German author launches multi-media ebook "Libroid"

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - A German author has come up with a new kind of reading experience -- a “libroid”.

Juergen Neffe is promoting a new digital multi-media format for reading -- an ebook with no beginning and no end that is filled with accompanying information that readers can click on if they want more details.

“There will be round books -- endless texts which have no beginning and no end,” he said at a recent presentation for his libroid in Berlin.

There is more to the libroid than the author’s original text, which appears in the centre of the screen.

Columns on either side fill readers in on the text’s finer details -- they contain relevant photos, maps, diagrams, notes, selected links and related books, all of which move with the text.

“If you’re reading and realise you don’t know where Timbuktu is or why Nietzsche and Wagner fell out, you can find the answer straight away by just looking left or right,” Neffe said.

The “libroid” has no pages and therefore no page numbers -- readers keep track of their progress with the percentage of the text they have already read. Authors can add to the text whenever they want.

“Some authors will write round books with endless stories without a beginning or end,” Neffe added.

Polyglots will be able to switch the language in which they are reading, mid-sentence.

The libroid will enable authors to publish their texts independently, while readers will be able to exchange information and discuss the text they are reading with others from across the globe, Neffe said.

Libroids will be available later in October at a cost of 7.99 euros ($11).

Editing by Steve Addison