Thursday, October 21, 2010

BOOO! Dracula Might Spook Book Publishers As It Shows Off What Enhanced Books Can Do

Dracula: The Official Stoker Family Edition, went on sale in the iStore yesterday, promising a Halloween rush for a lot of iPad-toting “book” readers into the new world of enhanced books.

The video and web sites promoting the book show an exciting and fun new technology bringing a spooky classic into the hands-on, interactive digital age.  Unlike an old fashioned book or even an "old fashioned" ebook, Dracula for the iPad is an interactive game, a work of literature, and hours of entertainment.

The digital gimmicks pulling the reader into the story will have readers shouting, "Hey, look at this!" to friends as the very personal iPad lures anyone sitting near the iPad owner for a peek.

“If it looks like you can move it, move it,” says Jeffrey Schecter of PadWorx, the company that created the book. “If it look like you can touch it, touch it.”

And you'll have to get involved. 

A section of the text that requires a lit match to illuminate the words is hidden until the reader touches the screen. Ta-da! A match!  The words are visible!  Elsewhere, you have to blow on the iPad screen to scatter leaves obscuring the words on a tombstone.  And then there are the rats.   More about the rats in a moment.

The trailer for Dracula on YouTube is an eye-opening plunge into what offers to be the future of books, or at least some books.  

The original text by Bram Stoker has been “lovingly abridged,” says the cover of Dracula. Perhaps the “slower parts” not so amenable to multi-media shenanigans fell to the cutting room floor. Stoker's heirs signed off on the book, so they must be satisfied with the cuts.

The English language is going to have to strain a bit as to what one does with such a multi-media item like Dracula, now showing on iPads.

Do you read it? Watch it? Listen to it? Is it still a “book” or do we need a new name for it? And what about the rats?


Well, it seems the reader has to “paw” the screen a bit to chase the rats away. There's no relaxing, though, because readers will have to keep dealing with the rats as the story progresses.

Dracula incorporates gaming technology, bringing the tricks and treats of Dracula to life.

Of course, Dracula is being interactively promoted on the web at its own official site, in the iStore, and even on YouTube.

The only piece of the exhumed Dracula that Amazon has its teeth into so far is the sound track of 16 songs, for $7.99 in the Amazon store for the album or 99 cents a bite for each of 15 of the songs. “We've Got Something” by Adaline isn't available individually on Amazon, but is included in the full album.

The San Francisco Chronicle got a closer look at Dracula before the release, and published its take on the book yesterday.

In mid-September, PadWorx, Dracula's “maker” announced it planned a series of interactive books for tablet PCs.  No word (yet) as to which book is next.

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