Alice on the iPad: Is This the Future of Books?

I don’t have an iPad, but watching this amazing video (embedded below) demonstrating the Alice in Wonderland app made me want to run out and get one — and if I had a young child, it would make me want to get one even faster. I know that many people believe reading should be a quiet and relaxing activity, and that there’s nothing quite like communing with the pages of a well-read classic, but this video makes reading “Alice in Wonderland” look like…well, it looks like a lot of fun. And I have a feeling if Charles Lutwidge Dodson (i.e., Lewis Carroll) could see his story represented like this, he would probably think it was kind of fun as well.

The app comes from Atomic Antelope, which makes iPhone apps, including one called Bauble that lets you turn your iPhone into the world’s most expensive Christmas card. The Alice app brings an interactive element to the pages of this children’s classic, with features that are based on the original illustrations and allow readers to stretch Alice’s body when she comes to the table with the “Drink Me” bottle, to throw tarts at the Queen of Hearts and watch them bounce off her, and to rock the baby that turns into a pig. The app costs $8.99, although there’s also a free “lite” version. Chris Stevens, one half of Atomic Antelope, wrote about creating the app here.

So is this the future of e-books — every book its own app? It’s certainly a great example of the kind of full-color and interactivity and motion (using the accelerometer) that isn’t possible on other e-readers. These kinds of apps could certainly help the tablet app market hit the $8 billion-mark that GigaOM Pro analyst Mike Wolf forecast it would in a recent report on the sector (sub req’d). It’s also a sign of the creativity that traditional publishers seem to lack, as they try to maintain their traditional stranglehold on book prices in the online world, as Paul Sweeting detailed in this recent GigaOM Pro analysis. Now I’m trying to imagine what a Dr. Seuss book would look like as an iPad app.


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