28.01.2014
Or, “Why I wrote and designed an entire book in Pages.” The web has changed the way we read, and my new book is part of an experiment to create a new kind of print storytelling, with lessons for writers, designers, and publishers alike. My latest book, Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders, hit bookshelves this week. O’Reilly (whether you’re talking about the man or his company) has always been uniquely forward thinking about the intersection of books and technology. As Tim noted in a pair of tweets, my Best iPhone Apps book is very much modeled on The Twitter Book.
The iPhone landscape changes even faster than the twitterverse, with thousands of new apps appearing each month, a process that’s only accelerating. Some will poo-poo the physical book and prefer to stick with the free online version, following it as a daily resource or dipping in for a once-in-a-while search. These factors mean that much of the project’s success turns on the book’s design—its appeal as an object, its modularity, and the ease and speed with which it can be updated to keep up with the torrent of iPhone apps arriving daily.
What made all of this especially exciting for me personally was that this is my first-ever outing as a book designer.


Not only do the layout and application make it easy to add new apps to the book, but I tried to create a bright, gem-like design that reflects the spirit of the iPhone interface, too. In the end, it all came together in what I believe is a great combination of form and function.
I’m proud of it for lots of reasons—fun content, tight writing, colorful design, and a topic that’s at the bleeding edge of consumer computing. The typically savvy thing about O’Reilly’s latest experiment with Best iPhone Apps and others is that we’re exploring how technology affects not only form but content—the way we read and tell stories.
Best iPhone Apps is essentially a catalog, a format that’s not itself anything new in publishing. That means that updates to Best iPhone Apps, as with The Twitter Book, are necessary and inevitable.
Top: Best Apps at Work, Best Apps on the Town, Best Apps at Leisure, and Best Apps at Play. It’s a collection of bite-sized content appropriate to a collection of bite-sized mobile apps.


As I’ve written (at length), Pages is a terrific writing environment, with a combination of style and substance perfect for writing a book like Best iPhone Apps. So when Tim and Sarah Milstein wrote their terrific bestseller The Twitter Book earlier this year, they purposely embraced this approach, even writing and designing the whole book in PowerPoint for its idea-per-slide format.
Look no further than the book’s companion site, Best iPhone Apps, which trickles out a fresh review from the book every day, with content already perfectly suited to the web. It will evolve as the market of iPhone apps continues to evolve, a quarterly (for example) report on the state of the iPhone. The entire book was written and designed in Pages using a handful of page layouts, templates that are easily redeployed for new app reviews.
Pages makes this easy by letting you capture page layouts and reuse them for new pages, dragging and dropping new screenshots and icons into place for each new app.



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