Amazon slips video into Apple's e-books
Print is so 20th Century
Kindle books will now come with embedded video and audio content, but only for those who eschewed the Kindle hardware for Apple's iOS alternatives.
Punters who bought Amazon's own e-book-reading hardware won't be able to enjoy the multimedia-enhanced editions - only those running the Kindle software on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch will be able to enjoy writing with the addition of moving pictures and sound.
Amazon has long viewed the Kindle as a software platform rather than a piece of hardware, only launching its own device because it considered existing devices ineffective for reading. But Apple has apparently changed that, so Amazon is now free to stick sounds and chunks of video into electronic books, even if it means those who shelled out for Kindle hardware are left in a technical dead end.
Some of the additions make sense – Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song obviously benefits from an audio component, but we're not convinced that parents should leaving the singing of lullabies to their iPad.
Since CD-ROM was launched computers have desperately been stuffing sounds and (moving) pictures into books in the hope that the addition of multimedia would make up for critical failures in the reading experience. But while it's easy (and often entertaining) to sneer, lighter hardware, better screens and longer-lasting batteries have reduced those critical issues to something more manageable.
500MB editions of Wired aren't a revolution in reading – that's technology for its own sake – but it's hard to argue that a book about birdsong isn't enhanced with a little audio. It's just a shame that Amazon had to shaft its loyal, hardware-buying customer base to do it. ®
How long before "free" e-books with adverts? Each new chapter - or every 20 pages, say - you have to sit through a 2 minute advert?
> but we're not convinced that parents should leaving the singing of lullabies to their iPad.
Well, I don't see how it's different compared to the numerous toys out there that sings lullabies to babies, or indeed musical mobiles or wind-up/pull-string crib music boxes that many of us grew up with.
The one with the antique pull-string bunny in the pocket, thanks.
Have to agree it's not "shafting" anyone to add multimedia to those devices capable of using it, although the Kindle itself is capable of playing MP3s (and audiobooks) so there's at least *some* capability for audio media there. The *real* question is, do the PC/Mac-based Kindle readers also have access to the enhancements?
E-ink displays are definitely easier on the eyes, given enough light to read by. I have a Kindle and an iPad, and will use either one depending on the situation. Since they sync up and jump to the place where I left off, switching from one to another is no problem.