FRESH from winning awards for a road safety interactive electronic book, PHMD Publishing is setting its sights on becoming the country's leading producer of e-books in the near future.
A project manager at PHMD Publishing said the company is looking to produce more multimedia-enriched digital books for the domestic and global markets following the launch of its road safety ebook for the Ministry of Communications last Saturday.
With a view that ebooks will be the preferred medium for future generation of readers, Ak Mohd Khairi Pg Hj Metussin, the firm's project manager, said the company is moving towards the digital front in the hopes of becoming the local pioneer in interactive ebooks.
The company is best known for publishing the book Business Icons last year, as well as more than 70 local books for the Language and Literature Bureau.
"Physical books aren't going anywhere anytime soon, but the growing popularity of e-books, thanks to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, has become a goldmine which we certainly do not want to miss out on," he said.
The Road Safety Interactive Ebook, which won two awards at this year's Brunei ICT Awards (ICT) for best 'Made-in-Brunei' product and a merit award in the eLearning category, is just the first of many interactive ebooks to come from PHMD during its tenure at the iCentre since joining two months ago.
The e-book will be available in ePub format for Apple's iPad platform, which enhances the reader's reading experience with animations and interactive quizzes.
The firm collaborated with the Ministry of Communications for the project as part of the ministry's national road safety education campaign.
"This interactive e-book was mainly designed to help the ministry's National Road Safety Council improve its approach towards road safety education, particularly in schools. This e-book will be utilised in classrooms, where teachers can engage with their pupils on the importance of road safety via an iPad," he said.
He revealed that the e-book is the first of its kind in the domestic market, and the company plans to file a patent in hopes of marketing it overseas.
"We designed the e-book in such a way that it is actually applicable in any country, so we can license it to foreign markets, and only make localisation changes to the product while leaving the core components intact," he said.
The team is now hard at work producing additional interactive educational e-books which the firm hopes to release by the end of the year.
"The challenge in producing digital books is that, because there's now so many possibilities to make the books more interactive, we need to fulfill growing expectations from the market. Consumers want to get more out of their purchases to justify getting a digital copy over a physical one," said Ak Mohd Khairi.
Ak Mohd Khairi said producing digital books is a lot more challenging than traditional textbooks and requires his team to possess complex programming and creative multimedia skills.
He also said that his incubation at the iCentre allows him to leverage on the Brunei Economic Development Board's available support schemes, in which he hopes to secure a grant for his project development.
The Brunei Times
Saturday, July 21, 2012
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