February 2, 2011
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Rich eBooks

People continue to rediscover multimedia -- especially the integration of video and print. I remain unconvinced. Film is important. Reading is important. The two are very different, and simply mixing them together does not always lead to success.

One clear exception, of course, are books that teach manual skills, such as sports instruction or bread baking. Michael Ruhlman’s new Bread Baking Basics is, in essence, a slender but richly-illustrated book about making simple bread. There’s no video here, but the excellent photography suffices for almost everything; I think video might help for shaping the dough into boules and baguettes.

There’s some sensible use of computation – adaptive hypertext, really – in recipes that scale themselves to different batch sizes. In other contexts that might be a bit silly, but I’ve noticed in reactions to Ruhlman’s Ratio that a fair number of Ruhlman’s readers cannot abide anything that reminds them of arithmetic.

Also of interest, John Gruber goes wild over a demo of ebook/video integration with exceptionally good detailing.

The tech Twitterverse went deranged yesterday over reports that Apple might have changed a policy that might force Amazon and Apple to negotiate a deal over the Kindle app. No one knows anything, and the subsequent Apple announcement was opaque. Keep calm and make stuff.