Interactive Books: Fad Or Novelty?

Reading & Writing

After a rather ordinary eco-book called ‘Our Choice’ was enhanced with an app that allows your breath to power an onscreen windmill (people are easily amused) it seems that the next generation of online books will have enhanced features. This will be a boon to republishing sure-fire bestsellers (I bet the first titles will be Sherlock Holmes and Alice In Wonderland) but – for now at least – will be too cost-prohibitive for new books.

Personally I find interactivity in reading tiresome and faddish, but probably fun for the easily distracted, like 3D is in films.

My friend Rick Drew forwarded an interesting article on this recently, here.

3 comments on “Interactive Books: Fad Or Novelty?”

  1. J F Norris says:

    “News” like this calls to mind my favorite cynic David Foster Wallace who reviled this idea of entertaining ourselves to death. In his brilliant and massive novel INFINITE JEST Wallace envisioned a world where the metaphor becomes reality with a populace so obsessed with a single video that each viewer was doomed to watch it repeatedly, stopping all other activity, until literally dead. For all the people in the world whose best friends are their thumbs, who would rather type than talk, who have more relationships on-line than in the living and breathing world this kind of thing is like manna from heaven I should imagine. Personally, I wish all the electronic wizards in the world would quit their pointless jobs designing crap like this and put it to better use like solving real problems. Like…oh…the lack of readily available drinking water in underdeveloped countries or devising alternate sources of power. Do we really need young people majoring in things like Video Game Design in colleges? All books are already interactive. You open it, you read it and you use your imagination to picture the characters, settings and action. Must everything be electronically illustrated for everyone these days? […sigh…] And there’s my little soapbox rant for the month.

    (P.S. I can’t help but notice the tattooed wrist and torn jeans of the model displaying the use of this device. I’ll spare you another rant about my thoughts about those subtle choices for the photo.)

  2. I.A.M. says:

    There’s a wonderful books called The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes by that Guy Adams fella that’s quite interactive and 3D to the point of letting you actually handle things and stick things up your nose (if you happen to like that sort of thing with telegrams and bits of string). This doesn’t seem like much of a new thing to me…

  3. Sparro says:

    Is this interactive e-book the new pop-up book? They were (and are) often pretty clever but essentially rather pointless.
    However, there is always some potential in new gizmology, but sadly it often fails to materialise.
    However, it has to start out as eye-catching trendy ‘must-haves’ to pay for itself. Was not television once given the thumbs-down, in about 1924, with an opinion that it would not catch on? Did the world not laugh at Mr Sony for inventing a little tape-recorder that couldn’t record?

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