Sunday, April 05, 2009

One Vook Doesn't Make a Digital Library

The New York Times today asks, ‘Is this the future of the Digital Book.’ An interesting read, which talked about multi media content being the future of the digital book, digital experiments, new ventures, but unfortunately left us asking, ‘So what?’ The article mainly covered Bradley Inman’s Vook, or should that be Before it even can digitally walk, Vook is proposed as the potential future for the beleaguered book industry. Vook consists today of Inman’s own thriller ‘The Right Way to Do Wrong’, packaged into a book with two dozen extra short video story extensions. Inman claims that the ebook threatens to strip traditional books of much of their ‘transportive appeal,’ but we found ourselves again asking, ‘So what?’

We have previously reported on creative writing experiments by leading multi media writers such as Kate Pullinger, but we all recognise that we are a long way from there being a ‘one size fits all’ new digital form. We know that the digital medium offers much more than the printed page, but those of us with memories, remember the CD Rom experiments of the nineties and the disasters that ensued as some ‘experimented’ with no market and lots of money. Today the digital book market shows clear shoots of growth, but they are mere shoots. There is still a long way to go before we let ourselves get seduced into believing we must redefine the content and future of the digital book.

We agree with the article when it comes to linking authors with their readers, that digital self publishing has much to offer, digital peer review and a viral slush pile are all going to make change and offer much scope for experimentation. The key is to engage on a meaningful and rewarding level that adds value to both parties. The content may change in the digital world but there is much more to do before we are hooked on

1 comment:

scott said...

I think what you are saying makes sense. I was involved in a similar venture around 2000 when we all thought e-books would take off, only to learn that adding multimedia to e-books was expensive, time-consuming and slow to download. While I think there is a lot more promise to it now, there would have to be a way to create a lot of content quickly and cheaply. And the audience would have to embrace a whole new experience at the same time they were adapting to text only e-books.