Vook and the Future of Books

picture-26Last December I had lunch with Brad Inman in Berkeley. Brad is the founder of HomeGain and Inman News and TurnHere, among other things. He’s very smart and unlike many successful entrepreneurs not at all pompous or full of himself. As we were talking about a range of things he told me that he’d written a kind of multi-media novel and articulated his vision of where he thought book publishing was headed. I was immediately impressed by his versatility. Indeed, the novel is in a way is a proof of concept of the medium he is imagining.

The folks at TurnHere had filmed scenes for the book that would be incorporated into the text and could be played like video clips associated with a news story. Inman said that with the rise of eBooks and handheld electronic readers that this was one way forward for publishers. He also argued that it was inevitable that books would become multi-media experiences. In a way it’s not unlike audio books, just slightly more expensive to produce. (There are lots of interesting questions raised by this vision: pricing, production, advertising, etc.).

Today’s NY Times profiles the new startup that Inman has created around his vision: Vook. (Video + book = Vook.) Community is also in there as a part of the experience. TurnHere is a partner with Simon & Shuster on book videos TV. It’s not that much of a leap from there to where Inman is headed.

I spoke to Inman several years ago when he had just gone public with TurnHere after laying the groundwork and creating the filmmaker infrastructure in secret for a couple of years. I was immediately impressed and saw the potential of what he was doing. I put him on a conference panel in the Spring of  2006, when I was still at Kelsey. It was a breakout session, opposite a discussion of sales channels. I moderated the session and we had the smaller number of attendees. A year or so later, video was the hottest topic at this conference.

It’s clear that  Inman has been well ahead of the curve more than once. With Vook, that’s probably true once again.

6 Responses to “Vook and the Future of Books”

  1. Lucas Maxwell Says:

    I’m surprised you don’t mention Yudu Media anywhere and neither does the NY Times article. Is it because you’re not aware of it or is this just avoidance.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Wasn’t aware.

  3. eveda Says:

    Video + book = EBook Trailer

  4. Matthew Says:

    Greg,

    Thanks for this post on Vook — back in April! We really appreciate you taking the time to think through Vook and its implications. Please contact me at Matthew [at] Vook [dot] com for more information. We’re gearing up to really get moving soon and we want to have you onboard with us.

    Please sign up for our beta if you haven’t already at:
    http://vook.com/

    And follow us on Twitter — we’re actually interesting and useful!
    http://twitter.com/vooktv

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