The Future Battle For Digital Readers Is Not iPad vs Kindle… It’s Vook vs. Book


A few months ago, with the launch of the iPad, the question on everybody’s mind was whether Apple was going to decimate the Kindle with a device that had nerds everywhere salivating with gadget lust.

On that day, Fresh Consulting office was abuzz as everybody gathered in the main space (described as the War Room from a previous post). The lights were dim, and voices were muted. In hushed expectation everybody gathered around a laptop to watch Apple make history. Fresh had 3 computers stations tracking the event – 2 were livestreaming it via attendees that were holding up their iPhones and others were watching the bloggers real time comments and pictures. Even two clients came to hang out and join the party and enjoy drinks and snacks. This was serious.

And I, old fashioned book lover that I am, am as thrilled with the potential of the iPad as everybody else.

I say this even though let me make one thing clear: I love physical books. I love the weight of them in my hand, love the feel of turning pages with my fingers, love the dusty smell of standing in an independent bookstore looking for forgotten treasures.

But… even with all that, I also want to carry a library in my purse. Want the security of knowing that any time I’m standing in the DMV line, or on the airplane, or getting my prescription filled I have access to pretty much any book ever published in the Western World for the last 100 years. And I want it in 60 seconds. Or less.

So, if somebody like me wants a digital eReader… well can I just say–paper is pretty much toast. Going the way of vinyl records. (Yes, somebody will always want those, but it won’t be the majority. This is also true because publishing houses as they exist today simply can’t survive financially under the current model. I mean, when’s the last time you spent $25 on a hardback?)

But all the talk seems to be about which will win out–iPad or a Kindle? Sony Reader vs. Barnes and Noble’s nook? Potatoe or potato? But to me the reading revolution is really more about–do you want your reading experience to be interactive (as in vooks–a combination of video and books) or is the fun of reading seeing text and using your own imagination?

Soon you’ll be probably get an interactive book experience on all eReaders. Because even though Amazon has had a couple of P.R. um… (how shall I say this politely?)… missteps lately what with eliminating the book 1984, and holding publishers hostage to the $9.99 eBook price, Jeff Bezos is one sharp cookie. Most likely his own amazing version of vooks will be offered on the Kindle and announced shortly. (And IMHO–hopefully a sleeker design. That cheap white plastic has got to go!)

So I’m torn… already some of my favorite authors are happily putting together vooks to tell their story. They are doing this because ultimately people read books to feel emotions, or to gain knowledge, and using music and images is a great way to expand on that experience.

When our Fresh team adds videos to a website often they can do more for the message in that 1-2 minutes than pages of text and hundreds of still pictures could ever convey. I get that! I really do. But would my favorite books be the same if the images weren’t all created in my own head? On a rainy day am I going to curl up by the fire with Peppermint tea and …turn on the show?


Kate London