Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Random House Group Explodes the Digital Spine

The Random House Group has launched its first list of ‘enhanced’ ebooks. ‘Book and Beyond’ is aimed at extending the content past the text that was in the print work and truly exploding the spine. Readers can now enjoy additional content such as videos, games, quizzes, photos, author interviews, interactive graphics and the option to listen to or read the text at the start of each chapter.

Ten ebooks are being used the create the experience and for once a publisher has taken the bold step of using popular authors such as James Patterson, Danny Wallace and Derren Brown. More enhanced ebooks are planned and include Katie Price and the word ‘enhanced’ must be the operative one here. Meanwhile fans of Jacqueline Wilson My Sister Jodie can play a ‘catch the ghosts’ game on her My Sister Jodie.

The ‘Book and Beyond’ list is available from,, and

Everyone recognises that the one dimensional eink ebook readers can’t play the additional rich media content, but that it can be played on PCs, Macs, netbooks and laptops. If the features were to take off and be copied by others it would raises serious questions of the future of the ebook readers as we know them. We can envisage the extras being able to port to the mobile and would expect someone to create a special app to accommodate this.

Well done Random for breaking out of the straight-jacket and being brave enough to do it with popular authors.

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