3D ebooks

In recent years the film industry has gone 3D mad, and now ebooks are getting the same treatment.  A Dublin based company called Ideal Binary have, over the last year, been developing 3D ebook apps that work with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.  Their first 3D ebook app was their “3D Classical Literature collection”, which contains a number of out-of-copyright classical works e.g. Dracula, Emma etc.  You can download this for £0.59 from the app store or try their “Sherlock Holmes – 3D Classical Literature” collection for free.   These two apps are quite similar to other eBook apps, only the turning of the pages feels slightly more realistic.  

Their new app, which you can find on the App store by searching for “Grimm’s rumpelstiltskin – 3d interactive”, and costs £1.19, is far more exciting.  The new app tells this story by having a couple of pages of the text of the book, followed by a double page 3D pop up which you can interact with in order to see thought bubbles, turn wheels and light candles.  This could be a great way of encouraging reading and play between a parent and child.  I would argue that these books are not fully 3D, as the characters were obviously 2D in design.    These apps could have done with a little more interaction and movement, and hopefully this company will develop their ebooks to bring in more of those elements in the future. 

I’m more excited about the possibilities for this in a wider setting, for example etextbooks that allow a student to interact on certain pages with 3D objects so that they can learn via play and exploration but available on devices that you can fit into your pockets and use offline.  I hope developers in this area keep libraries in mind and consider how we could loan such items to our users.  

You can find an interview with Ideal Binary at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2010/nov/24/ideal-binary-ireland-elevator-pitch

Post by : Lisa Anderson

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