A Must-Have ‘On the Road’ iPad Book App?
Travel Blog • Jim Benning • 06.23.11 | 2:18 PM ET
Sounds like it. Penguin published an iPad book app for Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” this week, and it’s being hailed as somewhat groundbreaking, at least as far as classic literature apps go. It features a slew of exclusive additional material, including a map, commentary, a slideshow of cover art from international editions, and tributes from Bob Dylan and others.
The decision to bring out “On the Road” as an app has a lot to do with this iconic status, explains Stephen Morrison, editor in chief of Penguin Books, reached this week by phone at his Manhattan office. “We were looking for a book with enough resonance,” Morrison says, “as well as enough supplemental material from which we could learn how to curate a literary app.”
The key word there is “learn,” which is what all of us, publishers and writers and readers, must do now as the publishing industry increasingly comes to terms with the digital age. We need to learn how to use the digital space as a vessel, as a container, how to produce and interact with apps and electronic texts that feel like books, yet also reflect the possibilities of technology.