In rock climbing, there’s a maneuver called a “dyno”: When climbers are too far from the nearest hold above, they plant their feet, let go of the rock, and leap upward. It sounds straightforward, but when developers at publisher Globe Pequot Press created a digital version of the book How to Rock Climb!, they struggled to improve on the static illustration of the dyno. Last May, however, using tools made by software developer and e-book seller Inkling, they were able to make the move come to life with an animated sequence of still photos.
Most magazines and newspapers have created tablet apps with slideshows and videos. But book publishers haven’t been able to capitalize on interactive capabilities because software made by Amazon.com and Apple doesn’t support much embedded multimedia and can be complicated for developers to use. Many heavily illustrated—and expensive—books are put on devices with little thought to enhancing or animating graphics, illustrations, or instructions.