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Old 12-17-2010, 06:48 PM   #1
DMcCunney
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The Nitty Gritty: A Very Enhanced E-Book

Interesting piece on creating two versions of an enhanced ebook at Doubleday Knopf:

http://shelf-awareness.com/issue.html?issue=1334#m10789

And a followup on reading the result:

http://www.shelf-awareness.com/ar/th...ed_e-book.html
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Last edited by DMcCunney; 12-17-2010 at 08:09 PM. Reason: Added followup article link
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:58 PM   #2
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I downloaded the sample to try it out. Thanks for posting it!
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:23 PM   #3
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I downloaded the sample to try it out. Thanks for posting it!
You're welcome.

I think this sort of thing is the tip of the iceberg. Ebooks provide possibilities that can't be done in print, and there are potentials for very interesting work. ePub is a container, and there's no reason why what it contains must be only text and static images.

The trick is identifying material that can benefit from this sort of work. Some of the experiments out there are poorly thought out, as though people were trying to hang glitz and interactivity on a framework that didn't need it and couldn't use it. It's the equivalent of just dressing someone in a clown suit. Unless they are a clown and they're in the circus, the effect isn't likely to be what the dresser wants.

It's interesting that this experiment should be fiction. I actually see more potential for non-fiction, with textbooks of various kinds being an obvious example.
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:16 AM   #4
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Kindle and iPad only.

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Old 12-18-2010, 05:51 AM   #5
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Audio and Video in my books? Thanks, but no thanks.
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:18 AM   #6
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Glitter isn't all bad. How many more kids have looked at the Periodic Table since that iPad app came out. That's not really a book... but it takes a boring reference table or a small pamphlet and give it the full glow and rotate. Literally. The elements spin and turn and sparkle. There's bits of video. There's text about some of the elements, songs.

While I don't want when I'm trying to read my latest alt-hist book (some pop-up of where it tweaks history might be fun)... but I don't want to be taken out of the reading experience.

However, it makes basic science a lot more interesting.

OK, I was a geek about the periodic table when it was flat paper... but I think there's a place for it... though plain e-readers aren't ready for it.
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:17 AM   #7
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Lemme get some beer and peanuts, this might take a while................

The issue here revolves on the question of what is an ebook. We know what a book is - but how does that change when we deliver it electronically?

Since when did multi media presentations become ebooks? When we present it in a format we accept as an ebook format? If it has 1 percent printed matter?
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Old 12-18-2010, 08:45 AM   #8
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I was browsing on Amazon earlier and came across this book, it looked the kind of storyline that would interest me, then I see that rather than just being the book it had a load of extra stuff I didn't want and as the price was noticeably higher as a result, I ended up not buying the book at all.

On reading that blog post it seems as if there is meant to be a normal ebook version as well, if there is then somebody should let amazon.co.uk know because they are only stocking the bloated version on there.
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:52 PM   #9
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This is kind of a difficult and slippery slope... at what point does an ebook become a mostly text based video game? If things get bloated much beyond a normal start - beginning - end, there may be a very small niche market for people that may enjoy it but everyone else will do what they have done for centuries, read a normal "book" (in this case electronic form).
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Old 12-19-2010, 05:32 PM   #10
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I got the sample, but will not buy the book. Not because of the cool effects, but just because cyberpunkish stories do not appeal to me. You all should try the sample before condemning it, either on Kindle or a Kindle app for iPad or PC. The special effects are nice, but not intrusive. You can read without activating them, but why would you not want to see them? In the sample, there are two: A swirling magic box and a 2-second audio clip. So it is not like watching a movie with subtitles. It really is a book with optional extras.

I would like to see this done with a standard murder mystery.
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
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This is kind of a difficult and slippery slope... at what point does an ebook become a mostly text based video game? If things get bloated much beyond a normal start - beginning - end, there may be a very small niche market for people that may enjoy it but everyone else will do what they have done for centuries, read a normal "book" (in this case electronic form).
You seem to be assuming that the only books people read are fiction. Hardly true, and not especially relevant.

The key, as always, is the content. Electronic format makes possible things not doable in print. What sorts of things are appropriate for the content? How might the book be enhanced? What value will be added by doing so?

I expect to see a lot of "enhanced" ebooks that never should have been, and a smaller number that will make people go "Of course! It's a natural!".
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:43 PM   #12
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I can envision, for instance, medical texts with demonstration videos embedded. That would be wonderful.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:01 AM   #13
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Reminiscent of the interactive games/novels mentioned in Vernor Vinge's short story ``True Names'' --- or the best ever multi-media CD-ROM ``book'' Corbis' _Leonardo da Vinci CD-ROM_ which presented the Codex Leicester in amazing fashion using the ``Codescape Viewer'':

http://www.amazon.com/True-Names-Ope.../dp/0312862075

http://www.atpm.com/4.06/page13.shtml

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Old 12-20-2010, 11:58 AM   #14
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I can envision, for instance, medical texts with demonstration videos embedded. That would be wonderful.
That's the sort of thing I was thinking of. The problem will be costs. Textbooks are already expensive. Doing something like this would require two separate and parallel development efforts, as it's not just a case of "Save as PDF for print, Save As ePub for eBook". (Though it's not really there now, as while AdobeInDesign can create ePub files, it doesn't do it very well.)

It will help a lot if/when publishers move to XML as the back end storage format, converting Word docs to XML, and then doing markup and the like on it. XML is a good intermediate format, with tools there to handle much of the work of transforming to the desired output format.

I don't expect a common ebook format any time soon, but a common input format that can be transformed into the desired output format would help a lot.
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:40 PM   #15
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DMcCunney said:
>I don't expect a common ebook format any time soon, but a common input format
>that can be transformed into the desired output format would help a lot.

TEI:

http://www.tei-c.org/index.xml

William
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