baldacci1 On TechFlash, Eric Engleman comments on an Associated Press story about a new “enriched” edition of David Baldacci’s latest novel, Deliver Us From Evil, that Hachette is putting together. It will cost $15.99, $1 more than the $14.99 starting price of the regular edition (which will fall to $12.99 if the book becomes a bestseller).

The “enriched” edition will include deleted passages, research photos, an audio interview, and video of Baldacci. It is not clear what format this book will be in, but since Hachette is working with Apple, it will probably be an appbook. “Hachette is ‘unsure’ of whether the enriched Baldacci book will work with Amazon’s Kindle or other e-reader devices.”

I’m not particularly interested in Baldacci, but if it were an author I was interested in, an extra dollar would not be too high a price to pay. I paid a considerably higher premium to buy the “annotated” edition of A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge when it was released as an e-book—and I already had the regular version.

The problem here is not so much the extra dollar as it is the base price to begin with. $15 is simply too high for a DRM-encumbered book. (Though granted, I just paid $15 for a Baen E-ARC yesterday, so perhaps I am not one to talk. At least the E-ARC has no DRM, though!) And I don’t even know what format it would be in, whether it would be compatible with my existing hardware.

Of course, the multimedia content would not appeal to everybody, but it does sound like it is at least the sort of content that does not interfere with reading the actual story.

This does highlight one of the problems with the idea of “enriched” e-books. It is easy enough to translate text from one e-book format to another, but what can you do with multimedia? If it comes out in ePub, what would happen if I put it through Calibre to convert it to some other format?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what it looks like when it comes out.


  1. For those interested in the idea of ‘enriched’ books, I recommend a (un-enriched) book called Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media by Marie-Laure Ryan (see ).

    There is a bit too much on virtual reality for my taste but what I found helpful was a comparative study of immersion (the feeling of being ‘inside’ a story) and interactivity. Turns out the two do not play well together. The more interactive the experience, the less immersive, at least in terms of entering a narrative.

    So, my take on it is, ‘enriching’ novels will turn them in to something else. Might be more interactive, but probably less immersive.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail