Innodata developed custom eReader app and content platform, for customers to view, download, and customize their purchased eBooks on any mobile device.
Our client is a major US distributor of textbook and digital learning materials, with services including wholesale, bookstore systems, virtual retail, and consumer websites. They are the country’s largest provider of new and used textbook content in higher education, and are consistently regarded as the industry leader in their field.
The client hitherto was a traditional learning material distributor, acting as an intermediary in the supply chain between publishers and students. Recognizing the paradigm shift in the way customers consume books, aided by the advancements in web technologies and digital content distribution, they added online textbook content availability to their strategic goals.
The client’s vision was to develop a web based eReader platform to target digital learners, and distribute etextbooks. The platform would be multi-featured, for example providing a secure space where customers can view all of their purchased content, with their own customizations. The vision was then further extended to support mobile and tablet consumption of content, beginning with iOS compatible devices, and more recently Android devices.
Innodata has broad experience in developing eReaders, as well as content for eReaders, and with this knowledge we helped our client fulfill their vision. Our work started using a solution visualization approach, we worked with the client firstly with a focus on developing the user experience and design, with low fidelity mockups through to high fidelity HTML wireframes.
Following the user experience design, we then designed and developed a set of features that were to be made available to customers through a browser view of content, or custom eReader apps on Apple and Android devices. Some of the key design considerations included:
• A bookshelf (library view) with lists of books purchased or available for purchase.
• An eReader itself, optimized for learning content.
• Features for user generated content, such as highlights, bookmarks, and custom notes.
• Free text search within content, including resources, figures, and notes.
• Pop-up view of resources (other media related to the book) and figures (images present within the book).
• A Google Chrome offline eReader to access books when not connected to the internet – with DRM.
At a high-level, the solution comprised a three tier architecture of:
• Presentation layer developed using Google Web Toolkit (GWT) and the iOS and Android development
• Business logic layer developed using Java / J2EE, enabling development of customizable components to fulfil the
functionalities and features required in the eReader.
• A content store and database layer using MarkLogic Server.
The solution featured a set of custom services, which can be utilized by an authorized publisher to enable the bookshelf. This utilized the concept of white labeling, with template-driven UI components, enabling a customized look and feel to meet client publishers’ branding needs.
All the eBooks available are DRM protected, allowing content owners to set parameters for content usage (such as limits to copying or download), as well as analytics for publishers to view usage, browsing, and other statistics.
The key benefits of the newly developed eReader and platform include:
• Access textbooks anywhere, anytime – on iOS, Android, and online.
• A platform with a customized look and feel for publishers.
• Reduced time to market, with the whole of process of search, purchasing, and download a book is within the eReader.
• Books protected with digital rights management.