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  • Vook Hires a Great Product Manager

    When Vook launched two years ago, the idea of putting videos in eBooks was radical – and debated. Now, the enhanced eBook marketplace is rich, diverse, and competitive. A year ago, people were surprised to find they could read on a tablet; now they’re looking for the most incredible tablet reading experience.

    As the largest publisher of enhanced book content, we’re focused on continuing to create best-in-class product experiences — such as our recent title “Zero” and our title on Osama Bin Laden published with ABC. And we need top level talent to do that – which is why we’ve added Product Manager Nick Ruffilo to our team.

    Nick comes to us from the BookSwim Corporation, where he was the chief technology officer. At BookSwim, Nick developed a revolutionary, disruptive eCommerce product that changed the way people purchase and read books. We hope he’ll do the same and more for us as he works to make our Vooks and our publishing platform better than ever.

    Nick’s worked in the financial sector, marketing communications and publishing — and  he’s been following Vook since we launched. He was drawn to us immediately. “I like building tools that people can really use,” he said. “And Vook is a tool that allows producers to make amazing content.”

    Nick has some incredible visions for Vook, but mostly he wants to ”take a great product and make it extraordinary.”

    We’re thrilled to welcome Nick, and we’re hoping you’re as excited as we are about the future of Vook!


    We are very excited to announce that Vook superstar Lizzy Ha, who was instrumental in developing our “Reckless Road” Vook among many other projects, is one of 12 winners in The New Yorker’s fourth Eustace Tilley contest.

    She said she has submitted designs since the contest started four years ago and beat more than 600 other people this year!

    “I’ve been participating since the beginning, so it’s become tradition to submit something each year,” Ha said.

    From everybody here at Vook, congratulations Lizzy! We are rooting for you to win the Grand Prize!

    Read the full article here here.

    1 part video, 1 part book, add some extra salt

    Recruiting a new team from scratch is one part of the start-up puzzle. A time lapse video would capture the manic experimentation that goes into this process; no recipe exists when the company you are building is in an entirely new category where there are no legacy practices to follow. All of which brings me to Vook. One part video, one part book and one part social media, all put together into a single experience. Imagine a Japanese chef working along side an Italian cook and a California cuisine expert, attempting to come up with a stew that we might all enjoy. The results could be a mess. Done right it is fusion. Here is where Chef Vook comes in; he/she is a creative and production specialist who knows books, understands video and has a feel for social media. Chef V collaborates with the film team and the book editor group to create this new experience.  At Vook, we have resolved that every Vook must have the sensibilities and direction of Chef Vook who can cook up the proper media mix, figure out the flow of text and video and offer a presentation that makes the Vook irresistible. The Vook team is growing fast, check out our priority openings here. We are looking for smart and passionate people who want to cook up some great Vooks.

    Brad Inman — Vook founder

    Found in Translation

    We’re serious book lovers at Vook – one of our producers just read 2666 between takes on a long shoot – but we also love, obsessively follow and make movies and online video. That expertise will set Vook apart from other e-book creators: We understand books and video culture. Now we’re combining those mediums into a new experience that will really make words pop.

    As we scour the Internet for inspiration, a few projects stand out. Once a week, we’re going to share some of these finds to give you a feel for how we’re thinking creatively. This week, we’ve got three examples of poetry that’s made the translation into the digital world. If a new, more visual take on the written word can get people caught up in a poem, anything’s possible.

    One of the most impressive efforts has to be ad agency DDB of London’s transformation of a recording of Richard Burton reading a Dylan Thomas poem into a car ad. Though it’s as sleek and of the moment as a music video, the ad’s focus is squarely and reverently on Thomas’s poetry. When we first saw the spot a few years ago, it was a great reminder that poetry can still give us shivers – and maybe sell a few cars.

    On the amateur side, we’ve long been following the work of Jim Clark, a London based videographer who produces fascinating poetry videos. Jim combines black and white photos of poets, many from the WWI generation, with audio recordings of the poet reading his work. He then subtly animates the photo’s mouth in time with the recording. The final result makes it look as if the photograph is reciting the poem. The effect, though stiff, is haunting, uncanny, and often deeply affecting. But allow us one (kind of major) complaint. Clark insists on putting a copyright and title card in big letters over the photographs, just as the poem begins. It really jars the experience. While we’re listening to the opening lines of “Dolce et Decorum Est” seemingly spoken by Wilfred Owen himself, we don’t want to be reading a copyright notice.

    Finally, we often return to the charming animations on Billy Collins Action Poetry. This site collects eleven video interpretations of Billy Collins’ poetry in one place. Every video is a treat – though make sure you don’t miss Jeff Scher’s swirling “No Time” or Julian Grey’s beautiful “Forgetfulness.”

    If poetry – that most lamented literary genre – can be turned into groundbreaking video content, then we at Vook have a lot of work ahead of us: there’s a whole universe of books out there, just waiting to be stunningly enhanced with video.

    WATCH: DDB’s VW Ad with Richard Burton reading Dylan Thomas

    WATCH: Jim Clark’s animated poets

    VISIT: Billy Collins Action Poetry

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