Video Book? Is That Like A Horseless Carriage?
from the change-your-perspective dept
It’s no secret that when new technologies and innovations come along, we tend to look at them through the prism of what we already have. We look at them as a minor improvement on what was done before — this technology lets us do something faster or better — rather than at ways that it enables us to do something totally new. Because of that, you often get amusing attempts at reinventing the old with the new that don’t seem to take any advantage of what the new innovation really allows. It’s simply a weak attempt to take the old and move it into the new. This comes to mind as PaidContent last week discussed the Harper Collins attempt to offer a $10 “video book,” which was really just author Jeff Jarvis talking about his book for 23 minutes against a white backdrop. For $10. As Tim O’Reilly noted, the concept of the “video book” sounds like “moving pictures” or the “horseless carriage.”
That’s not to knock Harper Collins for at least trying something new — but to note that when you’re jumping into a new medium it’s important not to identify it by the constraints of the old medium. A video presentation that complements a book by engaging people in a conversation could be quite interesting — but not at $10 a pop. That’s not engaging people in a conversation at all. In fact, it’s the same traditional publisher mindset of “let’s release something and get people to pay $10 – $30 for this unit of content.” It doesn’t take into account what the internet and video actually allows you to do that’s different. This seems especially ironic, since Jarvis’ book is called What Would Google Do, and it’s all about making business decisions a la Google. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think Google would be offering video books for $10 a pop.