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Reinventing the Book

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Tablet computers such as Apple’s iPad and its many imitators are enabling a new industry publishing books made of binary bits not pulped trees. But what will these books be like? It is not enough simply to convert them into digital form, adding a few bells and whistles such as clips of video. Instead the whole reading experience must be redefined for the interactive medium, critically preserving and enhancing all that is wonderful about the printed word.

About the Speaker:

Dr Max Whitby is CEO of Touch Press, a publisher of interactive books based in London and Illinois. He is also a filmmaker, scientist and the founder of three successful digital media companies. He studied philosophy at Oxford University and then joined the BBC where he produced numerous Horizon and Nova documentaries. He has directed nearly a hundred films, mainly about science. Early on, he became involved in the BBC ’s pioneering Interactive Television Unit and headed a collaboration with Apple in San Francisco. In 2004 Whitby made the radical decision to train formally as a chemist, and completed a PhD at Imperial College in London. The skills he acquired have come in useful at RGB Research Ltd, his London-based scientific research and communications business. For the past seven years he has collaborated closely with Theodore Gray designing and building elaborate periodic table displays and installations around the world. Whitby is widely travelled, having filmed for the BBC , PBS and other TV companies in over 30 countries, including six memorable weeks in North Korea. He has received four BAFTA nominations and two BAFTA awards. He is passionately interested in natural history. BirdGuides Ltd, his natural history digital publishing business, runs a hugely popular website and he has personally filmed more than a thousand species of birds and insects.

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