Last Fall when Nathan Myhrvold published the print copy of Modernist Cuisine at Home ($140), he was quick to tell media that there was no plan for a digital version or app. "To do an app version of Modernist Cuisine would be a huge amount of work and a huge pain in the ass, basically — and a huge amount of money, and really a different team," he rationalized. It appeared that the case had closed, until the Modernist Cuisine team partnered with Inkling, a digital publisher that creates interactive ebooks.
Today marks the release of the Inkling edition of Modernist Cuisine at Home, available on the iPad and iPhone. The entire volume runs for $80, but for those hesitant to take the full plunge, it's only $5 per chapter. This is no PDF flip-through version of the book, folks. The ebook version just might exceed the print copy in terms of aesthetic and functionality. We're talking a clear, simplified design and and an intuitive user experience. If you're still on the fence as to whether or not to invest in the digital copy, here are 10 app features that might sway you and a few grievances to be aware of.
Intuitive, Fluid Design
The app's design requires almost no training to understand its key functions and organization. While iBooks require swiping horizontally to turn the page, the Modernist Cuisine app sets up the chapters so the user can scroll down the page organically, like with a news story found online. Swiping horizontally to the right returns the user to the list of contents to quickly navigate to different sections of the book. For those who own both an iPad and an iPhone, the designs differ slightly for the best experience on each screen, plus the app does sync across devices, so the reader can always pick up where he or she left off.