Simon & Shuster want you to curl up with a good ‘vook’

By Branko Brkic 2 October 2009

The future of books is coming your way, and it may not be what you expected.

Reading aint what it used to be. Worldwide, book publishers have been fighting for the attention of the consumer since Marconi stole his patent for the radio from Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla in 1897. And the subsequent inventions of television and the internet certainly haven’t helped publishers’ cash-flow.

So now they’re hitting back. Yesterday, the prestigious house Simon & Schuster released four ‘vooks’, books that intersperse electronic text with video for your personal reading/viewing pleasure. The carriers of this new hybrid are iPhone, iPod Touch and the internet itself.

Naturally, opinion is divided as to the saleability of the product. Die-hard booklovers see in the vook further proof of the death-throes of reading, while salivating tech-heads continue to sprout forth about brave new futures. The truth, perhaps, lies somewhere in between. Tolstoy’s War & Peace, with accompanying mock-up videos of the Battle of Borodino, probably won’t top the sales charts. But a fitness and diet title with, say, an audio-visual component showing the proper way to do tummy crunches?

Maybe not, either.  

Read more: The New York Times


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