Dumb Name, Cool Idea: “Vook” Video-Enhanced Books For iPod Touch, iPhone


A sample page from thriller vook "Embassy"

Publishing house Simon & Schuster  just launched a new product dubbed “vook,”  a dumb name for what sounds like a smart video book.

The idea? Vooks blend text and video into a reading and viewing experience, so the next time you’re not really getting a sense of place from a novel, or want to see how exercises are done you can watch a video. It’s also got all of the social media trappings, so you can discuss, rant etc. about the vook, (pronounced to ryhme with book), too.

The first four titles, available for $4.99  each on iTunes, are workout book “The 90-Second Fitness Revolution,” a book of DIY spa treatments called “Return to Beauty,” a thriller by Richard Doetsch called “Embassy” and romance novella “Promises.”

Check out a video of the inevitable plantation in bodice buster "Promises" with vook.
Check out a video of the inevitable plantation in bodice buster "Promises."

Each ebook, pardon vook, has between 85 – 130 pages of text and 13-17 professionally-made videos, some integrated in the text, others run along the bottom as a separate menu.

The idea is timely — Apple recently launched a similar enhanced eBook called “Mayhem” that also came with an original soundtrack and clips — but it may work better for some genres than others.

The video enhancement is a great plus for how-to books,  while the video-enhanced romance novel (check out the brand-new period costumes and gauzy filters), leaves me cold.