NBC gets into the interactive e-book business

Digital Book World:

NBC News is launching a book publishing arm to capitalize on growth in e-reader and tablet adoption, the decreasing cost of e-book production and a backlog of over one million hours of video content.

NBC Publishing, as the business unit will be called, will be part of NBC News, a division of media conglomerate NBCUniversal, and will be based in New York at NBC’s headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

“Over the last two years, we’ve been looking at the tablet market and e-reader market and watching it develop,” said Michael Fabiano, general manager of NBC Publishing. “Consumers are getting more comfortable downloading books with video. None of this is slowing down any time soon.”

The company will produce enhanced e-books using both archival and new NBC video footage as well as traditional, print-based e-books.

NBC is mum on details about formats and production partners.

I’m skeptical that they’ll really be able to create "new multimedia experiences." In some respects, this reminds me of the mania that ensued when publishers discovered interactive CD-ROMs back in the early 1990s. I might even have a rare collectors copy of PC Computing on CD-ROM buried in a box somewhere…

3 thoughts on “NBC gets into the interactive e-book business

  1. I loved the multimedia CD-ROM era! Microsoft Dinosaurs! Microsoft Magic School Bus!

    More seriously, I think the time for multimedia experiences has finally come. Broadband connections are far more convenient than receiving CD-ROMs in the mail. Even the New York Times now forces its correspondents to produce video clips for their articles. (Often these are agonizingly awkward — these people did not become newspaper reporters because they relished standing in front of a video camera.)

    However, I am very skeptical that they can make money on it. They’ll just increase their expenses, for no greater revenues.

  2. Wouldn’t it be neat if you had an ebook that would randomly change the story everytime you read it or would insert your name as the main character? You could embed a game into the book and based on how the reader scored, the story would change. I think book and game technologies are starting to merge…whee,whee,wheeeeeee

  3. Actually interactive CDs did revolutionize the encyclopedia industry. What killed it was that something even more revolutionary came up a year or 2 later: the Internet, which became the medium for almost all interactive content.

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