“Everybody is trying to think about how books and information will best be put together in the 21st century,” said Judith Curr, publisher of Atria Books, the Simon & Schuster imprint that is releasing the electronic editions in partnership with Vook, a multimedia company. She added, “You can’t just be linear anymore with your text. In some cases, social-networking technologies enable conversations among readers that will influence how books are written. The children’s division of HarperCollins recently released the first in a young-adult mystery series called “The Amanda Project,” and has invited readers to discuss clues and characters on a Web site. As the series continues, some of the reader comments may be incorporated into minor characters or subplots."
That is all fine and good. I encourage interaction between the author and readers and the world of reading and the relationship to the text is quickly transforming. But there are some cases where this doesn't work for me.
“It really makes a story more real if you know what the characters look like,” commented Fred L. Gronvall in a review on Amazon.com. The videos, he wrote, “add to the experience in a big way.”
I'm sorry, but my Brobdingnagians are not yours and I don't need a video insert to flesh out my Marlowe. He's just fine tucked away in an intimacy Raymond Chandler and I have developed over the years.
The romance writer Jude Deveraux wants a more sensory experience from the reading experience:
"Ms. Deveraux said she envisioned new versions of books enhanced by music or even perfume. “I’d like to use all the senses,” she said."
God forbid Ms. Deveraux and Simon and Schuster tackle the epic retelling of Andersonville prison camp where 13,000 Union soldiers died in fetid conditions. Or, maybe that's the perfect use of this new technology. We shall see.