Thursday, June 16, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - Interactive

This is the question of the week over at the Booking Through Thursday blog:
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?
I've got mixed views on this subject actually. I'm expected to sell e-readers and e-books as well as paper books, and I love my e-reader. I also love my paper book collection (both hard and soft cover). To me the E-book popularity has its' advantages (and quite a few of them), such as the availability of titles. There's no more "not available in stores" or "sold out" on books that are e-books.

Also, some of the features that are available now - the built-in dictionary in the Kobo, for example are great, and the way it keeps track of page numbers in multiple books. At the same time though, the current generation of e-readers to my knowledge still have issues with things like footnotes/endnotes. That is one place where I'd like to have more interactivity.

For the most part though, the features mentioned in this question are ones that I can't see much use in - music, videos, etc (aside from say biographies of musicians, dancers, movies stars and the like). My own imagination is plenty good enough, at least for novels. The idea of glossaries that you can flip back and forth to easily is like properly done footnotes though. That's one I'd like to see.

The other thing I've found about e-books that I don't like is that once you've bought the book, you're stuck with it. If you don't like it after all, that's too bad. With paper books, you can pass them on - to a friend, or to a used book-store or the like. The latter is the one I do the most, and get a lot of books in return. All of which relates to something that MizB notes in her answer to the same question on her blog, Should Be Reading, about the eventual fate of used bookstores - something I hope never happens.
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