The Sonnets by William Shakespeare for iPad, a collaboration by Touch Press, Illuminations, Faber and Faber and The Arden Shakespeare, is available from the Apple iTunes store today. The ambitious project features:
• Specially filmed performances of all 154 sonnets by a stellar cast including
Sir Patrick Stewart, Kim Cattrall, David Tennant, Simon Russell Beale, Dominic West,
Siân Phillips, Fiona Shaw, Dame Harriet Walter, Simon Callow, Stephen Fry, and poets
Don Paterson and Sir Andrew Motion.
• The complete Arden Shakespeare text of the Sonnets, including all annotations and
critical apparatus, automatically synchronised with the readings line by line.
• Extended interviews with leading scholars including Professors Katherine Duncan-Jones,
James Shapiro and Henry Woudhuysen.
• Reading Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A New Commentary by Don Paterson.
• A facsimile of the 1609 quarto showing Shakespeare’s Sonnets as first published.
• Readers can write their own notes and share sonnets via Twitter, Facebook and email.
• AirPlay enabled, allowing the performances to be streamed full screen to AppleTV.
The performers are:
Oliver Ford Davies
Simon Russell Beale
Sir Patrick Stewart
David Tennant reads four sonnets, including number 18 ‘Shall I compare these to a summer’s day’.
Fiona Barclay from Touch Press, talking about the publication at the Appside Publishing Apps event in London earlier this week made much of the way that the app works with social networking – the sonnets can be taken from the app and emailed or Tweeted to friends or shared via Facebook
“That’s all part of the marketing.” she said. “We’ve taken each and every sonnet and made a webpage, and you can view each and every sonnet that you’re going to pay £9.99 for in the app, and you can view it and share it… A lot of the content in the app is freely available.”
The idea is that it is an experiment: rather than cannibalising sales, this will actually drive them.
So far media folks lucky enough to have had a sneak peak at the new interactive book have all had great things to say. Robert Collins in the Sunday Times said of the project “A masterly app … It’s all so intuitively easy to use and so superbly thorough that you start to feel that this is precisely what a book should be. As accessible as it is scholarly, it’s an extraordinary achievement, that brings the sonnets bracingly to life and definitively sets the bar for the future of digital reading.”
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare for iPad will be released worldwide on 28th June 2012
and available from the iTunes App Store priced at £9.99 (US $13.99) itunes.com/appstore.
The complete set of 154 video performances will also be available on Region 0 PAL DVD from Illuminations in July – pre-order now
For more information and to view preview clips and more screenshots from the app visit the Touch Press website.