September 20, 2010

Power up


Last week, we mentioned the ruckus going on with e-books for kids and figured that kids books would probably utilize the inherent qualities of iPads and Android tablets better than adult books for a while. As if on cue, a new tech venture called Padworx announced the next day that they will begin publishing e-books that will add elements of gameplay to the e-reading experience. In Dianna Dilworth‘s squib on the announcement at eBookNewser, Jeffery Alan Schechter, director and producer of Padworx Digital Media, was quoted as saying, “Because we develop our eBooks on our own game engine, our readers get engaged not only with the text of the story, but also with the interactive graphics and the gameplay elements.”

So, gaming is the future of e-books. Which to a lot of folks is going to be a little unnerving, but legions of really smart and literate gamers with chips on their shoulders about video games not being taken seriously may end up being vindicated. And a quick trip over to Padworx’s website is more or less encouraging. In addition to the announcement above, here are more comforting words:

PadWorx is a company dedicated to a simple idea: that regardless of how fully awesome tablet computers are, without equally awesome content they’re just another thing with flashy, blinky bits.

Couldn’t agree more. So here’s their first offering:

This is certainly a step up from the kind of retrofitting that’s been going on. And Dracula may be an inspired choice as the first out of the gate (you could do a lot worse for hyper-textual reading experiences in the 19th century). It’s an interesting statement and one that holds promise (even if these trailers can’t shake the cheese factor). Still, we can’t help but hope–if tablets are indeed the next big step in the future of reading–that soon we’ll see something that grabs us and speaks to us in the way that only good literature can, while also using the medium in truly creative and innovative ways. One can’t help but wonder what Mark Danielewksi is up to right about now…