The Future of eBooks … my vision

I’ve been pondering whether or not to get a Kindle since I heard about the latest wifi or 3G version … so long in fact that both my parents have now passed me and got one each! I may not have such a device, but I have shown them how to connect them to their home wireless broadband and download books.

I am still unsure as to if, not when, I will get a Kindle. My reason is that I have installed the Kindle app for my iPhone and can download and read Kindle books like that, as well as link it the the Whispersync system and read them on my laptop (should I wish). I am toying with an iPad, which will also use the Kindle for iPhone app, therefore continue my reading in this medium … which is where a tablet eReader will outperform an eInk one. Let me explain.

This thought first came to me from my work and reading around the use of QR Codes in education, where a QR Code is displayed in the paper-version of the academic textbook so the student can find online video or web links of the content / theory / etc the chapter or page is currently explaining. What if this is ported to non-fiction and fiction books as well? You could have an interactive version of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” where you could:

  • link to maps of the city where the characters have just arrived (ancient as well as current maps, Google maps anyone?),
  • images and video of the different areas where they find themselves,
  • video clips of film version of the book (1956 & 2004, as well as Michael Palin’s BBC adventure in 1989),
  • link to explanations of language and dialects that may be difficult to understand their meaning

Well, why not?

Here’s a few suggestions for the kind of content I see in something like ‘Around the World in 80 Days’:

[Note: images I’d previously loaded here were lost when I migrated the blog to a new server. The were mock-ups of a digital screen showing the text of the ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ book, hyperlinks and expandable margins with notes, videos, geo-location data, etc. all particularly noted for the section/chapter of the book, the character on the page, the history of the city, method of transport, etc. I’m sad these images have been lost as the perfectly showcased  this idea.]

For new books it would be harder to be written without a back-up team generating and finding the copyright to the various different digital elements you wanted to use, and for the publication of older books (like the Around the World in 80 Days’ I downloaded for free) would be costly for not much return … but just think what it could do for the younger readers, it could really bring a story alive, in the original text (not cut-down film version), in a more modern & multi-media way.

  • Update: May 6th, 2011

This is the kind of thing I was talking about in the original post here – a ‘new’ eBook standard demonstrated by PushPopPress;

Al Gore’s Our Choice Guided Tour from Push Pop Press on Vimeo.