With the advent (and growing popularity) of eBooks, I’m seeing more and more articles about how much “better” they can be, because they have the option to be interactive … videos, music, glossaries … all sorts of little extra goodies to help “enhance” your reading experience, rather like listening to the Director’s commentary on a DVD of your favorite movie.
How do you feel about that possibility? Does it excite you in a cutting-edge kind of way? Or does it chill you to the bone because that’s not what reading is ABOUT?
Well, I’ve not done a BTT for a while, but this one intrigued me, so I thought I’d share my thoughts.
Seeing as I love it when ‘real’ books do something different with layout, text and images (see how the ‘noise’ is represented in Patrick Ness’, Chaos Walking series, or the mix of art & text in Hugo Cabret, and while I’ve not read it yet (it only arrived today) the mix of story and photographs Ransom Riggs has utilised in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, has me really excited.
So, ebooks have the potential to do so much more, but I think it needs to come from the author’s initial concept, and be at all times apart of the books writing/development.
It’ll be all too easy, for publishers to stick stuff on as an afterthought or on the cheap, purely as a marketing thing. Think how often DVDs get standard, then premium editions, then suddenly pull an Ultimate edition out of the works. Just how many of the extras in later editions are truly worth it?
The other thing they have to be careful not to do, is, kill the imagination of the reader. The best books are the ones that grab the reader’s attention and sends their imaginations whirring. As a reader you need the freedom to develop your own thoughts and ideas.
Depending on the context the use of extras, should be optional, I could think of nothing worse than, being in that page flipping, just one more page mode, and then grinding to a halt, to click on a link, point your book at a webcam etc to continue reading. Sure, getting extra content is fantastic, but having too for no particular reason… Yeah, wouldn’t be good…
But then, the thought of what could be achieved by the right author, with the right idea, is a little bit mind-blowing.
What are your thoughts on what could be done?