Friday, 16 March 2012

Writer's Commentary - This Book Stinks!

By Richard Jay Parker

There is still a lot of talk about how to sex up fiction ebooks and make the experience more interactive.  I can see how text books can be brought to life in this way but a work of fiction is, by its very deliberate nature, a private experience.  It's a tableau for the writer's and reader's imagination to meld.  A book offers an experience unique to everyone who reads it and, even though it's the same story, we'll visualise the characters and events in completely different ways.

I can understand why publishers want to get away from just text.  Text can easily be digitised and therefore easily copied.  An ebook with whistles and bells is more of a problem.  The pirates will find a way round copying it in, oh, a couple of weeks though.  However, by then we'll all own these entities with the sort of extras that make us feel like we're missing out if we don't use them.

I don't know many people who have the time to view the extras on a DVD.  But I do know that a lot of them feel they might not be getting their money's worth if they don't watch the making of or listen to at least one of the sixteen commentary tracks or watch one of the alternate endings or some of the scenes that didn't make it into the final cut.

So I'm sure, for a while, we'll all have a go at reading the book while its soundtrack is playing and the Kindle pumps out appropriate smells for the chapter we're reading (a cue for some obvious jokes) and we simultaneously listen to the writer commentary - 'at this point in the novel I walked out into the kitchen and made my third cup of coffee.'

Then we'll probably turn them off and quietly read again.

Visit Richard at:



  1. Richard, I'm one of those crazies who feels compelled to buy the 4 disc collector's editions of DVD's. I don't always watch all of the extra features, but I do love having them. It could be interesting to watch the making of feature on "Stop Me". *grins*


  2. Really nice to hear from you, James. Have a few of those on my shelf as well. Hope your writing's going well.