As books go beyond printed page to multisensory experience, what about reading?

There was a recent article in the washington Post about electronic books. "As books go beyond printed page to multisensory experience, what about reading?" By Monica Hesse, Monday, December 28, 2009

What I'm reading is a Vook -- a video/book hybrid produced in part by Simon & Schuster's Atria Books. Interspersed throughout the text are videos and links that supplement the narrative. In one chapter, the Greek ambassador receives a mysterious DVD, and readers must click on an embedded video to learn what's on it. In another, kidnapper Jack ominously tells his hostage that he's going to prove that he means business.

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Any excuse for a little alarmism

I was underwhelmed by the Post article. So someone else is doing a handful of multimedia extended books--what, 200 next year out of the 200,000 or so that will be published? Multimedia "books" have been with us for considerably more than a decade (as CD-ROMs at one point), and they can and will serve some specialized purposes.

But, you know, I don't see anybody forcing people to buy the "extras" version, and the set of skills needed to do good media extras are different than those needed to write a good book. Somehow, I think thoughtful reading is in more danger from disingenuous big-media writing than it is from this sort of experimentation. But, you know, any hook for an alarmist column.

The Thing About Reading Is.....

That I can use my own imagination and create my own world from what I am reading.... Not to mention with all the "extras" I'm bound to get distracted and lose my concentration.....

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