Available for iOS devices, including the iPad and iPhone and iPod Touch, the eLume app was created by the book’s author Richard Mason as a new way to experience his published work and those of others he expects to adopt the technology.
In an interview with TabTimes, Mason said he is an avid ebook reader himself, but was frustrated by the limitations of what’s out there and the frequent misuse of the technology when it gets in the way of telling a story.
If eLume’s can capture even a tiny piece of the eBook market (estimated to be $2 billion in 2011 and forecast to grow higher than $5 billion by 2016)) it could be a significant industry.
One example he cites is the very expensive development work that went into the iPad version of Al Gore’s best-seller, An Inconvenient Truth.
“You can blow on the iPad and turbines spin. That’s undeniably cool, but it doesn’t make you think about the benefits of wind energy,” says Mason. “It takes away form the reading experience.”
Mason philosophy is that just because you can do something technologically doesn’t mean you should do it.
The interactive, multimedia tech is there in History of a Pleasure Seeker, but it doesn’t get in the way. You can select a paragraph of text and have it read to you or have it read continuously.
Graphics illustrations add color to the page, but tap one and you’ll see something quite different, like a digital full color image of a ballroom. These little windows include scenes of Amsterdam and New York in the early 20th century. And you can use your finger to move around the scene revealing more than the initial image shows.
Another illustration in the book reveals a piano being played (right in context to that section of the novel) and you can keep that music going as you read.
Mason knows he’s pioneering but thinks other authors will gravitate to the Orson and Co platform, both for whole new titles and to recreate those already published.
“I think this will be great for backlisted titles,” he says. “I think eLumes are going to be a game changer in artistic terms; we are putting the artist back in Dell PA1650-06D3 AC Adapter.”
While he appreciates the development expertise it takes to produce an eBook, Mason said he wanted to be personally involved to drive his vision of what the experience for the reader should be.
“When it’s just left to coders, you end up with something that’s too formulaic,” he said. “A lot of eBooks just start to look alike after awhile.”
There is also a social media element. You can, for example make notes in the eLume that can be shared on FaceBook or Twitter.
The cost for History of a Pleasure Seeker, $12.99 is less than the hardcover edition. You can also download a free "lite" edition that includes the first 17 pages of the book and the media features.