E-Books on the Web

There’s been a lot of talk about e-books as APIs, or e-books as living on the web (web books).

It’s an interesting concept, and there are some great arguments for it. Regarding e-books as APIs, Hugh McGuire made the argument that books already contain data, so publishers should make that data available to readers. Data can include information about persons, places, and things–similar to what Small Demons does.

Dave Bricker made also made an excellent argument that the Internet is open, and easy to update, and it should be easy to update books. The web is also now using HTML5 and CSS3, same as EPUB3, so it’d be a fairly easy switch (plus the web would have fewer restrictions). Books as websites can be more integrated with other content, can now have offline reading (thanks to HTML5), easy search, and lots of rich media.

Both WordPress, with its new forking abilities, and Pressbooks, a system for creating e-books built on WordPress, makes it really easy to create web books and curate content. (Also see my post, “New Ways to Read” for examples of interactive digital content.)

What do you think? Are web books better than e-books? Let me know in the comments!

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