Digital books offer a number of advantages over paper books. You can carry around hundreds of books in your pocket. eReaders tend to be thinner and lighter than a hardcover book. And you can search for text, share passages, or jump to any page in an eBook.
But there are still a few things that I find tough to do with an eReader or eBook app on a tablet or smartphone. For instance, when I’m reading a paper book before bed, I can always scroll through the next few pages to see if I’m near the end of a chapter before deciding to whether it’s really time to put down the book or not. Most eReaders don’t offer an easy way to do that.
Enter the Smart eBook interface prototype from KAIST Institute of Information Technology Convergence.
The team behind the prototype created an iPad app that makes reading an eBook more like reading a paper book. For instance, you can bookmark or hold a page with your thumb while flipping through following pages with another finger. In other words you can see how close you are to the end of a chapter without losing your place in a book.
The prototype also supports gestures that let you flip through multiple pages quickly by moving your finger over the edge of the screen and then holding it as pages fly past. Or you can use multi-finger gestures to turn two pages at once… or four pages or more.
Honestly, I don’t see how most of the gestures are very useful — but I do really like the idea of being able to peek ahead just a few pages at a time.