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  • Vooking in a Grand Tradition

    I was just reading a fascinating post on the great e-book blog TeleRead about the real reasons those of us involved with digital publishing should be discussing Henry Louis Gates—forget the political rumpus, in short, and recall that Gates is one of the foremost scholars of the Public Domain. You can read the whole post here. But while reading that post I noticed a link to “Wired for Books”—a site I’d seen before but had never really investigated. “Wired for Books” is a stark, plain, to the point collection of author interviews in .mp3 format from Ohio University. Don Swaim, who hosted the radio program Book Beat, conducts the interviews and they’re uniformly excellent. It’s a useful site with a real purpose—and another reason I can’t wait to get more and more titles for Vook. Once we have books opened up to the world of the Internet, we can begin to link to compelling content like this and really expand the value of the book without getting in the way of the story or the experience—and without requiring the user to put the book down, go to the computer, check out a site, come back to the book, etc. The experience will be compressed and easily accessible. Sites like “Wired for Books” will only benefit from the streams of new listeners Vook can deliver, and each Vook will become more richly engaged with the digital world we spend so much time in now.

    I remember recording an audio lecture once with the writer H.W. Brands on Benjamin Franklin. Brands made the point that every town Franklin moved to he always tried to improve—opening stores, printing presses, cultivating a social scene for intellectual discussion—and he did this first and foremost so that he would live in a place that he enjoyed. I see Vook as doing the same thing for the almost endless town of the Internet—it’s our effort to get books into a format where I can do all the things I want with them that right now just aren’t available.

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    5. Books in the post-PC world

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