iPad and the Multimedia Book
Touch Press has teamed with the publishing house Faber & Faber to create an iPad app devoted entirely to T.S. Eliot’s 1922 poem “The Waste Land.” Touch Press, which has created two other multimedia book apps before, Gems and Jewels, and the award-winning Solar System app, describes its vision thusly:
Books are one of the great defining inventions of our civilization—and today they are poised for a revolution. Our goal is to create a new kind of book that makes use of emerging consumer platforms such as iPad, as well as the latest computation capabilities and high-performance visual media. We believe that we now have the capability to redefine the book, reinvent publishing, and forever transform the act of reading.
And the app for T.S. Eliot’s “Waste Land” attempts to make that vision a reality. A review in the New York Times describes the unique features that the app can provide to the original text:
A touch here takes you to video commentaries, a touch there takes you to a gallery of photos meant to illustrate the poem. Another touch guides you to voices reading the whole poem aloud, including Eliot the poet and Viggo Mortensen, the “Lord of the Rings” star. There is also a video of Fiona Shaw, the Irish actress, “performing” it. The real achievement here is to make “The Waste Land” feel published — to let you feel, when you are reading Eliot’s text, that you have a well-printed book in hand, lacking only the material feel of paper itself.