Video Books: The Next Big Thing?

The print world has revolutionized again, this time at the hands of Harper Collins and in the form of video books. No, it's not an audiobook with visuals, nor is it an e-book. Video books consist of people talking about a book into a camera. Sounds thrilling, no?

The first such video book spawns from Jeff Jarvis's What Would Google Do?, an account of how businesses must "evolve in the Google era." The video is on sale today for $9.99. Jarvis doesn't give a full account of What Would Google Do?, but rather summarizes the book's contents in 23 minutes. He speaks directly to the camera against a white background.

Will the v-book industry take off? It's hard to tell. E-books, though popular, haven't reached print's success. Part of the reason is that e-book readers, like Amazon's Kindle sell for high prices and have limited applications (most notably lacking: color). Another reason is that despite our willingness to do most of our reading online, consumers are still hesitant to read an entire book on a computer screen.

So here come v-books, providing audio and visual stimulation. But 23 minutes? I'd much rather invest in the audio book. At least then I get the full picture rather than a $10 video of the book's author summarizing content.

In theory, v-books are an interesting concept. In practice--at least right now--v-books are half-baked and barely appealing to anyone who appreciates value or a good read.

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