Tuesday, January 26, 2010

E-books: New and improved?

by Chasya

It’s been speculated by some in the publishing industry that enhanced e-books are most certainly the wave of the publishing future. Some will argue that with standard e-books not even completely off the ground, this is misguided, while others will say that such a product would be a completely new medium and not a book at all.

Whichever camp you happen to be in, some interesting developments were just announced on the multimedia front. PW reports that Vook, the video book company, has developed new software called MotherVook that will allow publishers to create their own media-enhanced e-books.

Is this one small step for publishing-kind? Though the details haven’t all been worked out, I’m interested to see how this takes off in our ever-changing landscape. I’m one of those who believe that media-enhanced books are more likely to happen then not. So now, particularly on the eve of the Apple tablet unveiling, will publishers take advantage of this software to create hyperlinked, video and music enhanced editions of what, until recently, has always been an ink and paper medium? And if this MotherVook software does take off in the market, will enhanced e-books make books better? It’s gotten me thinking, do I want a book that comes tricked-out with extras?


  1. The whole notion of a "vook" doesn't do anything for me. I love me some ebooks, and I have been happily devouring them on my iPhone and am even likely to get a nook sometime soon.

    But I don't need extra bells and whistles with the story. I want the story and okay, yeah, some nice cover art to go with it. I'm happy with the electronic version of the product I'd otherwise be buying in the bookstore. Adding in extra bells and whistles and music and such just distracts from the writing, for me!

  2. Chasya

    This is something I've been thinking about recently. Like you I'm inclined to think it will happen. It seems to me a logical progression, and an obvious potential selling point for e-content.

    As regards the question of making books better, I think it's really a question of how it's used. I'm sure in some instances it will lead to a thoroughly immersive multi-media experience. Yet in others it will distract from the story and appear gimmicky. There is parallel here I think with the recent debate on the use of 3D in films.

    I actually would be happy to see extra content, as I'm very attached to hard copy, and I'm likely to need something extra to persuade me to go for a e-version rather than a print version of my favourite author. Even then I would probably prefer the hardback.

  3. "[D]o I want a book that comes tricked-out with extras?"

    We already have those; they are called movies. I do not think that anyone would disagree that the best movies with the strongest storylines and characterization are all based on books. So will we authors now have to write screenplays along with the MS in order to even be looked at?