Penguin Looking to Reinvent eBooks on iPad With Interactive Media

paidContent:UK reported earlier this week on a presentation from Penguin Books CEO John Makinson showing his company's vision for the future of eBooks on the iPad. Makinson's presentation highlighted Penguin's goal of embedding interactive content such as audio and video into its eBooks, as well as the inclusion of even more advanced features such as chats between readers.

Interestingly, Penguin is even looking to push things beyond what the EPUB format used for Apple's iBookstore can support, meaning that the company is planning to launch much of its content as applications rather than eBooks. It is unclear how that strategy will mesh with Apple's plans for its centralized iBookstore.

"We will be embedding audio, video and streaming in to everything we do. The .epub format, which is the standard for ebooks at the present, is designed to support traditional narrative text, but not this cool stuff that we're now talking about.

"So for the time being at least we'll be creating a lot of our content as applications, for sale on app stores and HTML, rather than in ebooks. The definition of the book itself is up for grabs."

In addressing Penguin's relationships with Apple and other eBook distributors, Makinson noted that the 30% revenue sharing split with distributors pushed by Apple as an extension of its existing App Store is better than the 50% split seen for print agencies, indicating that his company is happy with the arrangements. That happiness apparently has not stopped book publishers from noting that it could be argued that Apple should have to pay them for content based on its need to drive device sales, although that tactic has obviously not worked.

A video of the demo played during Makinson's presentation has also been posted.

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