Penguin launches ebook infused with video: Isn’t that what movies are for?

Good luck adapting books onto the big screen in the future: They’ll come stock with video accompaniment already.

Penguin, a large publishing house, launched the first electronic book with video features recently, in hopes to keep alive the ailing book publishing industry. It is a novel with accompanying video from a TV mini-series based on the book.

The book sells at $13, a premium above the $10 standard that Amazon has set (which publishers have griped about being too low and affecting profits).

But will this really revive the “book” publishing industry? Hardly. What it’s apt to do is kill the book publishing industry, and further boost what’s already sailing smooth: the digital content publishing industry.

It’s less than pleasing to know that forthcoming generations will have a dramatically reduced appreciation and profound lack of respect for a leather-bound tome, with its distinct scent that arises as you flip through the thick, off-white pages between its two sturdy, text-embossed covers. A good book is likened to a treasure chest that’s delightfully easy to open. And actually reading – as in, just reading, not multitasking on your do-everything iPad – ignites the imagination on deeper levels than multimedia-infused digi-books ever can. Video is great, don’t get me wrong, but that’s what movies are for. You don’t go into a movie and expect it to be complemented by paragraphs of giant text on-screen. That would be – and this is applicable vise-versa – utterly ridiculous.

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But as ebook sales eclipse and likely cannibalize print books, society’s imagination—and willingness to enjoy the pure, simple pleasure of just reading—disintegrates.

There is an old joke-line you might recall: “What are you going to do, just sit there and watch the grass grow?” Once upon a time, it was something of a jab. Now, in a world of portable computers, social media addiction, and excessive reliance on technology, that’s precisely what many of us need to do more than anything.

So stop reading this article, pick up an Ernest Hemingway classic, and relax on your porch with an ice cold beverage (lime rind twist and all). Seriously, go!

Oh, and leave the phone inside, too. The imagination doesn’t like interruptions.