Doing More With eBooks

from the hey,-look-at-what-the-technology-allows dept

While I can understand some of the interest in ebooks, one of the things I haven't quite understood was the effort to focus on making ebooks more like regular books. In the history of "killer apps," the one thing that tends to stand out is that they show up when the new technology allows something new that couldn't be done before. Simply mimicking the old on a new platform isn't a recipe for widespread success. And, sure, ebooks can let you store a lot of books on a single device, or take notes, but they haven't really taken advantage of what the technology could enable.

David Thomson points us to an interesting ebook experiment involving singer and novelist Nick Cave, who has created an ebook for the iPhone, that involves a whole lot more. Beyond just the text, there are both the audio and video versions of Cave reading along -- and that includes some music that goes with the book as well. Plus, it includes a "news feed" though it's not clear what's in it. The pricing still seems a bit expensive ($25), but it's great to at least see some experimenting with what the technology should allow.

One other interesting tidbit: it wasn't Cave who came up with the idea, but his publisher who really pushed to make the ebook into something more, and roped Cave into agreeing to add the extra stuff. It's nice to see that at least some of the middlemen providers are looking to step up and take charge, rather than just leaving it all to the content creators.

Filed Under: ebooks, iphone, nick cave

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  1. identicon
    James, 10 Sep 2009 @ 8:33am

    Hello from Enhanced Editions

    Hey - thanks for the comments. We made Enhanced Editions, and we're chuffed at the response it's getting.

    In answer to your question, the in-app news feed contains news about the book, reviews and so on, as well as updates about author appearances and signings (because we're fairly sure a lot of readers would like to meet Nick Cave - although perhaps "signing" the ebook might be a bit difficult) - and even invitations to exclusive events.

    This is all made possible because we have a great relationship with the publisher. It also affects the price of course, but as some have (thank you!) pointed out, it's a lot less than you'd pay for the book and the audiobook separately, even without all the extras we've added.

    Re: What ebooks need by fogbugzd (and others) - we agree, in part, although we do feel that convergence devices like the iPhone have a brighter future than single-use ones - and at the moment, the iPhone is the only device that lets us do everything we want to do technicaly. You can read our thoughts about DRM and epub on our blog...

    Do come check out the site and the trailer at, and thanks again...

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