Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Future of E-Publishing?

Vook is coming!

Wait. What? What in the world is a "vook"?

It's the next generation of reading entertainment. A "vook" combines a digital book with video. According to Simon & Schuster's promo site, a vook will allow you to:

Read your book
Watch videos that highlight key moments in the story
View visual how-to’s
Connect with authors and other readers.

You can view a brief promo HERE or below:

Is this the start of what could be a revolution in e-publishing? Imagine reading a vook that has its own soundtrack? Or a video overature in place of cover art? Imagine chatting with other readers about the plot as you turn the pages. Or having virtual conversations with the characters.

And for we who write science fiction romance--star ship schematics, planetary overviews, starfield charts, alien species...Oh, the possibilities!

This could change everything about how we think of, experience, and promote the books of the future. In fact, it may change the very definition of books as we know it.

What do you think of the vook?


  1. Laurie, I could see this coming two years ago, my daughter (also a SFR lover) has been dabbling in digital art using Poser software. It's only a step away from the animation we would need to produce illustrated Science Fiction Romance.

    But as much fun as that idea is, I can see a great opportunity for text books (especially college text books) to be digitally downloaded into the student's reader. This kind of video/illustrations would be wonderful.


  2. So true, Elorie. Text books, technical books, recipe books...there's a lot of room for imagination. "Show, don't tell" takes on a whole new meaning.

    Making learning and studying more interesting and entertaining could be a huge plus.

  3. I think this is very cool, and I love your positive spin on it.

    I heard a story on NPR recently where the interviewee suggested books MUST shift this direction because the online generation expects more. While I think the bells and whistles are great, and will certainly enrich the experience, I don't agree with the interviewee that our kids will not have the attention span for the traditional format. (In other words, just the words on the page, whether paper or digital.)

    I'm a member of the first MTV generation, and videos certainly brought an added dimension to the way we experienced music. I was a huge grunge fan and never got tired of looking at Chris Cornell's chest (still don't, sigh). But I have never bought an album because of a video, unless it just so happened I saw the video first and loved the music. IMHO, the content of the album (or novel) is key to whether it sells, far more than anything shiny that might come with it (even Chris Cornell's chest).

    Now, that's not to say that the bells and whistles don't make great marketing tools.

  4. Reading back over my comment I feel like I've contradicted myself. Wouldn't be the first time. :]

    I think what I was trying to say is this:

    Stuff like music and videos can help get the attention of readers you might not otherwise reach, but I think most readers, whether from the online generation or not, are going to rely much more on factors like recommendations from friends. And while shiny extras may enrich the experience, I don't believe the lack of shiny extras will keep a fabulous book from selling.

  5. Sharon said: And while shiny extras may enrich the experience, I don't believe the lack of shiny extras will keep a fabulous book from selling.

    Absolutely agree. A great book will be a great book even in traditional print.

    But I think blended media could create an audience for more visual stories that wouldn't otherwise be as popular. (Like space opera and military SFR.)

  6. Absolutely! I totally see the value. I just wish industry experts would stop beating us over the head with "New, slick formats or we're all doomed!"


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