Plant Hunters iBook for iPad

  • A botanical illustration

The Plant Hunters by Carolyn Fry is one of Kew’s best-selling print books – extensively illustrated and with pullout facsimile copies of historic letters, documents and botanical art. So it was an obvious first choice when Kew wanted to explore how it’s publishing business might exploit digital platforms.

Working with content design and creation company Somethin’ Else, we aimed to retain the title’s premium product feel, along with its premium product price. But we also wanted to see what the iPad could do for our content – stuff that we couldn’t do in print.

To achieve this, Somethin’ Else cleverly used the iBook ‘Widget’ feature – enabling pop-up functionality not normally possible with iBooks. So for example, The Plant Hunters for iPad has super-high resolution botanical drawings that users can zoom in to, diaries and sketchbooks can be flipped through and enlarged. Letters, the hand-writing of which can be hard to read, are brought to life through evocative audio recordings.