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Brief Published: 12 Feb 2016

Google Explores E-Books for Mobile Devices

Google's Editions At Play

Google Creative Lab has released a series of e-books that experiment with mobile-native formats. Created with London-based publisher Visual Editions, Editions at Play is a digital store for "books that cannot be printed". According to the Creative Lab's blog, the goal is to create publications that change dynamically on mobile devices.

Launching with two initial titles, The Truth About Cats & Dogs by Joe Dunthorne and Sam Riviere invites readers to choose a side, while Entrances & Exits by Reif Larsen lives on Google Street View. Readers navigate the map interface to discover the love story unfolding behind closed doors on everyday streets. Both titles run live on mobile browsers, as opposed to closed app environments.

Tom Uglow, creative director at Google Creative Lab, elaborated: "Books in Editions at Play... abide by the principles that books must be envisioned as 'mobile-first', have pages and use the dynamic qualities of the interweb." Changing consumer behaviour supports this focus on mobile – in 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that 54% of e-book buyers now read on their smartphones, compared to 24% in 2012.

We noted the importance of mobile-native content formats in The Value of Vertical Video, as video currently accounts for 55% of global mobile usage (Cisco, 2015). With readers also moving to their smartphones, Google anticipates similar shifts for book formats. For more on content delivery on mobile, see State of Mobile: Winter 2016 and Location-Based Mobile Marketing.