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Vooks: What are they, and where are they headed? A recap for writers as Anne Rice's new vook debuts.

With the new digital release of vampire queen Anne
Rice’s 1984 story “The Master of Rampling Gate” today, the question arises for
some readers and writers: What exactly is a Vook? Moreover, does it maybe even have a shot at becoming the new go-to book somewhere down the line?

Essentially, a vook combines video elements with
text—plus links and social media—to create a format that can be accessed
through a computer or mobile device. Last year, the company launched its first
series of vooks in collaboration with Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins and
others, and a slew of new projects are in the works. We checked in with Vook
founder Bradley Inman for the May/June issue of WD to see where he thinks the
medium is heading.

How fast do you see the
format growing?

We are growing very quickly and plan
to release 750 titles in 2010. With the introduction of MotherVook, a new
technology platform that we've developed, the process of creating a vook will
be incredibly streamlined. This will allow us to take the author's text and
professionally shot video, and create the final vook product very quickly and
cost effectively.

Are the days of the traditional book on their way out? 

The publishing platform is
fundamentally changing; innovation will drive a new era of multimedia books,
creating a more compelling experience and value for the reader. But I don't see
traditional books necessarily on their way out, because the industry is
innovating and finding new ways to distribute authors’ content. It’s just about
offering consumers more choices and letting them decide what they like the

Do vooks work better for one genre or another?

Vooks are offered in a variety of
genres; we've found that augmenting text with video for how-to books like Return
to Beauty
and 90-Second Fitness
creates an unparalleled
reading experience. The multimedia elements also lend themselves really well to
what we like to call cookvooks.
With fiction titles, videos really allow readers to visualize settings and
characters and have a more immersive experience. Education is an area we are
very interested in and excited about. We believe vooks can greatly increase the
learning experience in the classroom.

What’s the typical process for a writer making a vook?

The author works with the publisher,
their agent or at times directly with us to finalize their text, and then they
work closely with one of our professional filmmakers to set a vision for the
videos and integrate them within chapters. Then our technology combines the
text, video and links into a multimedia vook. It's an entirely new creative
collaborative experience and we are just at the beginning of seeing where it
will go.

* * *


Feel free to take the following prompt home or post your
response (500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section
below. By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our occasional
around-the-office swag drawings. If you’re having trouble with the captcha code
sticking, e-mail your story to me at,
with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll make sure it gets up.

Your father made the chair when he was a boy, and it’s
gotten rickety. Preparing to finally throw it away, you flip it over to carry it to
the trash, and notice a message etched in with a knife.


Learn how to help your writing career survive—and grow—in
the current economy. Break into corporate writing. Discover the art of taxes
for writers. Absorb lessons and insights from an author-turned-agent. Read
Elizabeth Berg’s thoughts on life after Oprah. Click here to check the March/April 2010 issue of WD out.

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