Rebook is a 2015 capstone project for the Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) program at UC Berkeley's School of Information. It began, like so many ideas, with a simple complaint: ebooks are garbage.
After several weeks of discussion and idea generation, we arrived at the question that formed our mission:
We adopted three guiding principles for our design experiments.
Ebooks are retrofit with the creaky design metaphors of print books and distributed in inert bundles with overly restrictive DRM. We wanted to try a radically different approach. A web-first book isn't a file you download; it's an API you can tap into and build on top of.
The medium affords opportunities not only for creative use of language but also for creative deployment and manipulation of the mechanisms used to deliver them. We're enabling ebooks with flexible interfaces that support nontraditional modes of storytelling and nonlinear narratives.
It’s not about the publishers, but the writers and the readers. What's missing from their ebook experience? How can we prevent them from being locked into proprietary platforms? What sorts of tools could help writers create rich, immersive digital stories at scale?
“Authors working in a nondeterministic storytelling medium need to conceive of their stories not just as collections of words but as user experiences to be designed.”