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
    hegemon13, 11 Sep 2009 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I also spend time writing fiction, as well as reading a LOT of it.

    First, I am not anti-illustration, as long as it is non-intrusive. The paintings in The Davinci Code worked as a supplement, not a distraction, and could be referenced (or ignored) at the reader's leisure. I, however, read the non-illustrated version, and I don't feel that I missed a thing. The descriptions of the paintings were actually the rare examples of decent writing in the book.

    What I referred to, specifically, was audio-visual media, which has been frequently mentioned (and tried) as a way to "enhance" e-books through technology. Unfortunately, sounds and moving pictures ARE distracting, and place limits on the reader's imagination. As an OUTSIDE supplement, fine. But as part of the ebook, it is an intrusion to any well-written fiction. And as a supplement, it is as easy to include with a paper book than an ebook.

    I guess my point is that you can include all the supplements you want. The BOOK part, however, will always be booklike because words are words. There is really no good way to improved their presentation over what we already have (printed books).

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