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Amplified eBooks :: A Resounding “Yes Please!”

Wallace Yovetich

Staff Writer

Wallace Yovetich grew up in a home where reading was preferred to TV, playing outside was actually fun, and she was thrilled when her older brothers weren’t home so she could have a turn on the Atari. Now-a-days she watches a bit more TV, and considers sitting on the porch swing (with her laptop) “playing outside”. She still thinks reading is preferable to most things, though she’d really like to find out where her mom put that old Atari (Frogger addicts die hard). She runs a series of Read-a-Longs throughout the year (as well as posting fun bookish tidbits throughout the week) on her blog, Unputdownables. After teaching for seven years, Wallace is now an aspiring writer. Blog: Unputdownables Twitter: @WallaceYovetich

Are electronic amplified versions of books the next big thing in publishing? Are these going to flip up the skirts of the reading public in the same way the e-reader did? As a book-geek-girl and a museum-geek-girl, I vote “yes.”  A good exhibit is as good as a fantastic stage performance or screenplay in my eyes, so combining books and what would be the equivalent of a museum exhibit sounds a little bit like Heaven.

Take On the Road by Jack Kerouac, for example. When you purchase the amplified version (which costs less than a hardcover book at the price of $16.99) you not only get the actual text of the book but basically your own private exhibit about Kerouac, the writing of this book, and key figures in the Beat generation. No need to buy a ticket to return to the exhibit — it’s right there on your device. Always. What do you get for this one time entrance fee of about $17?

  • Pages from journals Kerouac kept while on the road with notes about the book.
  • Exclusive audio clips of Kerouac reading from an early draft.
  • Documentary footage of other Beats sharing thoughts about Kerouac.
  • Side-by-side comparisons of the famous scroll rough draft and the published text (with highlighted editorial work that was done).
  • Interactive map of the legendary trips of 1947, 1949, and 1950.
  • Extra articles written by Kerouac.
  • SO much more!



    I was blown away by the details of what is included in just this one amplified book — imagine  having a library full of amplified versions of your favorite books! If you’re anything like me, you are constantly looking up authors, references, time periods, places, etc. while reading anyway, so this technological leap in the publishing world has just won you over. Yes, I will marry you, Amplified Version of Books. I will never cheat on you (at least not until they figure out the next amazing leap into the world of books… like, say, bringing an author back to life, because that’s the only thing I can think of that can compete).

    Currently, there are limited titles available, though Penguin offers a wider selection of enhanced books (which come at a lower price than the amplified, while still bringing game to the table). They now offer two amplified non-fiction  titles and two amplified fiction titles (the aforementioned On the Road and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck), all available through the iTunes store.

    I’ll be starting with On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Will you be trying an amplified version of a book?


    Images via Penguin site and iTunes Store