Holy Scrollers!

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  February 22, 2010

"Anecdotally, we live in a hyper-literate age," says Van Buskirk. "In terms of long-format stuff, that has declined. But I honestly think that Apple's shiny new iPad can change that. Apple puts pressure on everyone; their level of design and attention to detail just makes everything so smooth and enjoyable to use. Most importantly, though, there are apps on the iPhone and the iPad that offer a level of interactivity that you're never going to get with any standard e-book format."

As it were, in a time when everyone from Apple to Barnes & Noble is searching for answers, the most convincing signs are shining down from up above. In anticipation of the iPad, e-Bible stalwarts are continuing the course they've trampled since Apple launched its App Store in July of 2008. In short: they're designing products that transcend expectations set not only by traditional texts, but by the rudimentary editions available on grayscale Nook and Kindle models. "What you've seen so far is only the beginning," says Olive Tree's Hanniger.

Those are uncharacteristically cocky words for any devout person. But this is high-tech after all, where today's trendsetter is tomorrow's troglodyte, and where e-Bible trailblazers are setting the course as smart phones and mobile devices head for inevitable market supremacy. Indeed, the world's most sophisticated book is also one of its oldest. And paperbacks and hard covers shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

Chris Faraone can be reached at cfaraone@phx.com.

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