reality blog

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Jan
09

Geo-locations in eBooks – Now your books can travel (Literally!)

As an avid reader I have always traveled places that the authors describe so well in their books – from exotic locations to claustrophobic spaces. Books have made us travel to worlds that are unknown to us and only exist in fairy-tales. However, modern day technologies and digital publishing (with some help from google :) can now actually take us for virtual tours to beautiful locations.

Geo location helps the reader to land virtually on the location by just tapping the screen of the tablet device with the help of Google maps. The latest ePub formats allow publishers to insert geo-location features in eBooks. With the help of these features, we can make calls to Google maps to view the exact satellite imagery of the locations described in the books. Street view options make the entire experience extremely delightful. These features open new horizons to travel, heritage, arts, coffee table book genres.

Geo Location feature actually makes an eBook more interactive and appealing. The reader gets information in a better way and makes browsing a book more exciting. The reader gets more out of the reading experience and the publisher gets an opportunity to present the book in a more “tech” way.

This Google map feature in eBooks can also help publishers to adapt the content on the basis of location of the reader. It’s similar to Google search results based on the location of the user. The location consists of 2 points- latitude & longitude. On this the software works. This information can be used by the eBook to give more information to the user like nearby Theatres, eating points, businesses and so on. This feature is highly beneficial to publishers of :-

Travel guides / Adventure Books,
Restaurant guides,
Textbooks,
Atlases
Yellow Pages Directory
Magazines
Books related to Art, History,  Heritage, Culture etc

Geo-location in text books and Atlases will make learning a wonderful experience for children.   They can see what actually their position on this round earth is. How far is Canada from my home? Where does river Nile flow on the world? Where did Alexander live? And so on.  Children love interactive learning and this feature make the book more attractive. Students can also use this feature to make their research work, thesis, white paper more engaging.

The Geo-location feature helps businesses also by means of providing this feature in the e version of magazines and directories. The advertisement placed in the magazines and directories can virtually land the reader to the store location / office by tapping the screen. He can see the distance of the store from his present location and one can understand the route also.

Similar benefits will accrue to publishers of travel books, Art and culture books etc. The travelers can flip through the guide and click on the places that interest them and view the location on their hand held device. This actually simplifies trip planning and touring.Major Travel book publisher, Lonely Planet has come with a new series called “Discover eBooks” where the publisher has made wonderful use of the Google map feature by integrating it in its Travel books.

However, Geo locations till last year was supported only by Apple’s Fixed format which is compatible with iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. With HTML5, which will be supported by both ePub 3 and KF 8 , Publishers can explore many new applications of geo-locations in eBooks on all devices including Kindle.

We recently worked on a Coffee Table eBook on the wonderful land of Rajasthan in India. Choosing the photographs was one of the important tasks in this coffee Table book.  We tried to include the famous architectural heritages of Rajasthan in our eBook. This book includes geo-locations features along with pop-up texts – perfectly suited for a great reading experience on the iPad. I have attached a copy of this eBook which can be downloaded free from here.
We will be pleased to get your feedback on our work.


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