June 9, 2014 Last Updated 10:18 am

The Mozart Project shows off the power of iBA in the hands of an imaginative publishing team

Books on Monday: each Monday TNM looks at books and book publishing – either a new book on the publishing industry, a new digital book release, or industry news


Although limited in its use due to its lack of iPhone and cross-platform support, iBooks Author has proved to be a powerful publishing tool in the right hands. Probably (no, certainly), the best work using the publishing application is coming out of the UK. There, at Octopus Books, the great eBook edition of The World Atlas of Wine was produced. And now, from first-time publishers Harry Farnham and James Fairclough, comes The Mozart Project, a new interactive eBook that has gotten raves from everyone who has reviewed it.

TMP-video-screenThe book is currently priced at £4.99 in the UK iBooks Store (so go grab it), though it is $14.99 in the US store. It is also being featured on the front of the UK iBooks Store, but is only to be found in the Made for iBooks section of the US store – such is the relentlessly commercial concerns of the US App Store team at Apple.

The Mozart Project is interesting on so many levels. From a reader perspective, the book contains 3 hours of music, tons of video content, audio files in abundance, plus smart commentary and narrative. Coming in at 215 pages, the book’s multimedia content forces the book to cross the 1GB threshold, which means any casual reader will want to archive the book rather than keep in on their iPad (though this shouldn’t be as big an issue for those who use their Mac to read iBooks). But it is unlikely any lover of Mozart will ever want to be without The Mozart Project handy.

From the perspective of an eBook design who has not worked extensively with iBA, and is not designing a complex textbook filled with HTML animations, The Mozart Project may be the best example to review before beginning work.

TMP-iPad-authorsThe publishing team of James Fairclough and Harry Farnham have been backed by the film composer George Fenton in the formation of Pipedream Media.

Fairclough, before forming the new company, was a developer at Simon Cowell’s SycoTV, researching and developing app ideas, solo filming and directing promotional films, according to the website biography. Fairclough appears to be the content guy, the one who brings in authors and contributors and dealing with editorial matters.

Farnham is the head of production, and has a background in documentary filmmaking – something apparent in the high quality video found inside this project.

“We believe that there is currently a new dawn in publishing, and that in the digital space there are hugely exciting opportunities for both the reader and the publish,” the new publishing company’s website says. “The ability to create bespoke and intuitive books that go far and beyond what a printed book could ever do, inspires us to try and take well trodden subjects in a completely new direction.”

Like many, the new publishing team sees the release of iBooks Author as an excellent tool to utilize when creating interactive books.

“We got excited by the free software templates that Apple offer for ebooks and the more we thought about it, the more he seemed the obvious choice for a subject,” Farnham told UK newspaper The Telegraph.

“We believe that the iPad is the machine that Willy Wonka would have invented if he was a publisher,” the publishing due write inside the new eBook. “Every curious need or direction can be satisfied and explored in ways which are limited only by imagination. With interactive books, the relationship between reader and content could become much more visceral and personal than ever before. We very quickly decided that we had to be involved. The wealth of creative possibilities was too alluring.”

Here is a brief walk-though of the new eBook (this video may be blocked in certain countries due to Google’s system, we’re working to correct that). To go a little deeper into the book, including a gallery of screenshots, continue reading here ➔

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