E-books of the latest generation are so brand new that publishers can’t agree on what to call them.
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An “enhanced” “Nixonland” arrives Thursday.
In the spring Hachette Book Group called its version, by David Baldacci, an “enriched” book. Penguin Group released an “amplified” version of a novel by Ken Follett last week. And on Thursday Simon & Schuster will come out with one of its own, an “enhanced” e-book version of “Nixonland” by Rick Perlstein.
All of them go beyond the simple black-and-white e-book that digitally mirrors its ink-and-paper predecessor. 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,” 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.