Interesting article, although I STILL dislike the idea of books going all multimedia. Dave Farland even goes as far as to say that they will becime the dominant form of the novel one day. Videos and games in a book, what's happening to peoples' imaginations? We can't possibly become a society that only gets gratification from visual media.
Edited to add:
And I can't help but think that the whole concept is sorely half-a**ed. If I want a movie I watch a movie. The same goes for comic books or video games. And has someone even thought about the production costs of these? This model doesn't seem viable. And I am not sure if you can call it a book.
Sorry if this sounds like a rant.
[This message has been edited by Foste (edited May 12, 2011).]
[This message has been edited by Foste (edited May 12, 2011).]
quote:We can't possibly become a society that only gets gratification from visual media.
My son, who is 21 months, loves his videos.
He used to sit on momma's lap for an hour straight as they tore through his bookshelf. Now he points at the DVD player and the laptop.
The thing is, we've been very careful as to not letting this happen for the reason of your statement.
He gets one video a day. Whether it's Pooh, or Cookie Monster. The rest of the day is books and activities. But sure enough each time we read a Pooh book, or invariably hum one of those catchy Pooh tunes, he runs to the DVD player and starts whining.
Now, we manage to tear him away eventually with the types of distractions a 21 month old can handle. "Ooh, look at this!" But it definitely speaks to your question.
I know eventually we'll strike a balance. Probably as soon as he fully understands the word no. (Like when he's 30) So, I'm not too worried, but I'll admit it's a little frustrating to have him get so excited over the videos.
My kids love the TV too. But they are better with books now. It helps that my oldest is learning to read. It makes the other two want to at least turn the pages and look at the pictures.
Digital music downloads didn't replace the CD, so I hope books are never fully trplaced. If the book is replaced and something ever happens to change our electronic way of life, how many great stories would be forever lost. And then what will anyone do for fun?
I don't own an ereader and still only read paperbooks. I am not against them, but I prefer my books to be... well books.
Story development in Video games is so complex now that I see no reason to start merging them with books (same goes for movies). There is an appeal to all three.
Us parents just have to be careful with what we allow, axe is doing it right. We need to limit TV time and promote activities that activate the imagination. The TV has become a babysitter for many.
I am going to disagree with Mr Farland on what will be the dominant way of distribution for the written word.
Sure, electronic publishing does effect the literary market. It is driving down the value of the creative side of the industry, mostly because the supply of material and new authors breaking into the market has flooded it (thank the internet for that). But the quantitative value of the printed word and the book makes it unique from similar creative outlets like music.
Music you just listen too. Aside from minor issue such as the quality of the delivery system, how you receive your music matters little as long as it reaches your ear. Therefore the cheapest and easiest way to get your tunes will beat out the more expensive and restrictive everytime. Itunes in, record stores out. Why pay 15 bucks for 10 songs when you can buy them the one or two your only interested in and load them on your Ipad?
Books are different. Books you can collect, pick up, take your time reading. You can set it aside on your nightstand or stuff it in your purse so you can read it on a plane. It doesn't require batteries or an electrical cord to use. Written words spark an imagination more than ordinary sound or moving pictures ever could. There is nothing like opening and holding onto a book. Have you ever tried to read a novel on a screen? Not as friendly as turning a page. I understand kindle comes close but kindles can lose memory. I think books will continue to dominate the literary industry until the price of paper makes it too expensive for the average customer
quote:There is nothing like opening and holding onto a book.
Even though I own an ebook reader, I agree there is something to holding a real book: flipping through its pages, dog-earing a page when you can't find your bookmark, even using it as a paper weight on a windy day. But newer generations which are increasingly exposed to e-formats might never miss it because they might never know it.
I miss the days of albums, when CDs (and even LPs)came with that nice little insert detailing a band's experience in creating the full collection of songs, each song contributing to the whole work. Now music comes piecemeal, like only getting to pick and choose how many square inches of the Mona Lisa you want to look at. I might lament it, but I'm sure it makes no difference to the new generation that thinks music only comes from the iTunes store.
Stories used to be oral histories, memorized from one generation to the next. The storyteller used to be a vital role in a tribal society. Then writing changed it all. And here we are now, mulling over multimedia platforms for novels
PS Speaking of storytellers, I highly recommend watching Jim Henson's The Storyteller series which aired in the late 80s.
My nephew really likes books on tape. He doesn't do much actual reading, but he'll get out his iPhone and listen to the books his dad helps him get. So far he's listened to Alcatraz, The Hobbit, Narnia, and several others.
I think it's a good alternative to either reading or watching TV.
IMO, the reason multimedia books won't be the big deal Farland thinks is that a good multimedia book costs a lot of money to produce. Converting a manuscript to any e-book format is relatively easy. If you're not comfortable doing a digital cover, just think how difficult it would be for an author to put in video clips and pictures and audio.
Perhaps for textbooks, kids books and non-fiction, it might be fine if you've got the money, but for fiction, why don't you go all the way and create a movie?*said sarcastically and not at all seriously*
There will be a place in the new market for hybrid solutions - basically those authors who were visual to begin with and either have artistic talent (many do) or have friends who are artistic (many do) may branch out in that area. I have a ton of ideas for what kinds of interactive content I could put into my ebooks. I design eLearning software for a living, this is air and water to me. Whether I can/want to actually put that into the work I do and whether I can find the person who knows how to handle the technical hurdles related to putting the interactive content together into a package that would work on the iPad/etc. - definitely a big unknown. But as a visual-spatial person, I can totally see this area as an interesting one.
But it's not the future of publishing yet.
God talking about this in writer's group tonight and as much as people thought TV would be the death of radio and/or movies, those prognostications proved to be premature. Sure, record stores are a rarity these days, but analogies tend to break down at some point. My main suggestion is that the publishing industry is changing. Publishers do not seem to be catching onto this. There are some really really interesting innovators (Amazon, Barnes/Noble) and some interesting opportunities (multimedia books) but there's still plenty of room for regular old books. I do think ebook readers will take over a big chunk of the market because they offer a convenience and simplicity to readers and those who are looking for those aspects to their reading will gravitate toward the devices, but there will still and always be physical books, they aren't going away.
But I wouldn't put my fortune in paper futures, either....
Visual stimulation is the most powerful one for human beings. It's probably due to evolution; our ancestors had to be on the lookout for predators.
Reading books takes mental effort. One reads letters and words, turns them into a picture in their mind and they have to constantly maintain that picture. It is hard work. Most of us here have experience in that area so it has become easier for us but most people still see reading as only an effort.
Watching videos take considerably less effort than reading, that's why it's so popular with lazy people.
quote:Watching videos take considerably less effort than reading, that's why it's so popular with lazy people.
There are so many people who can't even manage that.
quote:If you're not comfortable doing a digital cover, just think how difficult it would be for an author to put in video clips and pictures and audio.
I agree with that a lot. If I could design video, or paint, I would. But I can't even decide what I would want my cover art to look like, let alone add all this other multimedia.
I paint the picture with my words. I think part of the joy of a good book is that it can paint a different picture for different people (and at different times for the same people).
One time I took a passage I wrote and gave it to two different artists. I asked them to draw what I had written. The goal was for me to see if I had described the scene the way I wanted. Both artists drew two amazing scenes but neither was what I had in mind.
So I think reading a picture book should be reserved for those that enjoy the pictures. A little cover art and maybe a map on the inside is all I need for a good book.