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Old 09-14-2013, 11:05 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Professor blasts e-books over unfulfilled promise

For many if not most of us, e-books are digital versions of printed books. And they are just that. Others, on the other hand, believe that e-books should offer additional content and multimedia enrichment. Meet Bill Adair, Knight Professor for the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University, who recently described his disappointing experience with e-books in an article published on Poynter's.

Quote:
I spent my vacation reading from pixels instead of paper.

I read e-book versions of “Bruce,” a Springsteen biography by Peter Ames Carlin, and Dan Brown’s bestselling novel “Inferno.” Both had great potential for extra audio and video that could have created a much richer experience. But the e-books offered no more than the ink-on-paper versions.

My disappointing experience offers a lesson for news organizations that are considering selling e-books because its shows how legacy media is still thinking like … legacy media. Book publishers still have an old-school mentality — like many newspaper editors.
Do you think e-books need to be "enhanced" with multimedia features for a richer experience? Or do you prefer the single-dimensional aspect of text, where any kind of enhancement could potentially be intrusive and get in the way with the story?

Last edited by Alexander Turcic; 09-14-2013 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:21 AM   #2
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Ebooks are books and that is what they shall be, period.

Last edited by Antoinekamel; 09-19-2013 at 08:40 PM. Reason: should > shall
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:29 AM   #3
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By all means go ahead and produce "enhanced" ebooks. As long as they're being made available in addition to ordinary versions so that I don't have to buy them, it's all good.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:32 AM   #4
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I guess Professor Bill Adair doesn't fully understand what an ebook is. If the books was meant to be enhanced with audio or video the publisher and author would offer a DVD or downloadable file with the print version and the electronic version. When I first read this post I thought it was about how you can read on a Kindle then switch to the the audiobook. I've heard that described as a enhancement of an ebook but in truth it's just a way charge customers a few extra dollars so they can read faster and in turn buy more books. Please don't take this as an attack on Amazon because it's not. It's what Amazon does, they find ways to sell more stuff and make it easy for consumers to do so. There is value added when you can switch between the audio and ebook version of a book but lets face it, it just speeds up the time till you need another book.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:38 AM   #5
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Enhancement would feel intrusive for me and I wouldn't want to pay the extra cost. I like the convenience of an ereader as well as the ability it gives me to read while enduring increasing vision and arthritis problems. But I don't want a different experience than the pleasure that reading has always given me.

I sometimes provide my own enhancements: I often have Art Pepper or Bennie Green in the background when reading Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books because Harry listens to them. But what if bebop, enjoyable enough when not concentrating on reading, were chosen for me? No go.

Last night I spent at least a couple hours googling photos of the players in Lytton Strachey's "Queen Victoria" and reading up on them. Why would I want to pay for an enhanced book when I have a computer?

I suppose there might be some market for enhancement, but my vivid imagination does not require anyone else's idea of what that enhancement should be.

Last edited by BelleZora; 09-14-2013 at 11:41 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antoinekamel View Post
Ebooks are books and that is what they should be, period.
I agree wholeheartedly. As I've said many times here, when I want to read, I want to read. I specifically do not want a multimedia experience. That stuff is fine on the web, but in a book? No, thanks.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:11 PM   #7
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First thing I do, when I get a new ebook, is to remove all these disgusting "enhancements". This often begins also with removing oversized images and fonts. They blow up the size of a book and disturb my reading fun.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:36 PM   #8
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But the e-books offered no more than the ink-on-paper versions.

Hah, rubbish! I'll bet the ebooks offered more spelling mistakes and crap formatting.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Istvan diVega View Post
By all means go ahead and produce "enhanced" ebooks. As long as they're being made available in addition to ordinary versions so that I don't have to buy them, it's all good.
Agreed.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:38 PM   #10
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The whole fun of a book is visualising it in my head and perhaps coming up with a soundtrack to it-- all highly personal. I don't want someone else intruding on that part of my headspace when I'm reading!
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:50 PM   #11
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This reminds me of the early days of CD's. The CD industry touted their ability to hold an hour or more of music-but 98% of all CD's contained the same 30 minutes of music that was on the LP and nothing more. Today the industry has evolved & we have many 'enhanced' CD's. They don't affect how the music plays on a CD player so I'm not really sure how prevalent they are-I just know they're out there. They might affect how the CD plays on a computer but I prefer wearing out my sub-$100 CD player for music rather than my over-$500 PC. I guess I'm funny that way as I still replace lots of CD (DVD) drives that were worn out playing music all day.

Presumably ebooks will go a similar route, i.e. at first (now) they offer nothing more but eventually they'll be 'enhanced'. Hopefully the enhancements will be controllable, i.e. we'll be able to turn them off if we don't want them.
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antoinekamel View Post
Ebooks are books and that is what they should be, period.
Couldn't have said it better.

Why do some people always want something to be more than it really is? It's not called an "e-book" for nothing: it's a book, not a multimedia experience.

If people had wanted e-books to be a multimedia experience, then the Kindle would never have become as big as it is, and Apple would have started to steamwaltz the entire book market with multimedia-iBook books/apps/whatever they are.
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:03 PM   #13
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I agree with the consensus here: Make as many "enhanced" ebooks as you want, but give me the choice of an "unenhanced" version.

Complaining that an ebook is disappointing because it's just a book is a bit like complaining that a song is disappointing because it's just sound.

rjb
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BelleZora View Post
I sometimes provide my own enhancements: I often have Art Pepper or Bennie Green in the background when reading Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books because Harry listens to them.
This is what I sometimes do as well. If the protagonist has a stated musical taste, then I will sometimes put that on while reading. If our tastes coincide, of course. You'll never find me putting on Hip-Hop or Black Metal no matter what a literary favourite listens to.

Since I read a lot of fantasy, more often I will put on some dedicated "fantasy music". For instance I have a several hours long collection of music from all the Elder Scrolls games, as well as soundtracks from other games like Myst, Guild Wars and so on and so forth. And of course there are the Lord of the Rings soundtracks and soundtracks from other movies.
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Istvan diVega View Post
Since I read a lot of fantasy, more often I will put on some dedicated "fantasy music". For instance I have a several hours long collection of music from all the Elder Scrolls games, as well as soundtracks from other games like Myst, Guild Wars and so on and so forth. And of course there are the Lord of the Rings soundtracks and soundtracks from other movies.
LOL. I do that too sometimes, especially with The Lord of the Rings. I have the Complete Recordings. That's the entire soundtrack; basically the entire movie, but without the movie. I've seen the movies so often that I can hear which scene should be on screen.

When reading TLotR, while listening to the movie soundtrack, I sometimses get annoyed that I can't keep up. The movie runs faster than I can read
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