The Natural History Museum has launched its first e-book for the iPad, created from the most expensive book ever sold.
The e-book of The Birds of America by John James Audubon features all 435 illustration plates of the original. The NHM will release a resized printed edition of the 19th-century classic in October, bound in linen and presented in a slipcase, with an introduction by bird artist and author David Allen Sibley.
The complete e-book will be priced £9.99, with the digital Highlights edition, featuring 85 plates, priced £3.99.
Marketing executive Howard Trent said: "Given that The Birds of America is the most expensive book ever to have been sold (last year a complete edition sold for £7.3m) and that we had the digital files available, it seemed an obvious book to start with and a great way of making one of the Museum's most treasured possessions more accessible, complementing the physical edition we are publishing in October."
The digital edition will form part of the "E-book Treasures" collection developed with Armadillo Systems and other leading museums, as well as the British Library.
Talking of plans for future e-books, Trent said: "We're looking into a number of things at the moment and think that the iPad has really opened up the possibilities for reworking illustrated books and adding in additional content . . . We're currently working on what we hope will be a series of rich content apps; the first is on evolution, one of our core subjects."
Image © Natural History Museum, London