When you’re a Literature major in college, the concept of a film production company making a film based on a classic novel like “Pride and Prejudice” is an obscenity bordering on sacrilege. Everyone likes to snootily tout that they never watch the film adaptation of their favorite book because they know it will only lead to bitterness and disappointment. But the truth is that every Literature major secretly wants to see different representations of their favorite characters and scenes. So while we’re here, I’m just going to say it: I liked the movie version of “Fight Club” better than the book! Whew. Finally…
Vook, a mixed media reading platform (vook= book+video), gives readers the best of both worlds, publishing text that is accompanied by video clips and social integration. The company announced Tuesday that it has closed a $5.25 million Series A round led by VantagePoint Venture Partners and Floodgate.
The platform is a mixture of e-book reading, video clips, and social media, allowing users to read and watch video highlights while discussing passages with friends. You can read a work of fiction and see clips of major turning points in the novel, or read a book on health and exercise and see video demonstrations to learn the proper technique. The platform is fully integrated with social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, thereby allowing readers to share their thoughts on their reading material with others who may not be following the book.
To be clear, Vook isn’t an e-reader, although it is adaptable to the Kindle. People with iPads and iPhones can get the Vook app in the App Store. Or you can just do it the good old fashioned way and follow along on your PC (but who has time for that?).
Personally, I can’t see myself reading a novel on the Vook platform (I’m willing to keep an open mind, but it seems like it would be distracting). But I can see the platform being ideal for health and exercise books, where you need to see proper forms and techniques for exercise moves, as well as cookbooks (try making a pie crust from scratch without looking to a video on YouTube for help. I dare you), and possibly even books on history, politics, and finance.
One of the authors that the platform works with is marketing mogul Seth Godin, who announced back in August that he was giving up on traditional book publishing in favor of digital publishing. “I like the people, but I can’t abide the long wait, the filters, the big push at launch, the nudging to get people to go to a store they don’t usually visit to buy something they don’t usually buy, to get them to pay for an idea in a form that’s hard to spread,” Godin said in an interview with Mediabistro. “I really don’t think the process is worth the effort that it now takes to make it work. I can reach 10 or 50 times as many people electronically.”
Vook could not be reached for comment, but its investors seem to agree with Godin.
"We are very enthusiastic about Vook," said Richard Harroch, Managing Director at VantagePoint Venture Partners, in a prepared statement. "The opportunity is big in digital publishing and the Vook team is a leader in this new world."
Image source: Vook.com