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 bol.de for ebooks
Unrelated to the actual technical book review, and therefore separate: Do not use bol.de for ebooks.
First of all, buying the book at bol.de 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 bol.de 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 bol.de.
Technical Book Review
Now to the technical review of the digital version of this book:
The formatting of the book is rather minimal. Really just paragraphs, section titles, and bullet points. From time to time some italics, even bold or underlined text isn’t used much.
The book contains no graphics whatsoever. Meaning neither any data visualization (like charts etc) or any other sort of imagery.
I read three articles so far and have already spotted a handful of errors of various sorts. Definitely more than I would usually expect in a book, after proofreading and quality control.
The book rarely uses direct links to websites or similar. Additional multimedia material does not seem to be available either. The book’s website abzv-universalcode.de has some content but the relation between website and book isn’t quite clear.
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.