Shazam, and several leading flatulence simulators.