Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"Enhanced eBooks"

Here's an interesting article, "Enhanced eBooks Take Giant Book Fair By Storm". An excerpt:

Is it a book? Is it a film? Is it a game? Or all three? Publishers and authors at the world's biggest book fair are battling to entice a new generation of readers with the latest multimedia products.

That the electronic book reader has turned the book industry on its head is well known. Younger readers are no longer content to thumb through a printed book. The 21st century iPad generation wants interaction and variety.

But talk of the "ebook" that has dominated the Frankfurt Book Fair in recent years has given way in 2010 to excited chatter about the so-called "enhanced ebook", a mixture of the traditional book, audio, video and game.

"In five years, books will be more often crossmedia products: with embedded sound, animated pictures, Internet links and ... possible a gaming component, like alternative reality games," said Juliane Schulze, from peacefulfish, a consultancy.

But the counter-revolution is already starting, with advocates of the traditional format saying that people like to have bound books as a keepsake, in the same way they print out and frame favourite photos from their cameras.

"Take the digital watch," said Gordon Cheers, an Australian publisher who presented what he said was the world's biggest book at the fair -- as far from a mobile multimedia offering as could be.

"In the 1980s, everyone said the digital watch would be the end of the traditional watchmaker. Sure, some did go out of business but then analogue watches came back and everyone these days wears one.

"The same will happen with the book. Leave it five or 10 years and books are bound to come back into fashion."

Funke said: "I speak to loads of 16-year-olds who say they only read things on their electronic readers."

"But then they tell me that, for the ones they really love, they go out and buy the book."

Rumours of the death of the book have perhaps been greatly exaggerated.


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