First it was eBooks, then an online store for multimedia, now the Northern European BBT has released Bhagavad-gita as it is, the App.
The App is currently available for iPad and iPhone, with an Android version being planned. It contains the full text of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita as it is. You can make notes, use bookmarks and adjust the screen brightness, as well as use day and night themes. You can adjust the font type and size, search the text to find what you need and choose between scrolling or swiping pages.
You can download the App in the Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bhagavad-gita-as-it-is/id1080562426.
ISKCON News spoke to Kaisori Devi Dasi and Hare Krishna Dasa to find out how the NE BBT went from printed books to the digital world.
“Kaisori Devi Dasi said “A lot of the credit goes to the Trustee of the NE BBT, Brahma Muhurta Dasa. He encourages an atmosphere where developments like this can take place. Our web site, bbtmedia.com has grown to include eBooks, audiobooks, podcasts and music, and we want to see it grow to cover a wider range of digital media.”
So how did the foray into digital media begin? “It was when people began approaching us asking why we didn’t produce eBooks,” Hare Krishna Dasa said. “So, we began to produce as many as possible, then we made the web site to host them. At some point, it became quite obvious that we should produce Apps, it was the next natural step.”
“After we decided to make an App I looked for the tools and technology we would need,” Hare Krishna said. “Apple provides free tools that are very easy to work with, so that’s why I ended up starting with the IOS format,” He said.
“One day I took an eBook, it was the French version of Nectar of Instruction, I ran it through the App software and it produced an App immediately,” he said. “Straight away I saw we could publish something like this.”
After refining how the App would work Hare Krishna started to work on producing the Bhagavad-gita. “We see this App as the beta version,” he said. “We want to work on improving the presentation, making it faster and more reliable.”
“When you start with an App it is best to keep things as simple as possible. Patiently working on adding more features is the right approach,” he said.
Kaisori Devi Dasi said “within the App you can contact us and tell us what you think. We are interested in engaging with people about where we can take this. We don’t want people to think of us as just a publisher, we want them to come along on the journey with us,” she said.
“We are also interested in languages,” Kaisori said. “At NE BBT we manage texts in over 50 languages. An App is a perfect way to deal with that. When we publish a book it can only be in one language, but this App already has two, Russian and English. We intend to add more languages. We can have one App that can be used in many different countries.”
App development has had an influence on the NE BBT production processes. For each text they have a set of files formatted for publishing hard copy books, and a set of files formatted for publishing eBooks. Rather than develop further additional formats for Apps and other multimedia, Hare Krishna Dasa and the team are working on creating a single source format that can be used for books as well as multimedia applications.
“We are working on getting the data under control,” Hare Krishna said.” We want the text to be as reliable and authentic as possible. That way we have a stable basis to move forward and make more Apps.”
You can look forward to seeing more Apps based on Srila Prabhupada’s books in the future.[ bbt ] [ bhagavad-gita ]