It seems these days we’re living in an impressively modern age where one can purchase a regular DVD or Blu-ray version of a movie, or a special edition which comes with a Blu-ray copy and a regular DVD version of the movie on a separate disc, allowing viewers to enjoy the movie on various devices of their choosing.
Take for example the recent release of the movie Moonrise Kingdom. The special Blu-ray edition includes a copy of the movie in Blu-ray, a copy on regular DVD, a digital copy that can be downloaded with a code, and even an Ultraviolet copy allowing you to be able to access the movie in the cloud to stream and download onto tablets, smartphones, computers and TVs.
The reason for this change in production is a logical one. This way people wanting to enjoy the movie, can do so on a variety of different devices — Blu-ray player, regular DVD player, tablet or even smartphone — at the same time with multiple members of a family or group of friends. It changes a product into something that can be freely enjoyed through a choice of devices at any time in about any given situation. I think this is a great advancement in movie production.
My question is: where is the equivalent for the book world?
I believe there is a logical and simple solution to this that will propel book production into the modern world alongside that of DVD production, and perhaps change the whole controversial subject of ebooks vs. print books.
Here is my proposal.
In this ideal world, a customer can walk into a bookstore, browse the shelves and select a couple of books to purchase. (Said customer can also purchase these same books online through any website selling these books, even the very same bookstore website.) Included with each print copy of the book is a sealed code in the back of the book for a copy of the ebook version. When the customer gets home, he or she can choose to start reading the print book edition, or decide to leave it for a spouse or offspring or even a friend to enjoy. The customer then takes out the sealed code in the back of the book, goes to the directed publishing website and enters the code to download the ebook version of the book to his or her tablet, smartphone or ereading device of choice.
Perhaps they are even given the choice of downloading the ebook up to four times. In this way the customer, and his or her family, can enjoy the reading in the fashion of his or her choosing, at any time in any given situation.
This is clearly a logical next step in book production that will go far in linking the concept of the print book and the ebook together, instead of pitting them constantly against each other in a contest of which format is better. It will be a way for customers to connect better with publishing websites, and open up the opportunity for giving them access to more media and information relating to the book they have purchased.
And at the end of the day, it ultimately just makes sense.
People don’t buy multiple copies of the same book usually to allow other family members to read it.
The lucky first person gets to read it first, then whoever next on down the line. With this option, much as with the case of digital and DVD copies accompanying Blu-ray editions for new movies, a family of readers will be able to enjoy the same product simultaneously, making for a richer and more fulfilling enjoyment of the book, as well as giving the publisher plenty of opportunity to engage with the customer and his or her family in a way like never before.
Originally published on Forces of Geek.