Multimedia e-books for the iPad

From The New York Times, an article highlighting new releases in e-books — but you need an iPad to read these “enriched” offerings.

Published: July 29, 2010
Like DVDs, electronic books for the iPad are now being loaded with extras, including video clips that are integrated with text.

The new multimedia books use video that is integrated with text, and they are best read — and watched — on an iPad, the tablet device that has created vast possibilities for book publishers.

The start-up company Vook pioneered the concept as a mobile application and for the Web in 2009, but with the iPad, traditional publishers are taking the multimedia book much more seriously.

“It’s a wide-open world,” said Molly Barton, the director of business development for Penguin. “You can show readers the world around the books that they’re reading.”

Simon & Schuster has taken the best-selling “Nixonland,” (click here for a video preview) first published in hardcover in 2008 in a whopping 896 pages, and scattered 27 videos throughout the e-book. One video is a new interview with Mr. Perlstein, conducted by Bob Schieffer, the chief Washington correspondent for CBS News. Most are news clips from events described in the book, including the Nixon-Kennedy debates in 1960 and public reaction to the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Simon & Schuster is a division of the CBS Corporation.)

Each video clip, embedded in the page, starts to play with a simple tap of the iPad screen. After pausing to watch a video, the user can go back to reading the book.

Ellie Hirschhorn, the chief digital officer for Simon & Schuster, said the intent was to use the video sparingly, at points that seemed natural to the story, so that it wouldn’t overwhelm readers.

“We set out to tell stories in a multimedia way, and to take advantage of the new technical features that allow great stories to be told,” Ms. Hirschhorn said. “It is still a reading experience.”

Grand Central Publishing, part of Hachette, released an “enriched” e-book version of Mr. Baldacci’s latest novel, “Deliver Us From Evil,” in April to coincide with the hardcover release. The e-book producers borrowed from the film industry and included “research photos taken by the author, deleted scenes from the manuscript, an alternate ending and other special features,” Hachette announced in March. Penguin’s edition of Mr. Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” comes with video clips from an eight-part television series based on the book.