Friday, November 12, 2010

The Libroid ... our future?

Like it or not, the future of books appears to be on the computer screen. Amazon U.S. said this year (2010) it was selling 143 e-books for every 100 hard copies. According to the International Digital Publishing Forum, e-book sales in the U.S. amounted to $88.7 million in the second quarter of 2010. In the same period five years earlier they were barely $3 million.

As if I was not already having difficulty keeping up with technological trends in reading, writing and publishing, I came across something new (well, new to me) called a Libroid. Basically it appears to be a multimedia EBook. According to the website, it includes still and moving images, noises, sound bites, audio recordings, sheet music, graphics, and maps. You can underline, take notes, and mark pages at will. If you are connected to the internet, you can add links and share your notes with others. In addition, there are notes in the left and right columns where you can find out about the text's finer details, for example, definitions of unfamiliar words or places.

Even more interesting is the creator's vision that authors will write "round books", books without end, because authors can add to their books even after publication. This, of course, flies in the face of traditional teachings about developing a book and planning a beginning, middle and an end. Personally, I cannot imagine many tasks more daunting than writing a book that was expected to continue indefinitely. How would we avoid inconsistencies, keep the characters interesting and the plot exciting 105 chapters into the story?

I believe that it currently only runs on Apple's iPad tablet computer, but has anyone actually used one of these things? I would love to hear a review.


Charles Gramlich said...

At this time I'm not really intrested in reading "round" books. the multimedia thing sounds interesting although for me it would never be something I'd get into. I can see the younger generation getting into it. Unfortunately, it further blurs the 'important' distance between books and movies.

Carol Mitchell said...

I have to agree that I don't see "round" books being more than a passing fad. Even the reader must get frustrated and a bit lost at some point.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Sounds interesting. I wouldn't mind having one. I don't think it would really replace other forms of books, but it would certainly add a new dimension to books and reading.

Unknown said...

I actually like the "round" book idea. I would love to write for that format. It seems like it would be a soap opera, which I always had an interest to write.

Liane Spicer said...

Sounds horrible to me, but then, I'm resistant to cyber books.

As for those statistics, Amazon and other promoters of e-books and the Kindle, Nook and such love to quote them to demonstrate how the e-book is making print obsolete. What they don't give are the real stats: that e-book sales have increased dramatically in 2010 but still make up only 5% of the market. That makes me smile, Luddite that I am.