December 4, 2014 Last Updated 2:55 pm

Books as apps: Ubicuo Studio launches new app for the work of photographer Claudia Jaguaribe

Photo essay on the city of São Paulo highlights the advantages of using the app platform, rather than the standard eBook platform, when creating unique publishing projects

The announcement last week by Adobe that it would end its free Single Edition app benefit for Creative Cloud members kind of took the winds out of our sales here at TNM. We had asked Adobe to write up a feature story for the relaunch issue of App Publisher on how a publisher could use InDesign to create both an eBook app as well as a fixed layout ePUB eBook.

The end of the Single Edition program for CC members was certainly a blow for book apps, and one can understand why Adobe wants to move eBook publishers towards fixed layout ePUBs – that is the direction Apple wants publishers to go, too.

But the eBook app format is greatly misunderstood by both companies. The reason to create an app for a “book” is because the app format gives publishers and developers more freedom to do things just not possible in the standard eBook formats.


An early example of this are the apps that came from Joe Zeff Design such as Above & Beyond: George Steinmetz, a photography book app released (or launched, as that is the term used for apps) in April of 2011.

Another example, one from last year, is The Afronauts, Cristina De Middel, created by Ubicuo Studio.

Ubicuo Studio was founded by Maria Cerezo and Emma Llensa, who were the founders of Atem Books in 2010, as well as the online art publication Carpaccio Magazine. I know that because that is what I wrote on the old TNM website last year. I can’t keep track of all the apps I write about, let alone download, unless reminded of it by someone – and that is what Emma Llensa did today when she informed me that they had released a brand new book app.

Sobre São Paulo_Entrevistas features the photography of Claudia Jaguaribe and is described in the app description as “an immersion into the city of SãoPaulo created by the the junction of two photo essays, About São Paulo and Interviews.”

This is the kind of work that can be described as a book, as an app, as something unique. Ubicuo Studio may have chosen the app format because this is what they are good at, or because this is the most appropriate way to present the work of the photographer.

The app is free to download and access and I would encourage those at Adobe and Apple who so want to cut off this type of work to look at Sobre São Paulo_Entrevistas and decide for themselves if they really want to put up barriers to this new form of book publishing.

SaoP-2This post, I must add, should really have been published hours ago. But I was stopped from completing the post by the fact that I could not adequately show how this new app really looks when opened. I first captured the opening as a video, then attempted to create a high-quality animated GIF. But because motion in an app is so much smoother than can be shown in a GIF, I needed to create an Edge animation.

But I quickly learned when attempting to upload the OAM file to the website that the latest Adobe update to Edge Animate has broken the program for websites that previously used the Edge Suite plug-in (the result is that I used the poor quality GIF above). It has something to do with the preload.js file – something I’m sure you don’t care about, by web publishers do.

Why Adobe would do something like this is beyond me, but this it is no longer a surprise. That tech companies would be so isolated from their users that they do not understand what the consequences are when they update a program no longer shocks me. That Adobe will be driving me to try Tumult Hype to create animations (which looks like a pain in the neck), and publishers to use something other than CC to build their book apps, seems like a rather odd business decision.

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