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Are ebooks the new CD-ROM?

I was interested to read about the realease of Dan Brown’s new title as an ebook where the publisher reported ‘the possibilities, including books with scored soundtracks and video inserts, are just becoming clear.’

This started me thinking about the added value ebooks provide, can they offer enhanced features, will they become just the new CD-ROM?

Can ebooks allow the experience of reading to be more immersive and media rich, for example with the additon of audio and video? Examples of companies investigating this already, Enhanced Editions and vook. Perhaps the location of where the books is being read will influence the content provided.

Can e-books create a more collaborative experience of reading for example could you meet other readers and share impressions of the book during reading? A feature of theĀ  VitalSource software is the opportunity to share notes and highlighters on ebooks. Perhaps this will lead to multiple editions of ebooks edited by readers.


1 Helen { 08.28.09 at 3:29 pm }

I love the idea. I would love books with (optional) atmospheric soundtracks, especially author chosen, though I expect that would only come with the big money-spinner books.

Considering the lack of investment in even cover design for many academic titles, perhaps we would end up with even more of a divide between exciting multimedia bestsellers, and text-only ‘worthy’ titles.

Gazing dimly into the future… would some readers become multimedia only users? Reliant on images, films and snappy sfx? Would there be a new reading snobbery with some saying the text-only books are the ones really worth reading?

I can also just imagine the commercial applications – the movie tie-in ebooks now – screenshots from the film, teaser trailers, soundtrack snippets… linked to Amazon where you can buy it all.

2 Owen Stephens { 08.28.09 at 4:09 pm }

The idea of a ‘book’ is getting increasingly blurry. An iPhone app called ‘mass effect’ is described as a ‘story-based experience’, and there are more examples of ‘animated’ graphic novels.

I also think that interactive fiction is an interesting area – and some of these are also accompanied by music and animated illustration. These blur the line between reading, watching and playing!

The new CD-ROM? I’m not sure – in the end CD-ROM was a physical format and delivery mechanism rather than a type of thing. However, I think you are right in the sense that perhaps it was an early indication of how our experience of ‘reading’ might change.

3 A-books? « Librarian 1.5 { 08.31.09 at 8:54 pm }

[...] up a new discussion on the future of e-books. It started with a post on Buns, blankets and bears; Are ebooks the new CD-ROM?, that I discovered on Twitter. I ReTweeted the post and it was posted on FriendFeed where Walt [...]

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