I haven’t posted in a while, but I just wanted to share a few personal ideas for how e-books (specifically those in the ePub format) can be modified for a more attractive and functional visual reader experience. I may expand this list in the future with more items.
E-books as music/video albums: The publication of audio albums online (outside of iTunes) is nowadays conducted through the distribution of compressed archives (i.e., .zip), usually containing a collection of the album’s art alongside the tracks from the album in MP3 or other audio file formats, as well as a playlist file and album notes in plain text format; alternately, this same collection is distributed through peer-to-peer file-sharing networks such as BitTorrent as a .torrent file. However, while it is the most common means of digital publication and distribution of music albums, it is absent of the visual allure associated with the physical music album. As video and audio can be embedded into an ePub document (since a ePub file is simply a zip archive of numbered XHTML pages), I think ePubs can become “visual packages” for music files, in which each MP3 is embedded into any ePub “page”, with lyrics, topical images, and perhaps the associated music video being embedded above or below the music player control bar.
“Spines” or “page frames”: I dunno if this has been tried, but a graphic “spine” or “page frame” on either side of each page would, IMO, help bring visual unity to the ebook while it is being read. The graphic would be a vector graphic image (in SVG format) in order to be as reflowable as the e-book’s text.