Sunday, April 05, 2009

Vook, Book, Blook: A Rose By Any Other Name Still Has Thorns

When it comes to the future of the book, a lot of people are running around trying to come up with answers. Yet I’m still not convinced we’ve dreamed up the right questions thus far. Take. for instance, yet another bookish innovation, the slightly ridiculous sounding “vook.” From The New York Times:
Bradley Inman wants to create great fiction, dramatic online video and compelling Twitter stream -- and then roll them all into a multimedia hybrid that is tailored to the rapidly growing number of digital reading devices.

Mr. Inman, a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur, calls this digital amalgam a “Vook,” ( and the fledgling company he has created with that name just might represent a possible future for the beleaguered book industry.
The fact that the electronic book in present form has challenges is no secret:
Vook tries to address a big problem for book publishers as they expand onto digital formats. For all the hype and initial success of devices like the Kindle, they threaten to strip traditional books of much of their transportive appeal. Images on the jacket cover, inviting fonts and the satisfying feel of quality paper are all largely absent, replaced by humdrum pixels on a virtual page.
In short, words aside, some of the stuff we love about books is lost in electronic form.

And though in this piece, Inman and his ilk come across practically giddy about bringing home neo-book technology, a couple of things come to mind. One: this isn’t the first time we’ve been down this particular road and, Two: the classic form of the book is a time-tested design that has endured very well over the years. Want my attention in the new book wars? Don’t simply give me something different. At this stage, it has to be better, as well.



Anonymous Maria Thurrell said...

Hi Linda,

First, sorry for the lateness of this comment. Second, thanks for the interest in Vook.

I completely understand your hesitation, and it is true, "the classic form of the book is a time-tested design that has endured very well over the years." I couldn't agree with you more. We don't expect vooks to replace books.

Rather, we are creating something entirely new. A new way of consuming stories and great content.

And we aren't just giving you something different - we believe that by integrating video and connections to the web, that the experience of reading will be enhanced -- that people will get more out of the story this way than the traditional left to right, front to back. Therefore, a better experience.

I would love to continue this discussion with you if you are interested. Please feel free to email me at maria (at) vook (dot) com

Best, Maria
Social Marketing Manager at Vook

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 9:41:00 AM PDT  

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