Posted by Roz Lee in Writer's Life on 17-04-2012
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a workshop on the future of the publishing industry given by J.A. Konrath and Blake Crouch at the RT (Romantic Times) Booklovers Convention in Chicago. The two successfully self-published authors had much to say regarding the current state of affairs, as one might suspect they would, but what struck me, the thing that made me realize my head was stuck in my…I mean…the sand, was their take on the possibilities for interactive multimedia ebooks.
We’re talking enhanced ebooks here. The technology is available now. I have to admit, it all sounds very exciting, but is the world really ready for the kind of books these two were talking about? Especially in regards to erotic romance and erotica? Let me explain.
Imagine this – an erotic romance with user interfaces. Videos, music, games, perhaps even a video clip from the author talking about her/his book. Perhaps even access to a live chat with other readers or the author. And get this…ads. Yes, advertisements – inside your book. It would be much like commercial television where the program/book is free, because the ads pay for the content. Maybe it would be a single ad slipped in between chapters or a series of ads tacked onto the front or back. Thanks to technology and the ever-expanding database regarding our personal buying habits, these could be tailored to the individual reader; linking them instantly to items they may be interested in purchasing. Think – fan stuff, T-shirts, action toys, gray ties for the fans of Shades of Grey. For my Lothario series books, it could be links to cruise travel deals or hedonistic resorts. The possibilities are endless. A free book for clicking through a few advertisements. Not a bad trade off – perhaps.
But lets get back to the fun stuff. I like to think of myself as a creative person. I write, so therefore, I create. I’ve even done a few book trailers that aren’t half-bad, IMHO. But the idea of one of my erotic romances, or heavens, my erotica stories enhanced by an actual video, AKA, a movie version, makes me blush! Okay, so the only authors who could probably afford to create this sort of eBook are the E.L. James’ of the world, but still…
Maybe a lowly erotic romance author like me could do something less dramatic. Perhaps I could add music to my book – like a movie or television show where the music suits the mood of the scene. Some doom and gloom music for the dark moments when the hero and heroine are at odds and we think they will never solve their problems and get together, then some ooh-la-la music when they finally do! Wouldn’t that be fun!
How about sound effects? Your couple is walking on the beach and in the background we hear the ocean waves crashing against the sand. Or perhaps in a suspense we hear the sound of bullets popping when someone tries to off the hero. You get the idea. Would we go so far as to use ‘canned’ laughter where we want our reader to chuckle at something our character said or did?
Think this is Sci-fi? Check out Simon & Schuster’s new venture, VOOK. http://bit.ly/HIo6Yf. I think this would be fabulous for how-to books. Need someone to show you how to unclog your drain or change the oil in your car? Watch and follow along. How awesome would it be to work side-by-side with a great chef to prepare a meal in your own kitchen?
Think this isn’t for romance? Have a look at the video enhanced version of Promises by Jude Devereaux. http://bit.ly/HIo5n0. I’m not sure little old me could manage this in my self-published eBooks, but it’s nice to think about. Perhaps I could manage something like this interview with Teresa Medeiros to replace the About the Author section. http://www.simonandschuster.com/multimedia?video=1275073049001
I really like the idea of instant chat for readers, provided of course you have a number of people reading the book at the same time. It would be a sort of online book club – but the members would shift every time you picked up another book to read. How cool would that be? You would still have a book club to discuss what you’ve read, but you would only read the books you wanted to read. No more slogging through something you don’t like just because the group voted to read it.
What this all amounts to is books becoming apps in their own right. I’m not very tech savvy, but I find the whole thing very interesting and exciting. To say the publishing industry is changing would be a huge understatement. But what surprises me most about all of this, is, with the exception of Simon and Schuster, it seems the big publishing houses are ignoring this new, expanding market. For the most part, it seems that the people on the cutting edge of this technology are the self-published authors. They’re the ones willing to experiment with the technology and to see if there is an audience for this type of thing.
What do you think? Would you like to see any of these type of books on your ereader? Curious minds want to know!