Why the Net matters

Why the Net matters by David Eagleman

Groundbreaking iPad-Only Book Released Today By David Eagleman, Neuroscientist And Bestselling Author

Canongate announces the release of a groundbreaking app-only book from bestselling author David Eagleman, WHY THE NET MATTERS: HOW THE INTERNET WILL SAVE CIVILIZATION. A brand new way to experience narrative non-fiction, it is only available on the iPad.

Why have societies before us collapsed? Do we face the same fate? In this app, David Eagleman (author of international bestseller SUM) proposes that the invention of the internet averts the major existential threats that brought down those before us. By demonstrating how the net can contend with epidemics, natural disasters, tyranny, energy depletion and other maladies, Eagleman shows how our existential equations have changed forever.

The app allows the user to access each chapter at random using a unique navigational interface. Once in a chapter you can ‘zoom out’ to see where you are in the course of the argument, and to see how far you have progressed through the content. The interface also enables the user to ‘drill down’ into key terms to get more detail on concepts and entities. Each chapter richly weaves the text images, videos, webpages and interactive 3D models. The visuals can be enjoyed alone by sweeping aside the text with one click.

Readable in portrait or landscape, the app leverages all the functionality familiar from iBooks such as page swiping and a bottom navigational bar, but re-configures it into a new experience that brings the content alive. David Eagleman has spent years researching this topic and plans to release regular updates so that the content will dynamically evolve with new world events.

Published by Canongate Books Ltd and developed by PopLeaf, WHY THE NET MATTERS is available worldwide to iPad users.

David Eagleman says: “There are several books about the net and what it means for us right now–for example, The Shallows. But there are none that address what the net means for our survival as a civilization, on a time scale of centuries.

“To tell this story I wanted to take advantage of the affordances of our best technology. I wanted to invent a new way to navigate a non-fiction argument. So the app employs random-access chapters, interactive 3D figures, and a bird’s eye view of your place in the narrative. If we’ve done our job correctly, I think this represents a new species of book.”

Dan Franklin, digital editor at Canongate, says: ‘Now that digital reading is accepted and growing more commonplace it’s important that digital futurists don’t run off and leave the average reader standing. I think what we’ve developed with David is a big step forward, offering a tailor-made experience for the iPad – random-access navigation, drilldowns, chunks of text with photographs, videos and interactive 3D images – without losing the reader in the process. This was a case of taking an exciting piece of technology, the iPad, and innovating on it to best express the subject matter. This will be an evolving work so look out for future versions.’