By Alina Adams
“The talkies are only a fad,” said the complacent movie executives before Warner Brothers’ released The Jazz Singer in 1927.
So are color films. And television. And the Internet.
Now the same is being said about e-books. Over and over again. Loudly.
The only reason they aren’t saying it about enhanced e-books quite as loudly yet is because the majority of people don’t know what they are.
I know what they are. And I am disproportionably excited about them.
I come to enhanced e-books via two separate but equal paths. At the same time as I was writing romance novels for AVON and DELL and mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, I was also working in television, covering figure skating for ABC, NBC, TNT and ESPN, and soap operas for E!, ABC, and Procter & Gamble Productions. I even combined my two favorite media and wrote three best-selling tie-ins, Oakdale Confidential and The Man From Oakdale for As The World Turns, and Jonathan’s Story (with Julia London) for Guiding Light.
It was while at P&G and working on the on-line revival of their soap opera, Another World, that I came up with a whole new way to tell a story. Another World Today combined text that you read with video clips that you watched. It was both a book and TV at the same time!
Deeply excited by the possibilities of this hybrid medium, I next took an excerpt from one of my own books, Skate Crime, the fifth in my Figure Skating mystery series, and, in partnership with The Ice Theatre of New York, added in professional skating videos to enhance the story.
The result was Skate Crime: Multimedia. My next step is to enhance all of my skating mysteries, including Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop and the complete edition of Skate Crime.
I also intend to enhance my romance novels, When a Man Loves a Woman and Annie’s Wild Ride, and an original title, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments (Top Soap Moments).
However, the $100,000 dollar question is: Do I think that e-books, especially enhanced e-books, are just a fad, or here to stay?
Well, obviously, I’m betting on the here to stay part. What’s more, I am betting on the fact that more and more people are purchasing not just Kindles and Nooks, but iPads, and iPhones, and other tablets that make reading/viewing an enhanced e-book possible. (As for those Kindles and Nooks, I’m betting that they won’t stay the way they are for long. You’ll be able to watch video on them soon enough, I’m certain of it.)
I’m so convinced of it that, in addition to my own books, I am branching out, working with other content producers and authors of previously published books to enhance their works. Under the banner of Alina Adams Media, our first title will be The Worldwide Dessert Contest by Dan Elish, a children’s fantasy that will include original songs alongside the text! (Authors who have gotten the rights back to their books and are interested in exploring the possibility of enhancement are welcome to contact me at AlinaAdams@gmail.com.)
So if enhanced e-books are such a sure thing, why isn’t everyone rushing to get in on the action?
They are. Kind of.
Multiple nonfiction books have been released, most notably by www.Vook.com, that have added historical photos, maps, illustrations, biographies and video interviews to their e-text.
The few fiction books that have given it a shot added similar non-fiction elements to their tales. (For a broader overview of enhanced e-fiction, go to: Perfect Romance: enhanced ebooks).
That’s not what I’m interested in. I don’t want to enhance fiction with non-fiction. I want to enhance it with multimedia fictional elements that are actually a critical part of the story, not extras that you could take or leave.
In my, admittedly as of yet utterly uncorroborated opinion, that’s the only way to insure that enhanced e-books won’t go the way of Smell-O-Vision and Percepto! (Smell-O-Vision and Percepto)
After all, I don’t want enhanced e-books to be just a fad….
The very first book I sold was a Regency romance, The Fictitious Marquis. I followed that up with another Regency, Thieves at Heart, and two contemporary romances, Annie’s Wild Ride and When a Man Loves a Woman. And then I met my husband. And, according to him, lost all ability to write romance again. He might have a point. After meeting him, my definition of a sexy man was less glorious adventure and more, “Wow! He fixed my Internet connection!” Once upon a time I might have fantasized about a hero who slew dragons. Now, I am so happy when one of the kids throws up, and he cleans it. Personally, I think I’m still a romantic. But, there’s a reason I switched over to mysteries, in any case.
I've been married for seven years...totally understand what you're saying. So, what's the Top Five Random facts about you?
1. I can read, write and speak English, speak and read Russian, and read Hebrew.
2. Between my husband and I, our three kids are interracial, interfaith, and intercultural. (No wonder I like hybrids!)
3. My favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird,” but my favorite author is John Steinbeck.
4. I had my adenoids removed as a kid… without anesthesia.
5. I was born in the former Soviet Union. Which explains the first random fact. And the fourth one.
Thanks for sharing. Where is the most exotic place you’ve ever traveled to?
As a figure-skating researcher, I was lucky enough to travel the world to competitions and to interview skaters. I’ve been to France, Switzerland, Russia, and Israel, but the most exotic place would probably have to be Nagano, Japan for the 1998 Olympics. There, I learned that it is possible for a country to be clean despite a lack of public trash-baskets, and that even in the middle of the night, on a practically deserted stretch of road, speeding is still not an option.
Then again, as someone who has lived primarily in New York City, NY and San Francisco, CA, Tennessee was pretty exotic, too. There for the 1997 Nationals, I observed that all the food we were served seemed to be fried. Robin Roberts, then working for ABC Sports, turned to me and drawled, “You’re in the South, honey. They’d fry water if they could.”
Such interesting life experience. Amazing, clean streets without public trash cans.
"Skate Crime: Multimedia Edition" takes the unprecedented step of incorporating skating videos right into the electronic-text as an integral part of the story! (The enhanced multimedia edition is an excerpt of the complete work.)
When skating coach Lucian Pryce is murdered on the eve of his own televised tribute, the suspects include Lucian's former Pairs partner, his much younger wife, his resentful daughter, the student he drove to a nervous breakdown... and the one he guided to Olympic gold.
Utilizing cutting-edge publishing technology, "Skate Crime: Multimedia" seamlessly blends story and video to create the latest in 21st Century storytelling.
I'm a big figure skating fan and your book sounds so interesting. Thank you for sharing with us about this new multimedia in eBooks. We'd love to read an excerpt. Can you share one with us?
Excerpt of Skate Crime:
At the age of seven, Toni Wright stood alone at the entry gate to New York City’s Wollman Outdoor Ice Rink in Central Park, waiting for her turn to pay the twenty-five cents admission and take a spin around the slick oval in her brand new, Christmas skates. She wore -- at her mother’s insistence -- her waterproof rain-pants. But Toni, frankly, had no intention of falling down. For the past year, she’d watched other boys and girls glide gracefully across the rink and she felt certain she would be able to do the same.
When it was her turn, Toni plunked down the required two dimes and a nickel, and was already pushing the door with her shoulder when the girl working the window leaned over across the cashier’s sill and grabbed Toni by the arm. Toni turned her head slowly and gazed at the older teen with the same look Toni’s mother unleashed on any salesgirl, waitress or taxi driver unfortunate enough not to realize whom they were dealing with.
“Is there a problem, Miss?” Unlike her Mama, who had no patience for dealing with fools, Toni’s Daddy always instructed Toni to be polite. Especially to the ignorant. He said it was their job to teach them in particular the right way to behave.
Either the girl wasn’t accustomed to being addressed as Miss, or she didn’t realize the query was directed at her. She yanked Toni backwards and announced, “No niggers allowed.”
Love the excerpt. Thanks for sharing with us. Where can readers find your book?
Purchase Link for Skate Crime
Alina, so great to have you here as a guest today. I enjoyed your visit.
Please feel free to stay and visit with Alina today. We'd love to chat with you.