When books, the web and video collide

People have been trying to get books to work online for a while. There are a variety of book social media sites, such as the Amazon-owned Shelfari, goodreads and Bookrabbit, to name just three. 

We also have the much-heralded arrival of the Kindle (Amazon again), numerous other e-readers and even iPhone apps, such as Stanza.

Then there are the TV adverts created specifically to look like a movie trailer, when they are actually a book plug – namely those of uber-author James Patterson.

There are also some authors, such as Jasper Fforde, who have tried to provide the equivalent of DVD extras, by getting readers to enter a password that’s hidden in books which then unlocks extra content around the specific title. 

But now there’s a new kid and new idea on the block. It comes in the form of mini-videos within a book that both complement and enhance your enjoyment of the material. 

Dark Origins has been created by Anthony Zuiker, the creator of the phenomenon that is CSI. Ostensibly a gruesome crime thriller about a serial killer, what raises this above the norm is the aforementioned additional material. 

To dovetail nicely with Zuiker’s own site Level 26 – a nod to the categorisation of the most heinous serial killers of all – every 26 pages, the reader is prompted to visit the site and enter a special code, which then leads directly to a relevant 3-5 minute video that ties in with the plot at that point. 

Naturally, coming from the creator of CSI, these short clips are extremely expertly and stylishly shot. They wouldn’t look out of place on CSI itself and I wouldn't mind betting that the amount of money spent on video is more than the actual book. 

Will it work? Well, it makes a book more interesting and definitely raises it above the everyday thriller, but a lot depends on how good the writing is. I’m only a short way into Dark Origins currently and the jury is out, as far as I'm concerned. 

The other issue for me still comes down to whether want to stop reading in the middle of a book to watch a video and also want someone else to show them what certain characters look like. 

One of the joys of reading a novel before it’s ever come close to the big or small screen is that you get to create your own idea of what certain characters look like. 

Even though he's been played by both John Hannah and Ken Stott, neither of them match up to my own picture of Iain Rankin's Rebus, so strong is he lodged in my imagination. 

Fair play to Zuiker for trying something different – he's got the clout and cash to do it, but I fear it will remain a gimmick, rather than become the norm.

Posted via email from Rob’s stream of web

Why the X Factor judges aren’t as clever as they think

Last night was George Michael night on X Factor – a particularly ill-starred night as far as the contestants went, with a number of duff performances.

Yet again, Joe McElderry was the star of the show with his version of Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me. As Louis Walsh – Mr Rulebook for this year’s X Factor – pointed out, it’s technically an Elton John track and not a George Michael one. George only guested on it.

Surprisingly, though, none of the judges picked up on the fact that Stacy Solomon also sang a technically ‘illegal’ song. I Can’t Make You Love Me was indeed recorded by George Michael, as part of Double A Side back in 1997 with Older, but that was a cover version.

The original rendition was recorded by Bonnie Raitt. Clearly Louis, Cheryl, Dannii and Simon don’t know their music as well as they think they do.

World’s coolest drummer: Bernard “Pretty” Purdie

If you ask someone to name a great drummer, chances are they’ll plump for the likes of John Bonham, Ginger Baker, Neil Peart or even Ringo Starr (!).

It’s unlikely that the drummer they suggest will be Bernard “Pretty” Purdie. Which is a shame, because the guy is the world’s most recorded drummer ever.

He’s sat behind the drums on more than 3000 albums, playing for the likes of Aretha Franklin, Donnie Hathaway, Isaac Hayes, Rolling Stones, James Brown and Tom Jones.

Still not convinced? Watch this video of him drumming. He is one cool guy and you’ll come away with a biiiig smile.

Posted via web from Rob’s stream of web