The Experience of Ebooks – Nick Cave’s The Death of Bunny Munro

The Guardian UK had an article on Nick Cave’s new novel, The Death of Bunny Munro, written by Sam Leith. Cave’s new novel has an advance release on the iPhone ahead of the print version and the enhanced electronic version has some new options that give us a tantalising glimpse of what the future of electronic books might have in store for us.

Yes, it’s great we will have the option to fiddle about with the fonts and colours on the screen to our heart’s content, and that the screen scrolls along effortlessly to the audio accompaniment of the author or an actor. The true potential of E-Readers is not just on screen links for social networking and discussion of the book, but more than this, there is the sheer interaction of reader/listener and author/actor/musician. It is this interaction which could well crack open the format of the e-book publishing vista in a way yet to be fully explored by authors and publishers.

In Cave’s novel, we have not just a book with audio accompaniment, but the soundtrack to a novel. The enhanced e-book edition was the brainchild of Peter Collingridge of the digital design company Apt Studio working in conjunction with Cave’s UK publisher, Canongate. How often have we settled down in the evening to read a book and decided to put on a particular piece of music to suit the mood of the book we were reading? Yes, we have had audio books since the inception of the humble magnetic reel of cassette tape. We have also had countless readings and adaptations of books on radio (BBC Radio 4, most notably comes to mind) and even TV took a hand in this with children’s favourite, Jackanory. The potential here is to place the reader/receiver inside the book and at the core of the experience.

The purists may believe we are no longer in the realms of reading as a simple act of learning and exploration, but then, each and every human experience and discovery began with a series of smaller and equally unique experiences. Reading and writing are simply the elements and conveyance of communication.

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