by Gwyn Headley
It’s not on the market yet, but we can do it now. All we need is the content.
As ebooks stand at the moment, they offer less than conventional books do. You can’t get anything from an ebook you can’t get from a paperback at a fiftieth of the price (once you include the hardware). The big advantage is search/indexing, not particularly relevant to fiction, the major ebook market. As yet, there is no killer app.
But when ebooks get color, there’s no reason why the images that now grace illustrated books shouldn’t just be still pictures. There will be mini-movie and sound clips embedded in the text.
Imagine a travel book with the sounds and bustle of a Hong Kong market; a bird book which shows the distinctive jizz (behaviour pattern) of each bird as well as letting you hear its song; a D-I-Y book where you could actually see how to apply putty; a cookery book with techniques clearly demonstrated — the method of carving a shoulder of lamb, for example — or a history book with a WWI tank lumbering over the trenches.
That would make the purchase of the ebook as reading tool worthwhile.
fotoLibra’s holding company is called VisConPro Ltd. It stands for VISual CONtent PROvision. At the moment ebooks are almost solely sourced from unillustrated texts, because today’s ebooks can only handle 16 shades of grey. I had a computer like that in 1983. So the publishers are currently providing content simply as text — TEXtual CONtent PROvision.
We have the images. We can shortly have the movie clips, on the same basis that grew fotoLibra from a dream to 300,000 images online. We can collaborate with a publisher to produce a few sample titles and a snappy generic name. Alas, Prentice Hall already has Active Book.
It’s perfectly possible to create any of this content right now. All we need is for Kindle to add colour and Quick Time compatibility.
THEN as a consumer I will be thrusting my dollars into Mr. Bezos’s ever-open palm.
And as a Visual Content Provider I expect Amazon will be doing the same to me in return.