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
    Richard, 10 Sep 2009 @ 3:53am

    The new thing just does what the old thing did...

    Reminds me of my past work in the simulator industry.
    A company we bought made an anti-aircraft missile system trainer. It consisted of a dome with a special movable projector inside it (rather like the thing in the middle of a planetarium. The aircraft images for the projector came from a filmstrip so the flight path of the aircraft was pretty much completely pre-programmed (you could change the overall direction but that was about it).

    Anyway in the late 80's CGI and video projection was the new thing and the military customer wanted "the new thing".

    Of course CGI+video projection would allow a completely free choice of aircraft flight pattern. It could be reprogrammable in real time - obviously a great advantage gained by paying an extra million pounds for the system.

    Except that the military didn't want to actually use this capability. They were happy to stick to to old pre-programmed sequences. The extra money bought no real benefits. In fact it was a downgrade because the old filmstrip projectors had more light and a sharper image.

    They just wanted to "have the new technology".

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