My new favourite app might just be the future of non-fiction publishing

If I was to ask the majority of you ‘who’s da man?’  you would probably just stare blankly at me, probably wondering to yourself if I’d gone mental. Some of you however would immediately respond ‘Zlatan’! 


Zlatan Ibrahimovic of course! You haven’t heard of him? Well, he’s barely known in the UK but he’s the most successful domestic footballer in the noughties, winning 8 straight domestic league titles in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. He’s also captain of the Swedish national side. Now, Zlatan is a ‘marmite’ footballer in the sense that those who love him adore him and those who don’t, loathe him. He’s also become quite famous for kicking his own teammates in the head, causing mass disruption at Barcelona and for shutting down Stockholm airport for asking security if they’d found his gun…

But why I am writing about this man? Well, he’s just published his autobiography. Naturally it’s available in printed form and it’s also available as an ebook from the Kindle store however, it’s also available as an app for the iPad. 

A book as an app you say? Well how does that work?

Imagine your reading experience on a digital device. You open up your book, you flick the screen to turn the pages and you finish the book. But what if your reading experience was illuminated by rich content? A few years ago, Random House released a range of fiction titles with added content, stories, images, music however the reading experience is positively medieval compared to the Zlatan app.

Obviously you’ve got the book itself however it’s the added value that take this book to the next level. For a start, the app is introduced by a vodcast from the man himself. It’s jam packed with newspaper headlines and cuttings charting his development from a youth in Sweden to the player he is today. There are clips of his favourite goals and extra detail of his favourite players, highlighting in great detail how he used to study the likes of Ronaldo in order to develop his own abilities. Furthermore, you can learn more about the man himself, with a feature that allows you to study his tattoos. 

All in all, this is reading super sized. Now, when Random House produced their fiction titles they essentially had to create new content to support the narrative however what the Zlatan app does is repurposes existing content in a new form to support the story. Now, considering that anyone who releases an autobiography now has probably been in the public eye for a few years and thanks to the growth of social media, you tube and other assorted digital content, pulling together a rich tapestry to support the text should be simple for publishers. Whether this is profitable is another matter, the app retails for £6.99, but a reading experience like this is really going to engage with the audience in a way like no other. 

I am Zlatan is available on the app store here.

And to play you out, here’s Elias featuring Frans with their hit song ‘Who’s da man?’:


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