Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jumping Off the Page

According to USA TODAY, books are jumping off the page. Literally. Okay, not literally, but it can seem that way. Print books are trying to compete with digital books by adding enhancements. Here’s an example:
When The Search for WondLa, the start of a fantasy trilogy for kids starring a 12-year-old girl raised by a robot on an alien planet [was published last week, it included] three symbols that link to digital maps of the girl's quest for other humans.

Readers with a webcam can see 3-D interactive maps of the girl's search. Readers without a webcam but access to the Internet can link to a regular map and a video.
This book is not the only enhanced print book.
Jessica Watson's True Spirit: The True Story of a 16-Year-Old Australian Who Sailed Solo, Nonstop, and Unassisted Around the World (Atria, $16, paperback original) includes 18 tags or bar codes that let readers with smartphones watch parts of Watson's video diary of her voyage. (Readers without smartphones can find the videos on the Internet.)
Lisa Von Drasek, librarian at Bank Street College of Education School for Children in New York, is not so convinced this is a good idea, though. She’s worried about future technical support.
"The book exists for years, but the online element disappears."
What do you think? Good idea to keep print books current and selling? Or should print publishers focus on what they do best – print books as they’ve been done for decades?

25 comments:

  1. If this is going to get in new readers who then stay converted, I am all for it.
    My kids for instance love the Will Solveit books, which have elements of graphic novels, pages of IM-ing and those puzzles you can read only with the help of special lenses. That is not why they got hooked to books, but if there are other kids who do get hooked to books because of gimmicks like that, why not?

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  2. If this is going to get in new readers who then stay converted, I am all for it.
    My kids for instance love the Will Solveit books, which have elements of graphic novels, pages of IM-ing and those puzzles you can read only with the help of special lenses. That is not why they got hooked to books, but if there are other kids who do get hooked to books because of gimmicks like that, why not?

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  3. Seems like its taking pop up books to the next level or an updated version of decoder rings kids in the 30's and 40's got while listening to radio shows. As Rayna said, if it gets kids reading and using their imagination then bombs away.

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  4. It's a fun idea, but as she stated, what happens when technology changes and people can no longer access the extra features?

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  5. I guess it's like the interactive DVDs that have stuff online. Interesting concept. My guess is the book would be out of circulation anyway by the time the online support disappears.

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  6. And I thought blogging was a hard concept at first in an effort to keep up with technology & trends:) Interesting ideas and I think we'll continue to be challenged to stay ahead of the curve...

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  7. I think it's worth a try! At least they're giving different things a go...

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  8. There's no stopping change and technology and technological change! I think, as in all things techie, we can expect this to continue to develop. However, I still like my paper book in my hands!Sylvia Dickey Smith

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  9. Oh gosh. It's one more gimmick to stop readers from using their imaginations. It worries me to think that in 100 years people will no longer read, but instead will only "watch the story."

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  10. this sort of post is exactly why I have an award for you over at my blog, dear Helen! When is seduction to books empty? When is it worthy? Let's keep talking, just keep talking....Jan Morrison

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  11. I'm not sure on this one. Maybe for YA and fantasy, that sort of thing. But adult fiction? I don't think so, give me the true intent of a book ... a good story to focus on.

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  12. I agree with Joanne in that this is great for kids and perhaps some adults who like all those features. I would not care for that in a novel. I don't even bother with some of the features of the Kindle in terms of what they call "enhanced reading." For me, it is all about the story. I just want to read. I don't want to play a game or watch a video or do anything else, and I know there are a lot of other readers like me. So, whatever direction this all takes, I hope that there are still "just books" out there for us.

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  13. I agree that it may be a good way to get the young reading but I don't care for all that extra "work" when I'm reading to relax.

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  14. Sounds like these marketing tools might work for kids, not sure about adults. But anything that keeps folks reading is ok by me.
    Karen

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  15. I keep trying to see this from different ages. I like plain books. I don't want to stop and watch a video or play an online game. (I might go watch the movie at the theater, though.) My son is an avid reader, but he's also online a lot. He watches graphic novels online and plays games online, but I don't know that he would do both for one book, unless it was something really great. Young kids, though...that's another story. They are really growing up on the computer, even more than my kids did.

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  16. I'm with Liza, where is the enjoyment of our own imaginations? It seems like another concession to our 'short attention span world.'
    Now there are times when reading a biography that I will listen to the music if it is a musician; and sometimes certain music I listen to seems to 'pair well' with certain books. I'll always think of The Hobbit when I hear the first albums by Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Raymond Chandler? Julie London! and so on.

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  17. JP, I've never tried listening to corresponding music as I read. Excellent idea.

    Seems to me that these book ideas are aimed at the younger generation. My generation is used to just reading and using the imagination to see the characters.

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  19. I just saw on Oprah a book on the iPad where the pictures move. I think it's fantastic! As I child I thought pop-up books were the cat's PJs but my gosh that was nothing!

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  20. You know, I agree with Liza. And funny, so many movies and CDs come with CDRoms or online extras, but you know how many of those I've viewed? NONE.

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  21. I think as an 'unnecessary but enhancing' feature it is VERY cool--a map in the flap to get the main idea, but a link to look at things close up, explore a little--I think it's great--especially for YA and fantasy, though my first book has a couple maps I've created, and ends up in a cave that would be VERY COOL to be able to let people explore.

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  22. I’m sure there is an audience for the enhanced books, but I’ll stick to curling up in a chair with a plain old book that doesn’t require anything from me other than to read the words and enjoy.

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  23. Sounds like a cool book, Lauri.

    It does seem as though these add-ons would work best on childrens, YA and fantasy.

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  24. At the moment these enhanced elements are so minor that if they disappeared it wouldn't be an issue. It's more of an extra (like those hidden tracks on music CDs). But it is the way technology is going. I do think this sort of thing will increase...and for popular books the online elements will continue to get updated with the books.

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  25. and here I was just lamenting the loss of the use of imagination for our young children...

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