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First Look: Next's Tour of Thailand Digital Cookbook

After a bit of a wait, Grant Achatz, Nick Kokonas, and Dave Beran have released the next volume of their digital cookbook series based on the ever-changing menus at their Chicago restaurant, Next. This edition examines their Tour of Thailand menu, which was served from April 6, 2011 to June 30, 2011; the previous volume, based on Next's Paris 1906 menu, was released in November 2011.

There have been a few changes with the Thailand eBook: First of all, it's a 163MB PDF that can be used on any device. The Paris 1906 eBook was made with Apple as an iBook and, though it boasted some interactive aspects, it only worked on Apple products. Second, the Next gang is trying out a pay-what-you-want strategy, with prices suggested at $6.99 and $12.99. (Paris 1906 is available at the pay-what-you-want price as well.) Of this decision, they write on the website:

As well, digital publishing pricing rarely makes sense. It is costly to produce books, no doubt. It takes time, creativity, effort, and requires many people to collaborate in their production. Once made, however, digital distribution is free. Should an eBook cost $19.95? Or is $6.99 the right price? It's impossible to know. They say they will publish the "volume, average payment, and traffic" from this experiment, and plan on releasing further Next menus as demand allows. Additionally, Kokonas tells Eater there's still a plan for a physical, print copy of the digital books; the website elaborates that it will be "a print edition compendium of the 'greatest hits' from each menu for general distribution." Take a look at the Thailand menu below, of which the Next crew claims, "The pork based Tom Yum soup is a lengthy recipe but worth the price of the book alone."

· Next Store [Official Site]
· All Next Coverage on Eater [-E-]