We have to admit the the current e-book solutions are as dull as a road dinners coffee. We all fantasize about solving our first-world problems related to improving the technology around us but its not every day that we find such a beautiful and well though prototype for something so apparently simple as reading a book in a digital device. I found this article on spanish design magazine Yorokobu and thought you guys would enjoy it.

The story starts with a group of creative designers from Spain, Ana MartínDarío Busto and Miguel González. They love reading and talking about what they read and they found a gat of collaborative and content related e-book readers. They gone ahead and created a prototype with Britain’s Penguin Books as their perfect customer and this is the beautiful result. There’s a detailed description of inner workings and details after the video.

So let’s get into the details…

First things first, this is the home screen the starting point for the whole experience, a content-centered space which, as Ana Martín says, its ‘feeds the craving for books’. It not only shows information about the books you have and the one you are reading at the moment, it also features branded content which is filtered by the users’ interests and friend activity. Beneath that, theres an up-to-date slider with new books, sequels and any related product you can think of.

Penguin Books digital reader home screen

Penguin Books digital reader recommended slider GIF

One of the most interesting things for the brand and the users is the being able to browse Penguin Books’ complete collection. Not only books but the books’ characters, loose chapters, etc. I personally don’t know how the writers rights come into this but hey… we can always ask!

Penguin Books digital reader search results

They’ve also done a neat job with the book covers. The creators talk about how these covers are now-a-days a simple transition step between the current books and the future of literature. I’d love to sit some day and give a bit of thought to how the future ebooks will do with their covers.

Penguin Books digital reader book covers

To create a new experience around the book covers, they start by creating a color palette for each book category

Penguin Books digital reader color palette

The covers are turned into a map where we can find a ton of information about the book at first glance:

Penguin Books digital reader covers  details explained

The width of the covers border indicates the length of the book. Sweet!

Penguin Books digital reader covers frames

Also, as the reader is thought for tablets, its entirely responsive.

Penguin Books digital reader responsive design

Here’s an example of a book collection. Notice that every book has a custom cover, different from the real physical book cover and that they each have the information about length and category.

Penguin Books digital reader collection


When we get into the details of the actual reading experience, they scrap some of the conventional characteristics and suggest gesture based interaction such as pinching for zoom.

Penguin Books digital reader zoom

Not happy with the lack of personality that a mass-produced book has now-a-days, they suggest relating the typography of the book you are reading to the story and style. For example, on Dracula, they suggest the use of Esmeralda Pro for a more goth vibe. For a more modern novel, they go with Archer. Its a lovely way to give the books a personality that matches the story. Pretty nifty, right?

Penguin Books digital reader typography

Another experience feature is the availability of numerous languages in case you are a language person and want to compare texts…

Penguin Books digital reader languages



Penguin Books digital reader dictionary

Annotations and commentaries by the author also have a room in this delightful concept app.

Penguin Books digital reader annotations and commentaries

The shopping process, as the rest of the app, is stylish and easy.

Penguin Books digital reader shopping

Penguin Books digital reader shopping special editions

Being an app that seeks to integrate the act of reading with the social aspect of modern technology, the user has a infographic profile which sums up the books the user has gone though and lets you know what your friends are up to.

Penguin Books digital reader user profile


I must admit that this is a personal favorite  of mine. The amount of time spent thinking about this app, the attention to detail and features it has makes me love my job and be so exited for the future things to come. I know I’ll revisit this post some day and then, change back to my Penguin Books digital reader on my iPad.

When the book industry is stuck, fighting about right laws and losing power day-to-day, this team of designers have had the guts to step up and shout to the world that they don’t think that the industry is dull or has no possibilities in the modern technological scene.

Great work!

Source – Yorokobu



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