The Future of Digital Books?

I recently reread the Wall Street Journal article “The Digital Future of Books” by L. Gordon Crovitz. I was looking for guidelines to help me describe what a Vook is. Even though we’re building the product, it’s still tricky to articulate exactly what Vook is going to do for books — and someone has to do something for books. As a recent Onion piece joked, “90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing Rectangles.” The Internet, with its trove of instantly accessible content, is pulling more people away from books than even television could. But in his article, Crovitz makes the excellent point that books and the Internet have a lot in common – not in terms of the content and entertainment and information they provide, but in terms of their structure and the way we use them. As Crovitz writes, “The book introduced a disciplined way of thinking about topics, organized around contents, pages, indexing, citation and bibliography. These are the root of Web structure as well.” A few sentences earlier, he quotes from “Print is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age” where author Jeff Gomez writes, “What’s going to be transformed isn’t just the reading of one book, but the ability to read a passage from practically any book that exists, at any time that you want to, as well as the ability to click on hyperlinks, experience multimedia, and add notes and share passages with others.”

What I’ve realized is that Vook fulfills that promise. It’s one of the main things I need to stress when I try to describe Vook. Ebooks have yet to take advantage of the vast universe of the Internet. But Vook will—it’s going to stuff access to the Web into the context of a book. At the same time, it’s going to break books out of their binding and bring them to life in the world where our information lives. It’s the world where our music and videos and pictures and friends live – it’s the world where we live – and thanks to Vook we’re going to be able to bring our books into it too.

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