Hitting the iPad App Store this week is Atlas Shrugged in an “Amplified Edition,” which means all types of bells and whistles for the tech-minded Objectivist out there. Ayn Rand’s magnum opus joins the small group of literary titles getting an electronic makeover: Pillars of the Earth was the first, and not so successful; then came The Waste land, which was crammed with additional content and received great reviews; then Kerouac’s On the Road became Penguin’s second foray into the amplified books market.
Penguin’s latest is Atlas Shrugged, priced at $14.99. Its foundation is the unabridged text, but on top of that you get a copy of Rand’s original manuscript, complete with her notes, an illustrated timeline of the author’s life, a photo gallery of Rand, and a quote sharing function that allows users to share their favorite passages to Facebook, Twitter and email. Also, you basically get Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Objectivism (But Were Afraid To Ask) in the form of Rand audio/video clips and lectures discussing topics from the book, others discussing topics from the book, as well as a Q&A on Objectivism and an outline of its principles.
What’s yet to be seen is if any literary work can be translated to the iPad as successfully as The Waste Land. Eliot’s poem was a perfect fit for tablets because it allowed readers to parse the text line-by-line, at their own pace, unearthing the meaning of the poem’s many references and allusions through accessing the app’s comprehensive notes. The app also had a complete audio reading of the poem, so users could follow along like toddlers and be soothed by its beauty.
Atlas Shrugged certainly lends itself to this platform considering its passionate followers, but the market is still up in the air. We’ll see if Shruggers can solidify that a bit and pony up for the app.