There are serious contenders today staking out turf in the multimedia book battlefield. We are elbowing closer to the killer app that seamlessly merges text, sound, and video. All we need now is digital scratch and sniff.
An intriguing challenger comes from entrepreneur Bradley J. Inman of Vook. You may have seen the recent announcement of their partnership with Simon & Schuster.
In their own words, “a vook blends a well-written book, high-quality video and the power of the Internet into a single, complete story. You can read your book, watch videos that enhance the story and connect with authors and your friends through social media all on one screen, without switching between platforms.”
The premiering vooks are available via a web-based application or a mobile application through the Apple iTunes store that syncs to an Apple mobile device. (Hmm, Apple is in here again, what a surprise.)
I have some White Cloud Press titles I would sure like to see in this format, combining great text with collaborative video and music.
As once blog commenter said, it may be that “Video + book = EBook Trailer.” Or it may be that this platform will be ideal for certain genre’s, especially how-to books, because you will want to take the how-to with you wherever you are doing what you are learning to do.
To give you the spectrum of opinions on where this is heading, here is a collection of reviews and articles about the vook.
Early skepticism on iReader Review
A good impression of the founder, by Greg Sterling
Publishers Weekly provided a good overview
Entertainment Weekly’s review at EW.com
A Baltimore Sun review “… moving in the right direction.”
Eli James on Novelr, a blog for Internet fiction.
Testing Vook, by Tameka Kee on paidContent.org
The LA Times warns us (Hollywood knows!) of a major issue for publishers going this route. “It takes a lot of people — and money — to make a good film.”
Curling Up With Hybrid Books, Videos Included, from the NYT by Motoko Rich on Sept. 30, 2009, tries to come to grips with the evolution of ebooks and the reading experience.
The New York Times also gave us a profile last April. it closes with a question from skeptics and Mr. Inman’s reply:
And they are sure to ask: Would we have classics like The Great Gatsby if F. Scott Fitzgerald was distracted by the need to give Gatsby a Twitter account? (Blogger’s note: there are currently six F . Scott Fitzgeralds on Twitter)
“I don’t think we are compromising the written word,” says Mr. Inman at Vook. “People will to continue to read, just in new ways. Books are finally coming online but they are very one-dimensional. I think we can experiment and do this better.”
The company is on Twitter under their banner vooktv
Vook’s very crisp introduction: http://www.vook.com/