Technical Book Review: Universalcode

March 10, 2013

These days I am reading the German book Universalcode - “Journalismus im digitalen Zeitalter” (journalism in a digital age). On 580 pages it contains articles by many journalists, working for some of the major German publications.


All in all it is a pretty interesting read. Especially for me, as I am dealing with online articles at work daily, so learning more about the creative process that goes into them is quite exciting.

While I don’t qualify to comment on the content on the book, I am a technologist, and therefore have a couple of ideas about how the digital edition of the book - which I bought - could be improved.

Do not use for ebooks

Unrelated to the actual technical book review, and therefore separate: Do not use for ebooks.

First of all, buying the book at and getting it to run on my iPad was a rather painful experience. The format of the ebook was .acsm, a digital rights management format by Adobe. To make that work on the iPad, I need a new reader - I chose Bluefire Reader - that can handle that format. My conclusion for the next buy: Don’t use for ebooks, checkout the iBooks bookstore first!

Question: Does anybody have the ebook from iBooks? I am wondering if my review below would actually look different, had I not bought the book from

Technical Book Review

Now to the technical review of the digital version of this book:


The digital version of this book costs about 20 EUR. Almost too much, when what I am getting is more like a PDF with a list of articles.

My recommendation: Practice what you preach! Take the digital version of this book, and make it an example of great digital publishing!

I just saw that there is a crowdfunding initiative with the working title Universalcode 2 - a potential success of this book. Maybe some of these hints here are helpful for that as well.