Wednesday, April 15, 2009

PW on Multi-platform Books

You kids today. In my time, we had to read books by hand. Using our fingers to turn the pages. Video? Audio? Pah! We made video and audio in our heads! Sometimes we got a stuffed animal with the book, and ya know what? We were happy! You're just spoiled, the lot of you. Get off my dang lawn!

All old-fartness aside, there does seem to be a rise in the number of books that have multimedia components--not merely tie-ins, but necessary elements to understanding and following the story.

Scholastic's 39 Clues series was in the nature of an experiment, but it's an experiment that a number of other publishers are trying as well. Check out this story on multimedia publishing over at Publisher's Weekly for more.

What think'st thou? Of course, it's all about the almighty dollar, but are publishers pandering to increasingly fleeting juvenile attention, or are they capitalizing on the new literacy?

1 comment:

Lisa Chellman said...

I think it's hard this early in the game to know where multimedia publishing is going to end up (is it the logical extreme that books as we know them will meet their demise in the next 20/50/100 years), but it seems like necessary territory to explore. That said, I think that currently, technology-wise, we're not quite to the point where multimedia publishing provides the seamless and comfortable experience that a book can.

Case in point, Skeleton Creek -- I finally put it aside because I found it so annoying to read a chapter or two and then head to the computer for the videos. If I'd done all my reading next to a computer, or had a handheld, maybe it would have been okay. But as it was, I'd be at lunch or on the bus and... whoops! Don't have a computer! Can't go forward!

So if/when the day comes that we're reading books on networked handheld devices, so that multimedia elements are either embedded in the text or just a click away, maybe it'll be awesome. Right now, I don't think the user experience is that great.

Of course, this is all me speaking as an old fart who loves the old-fashioned kind of book. :-)