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Multimedia writing.

I have been thinking about the opportunity offered by putting the written word in electronic format on our screens. It seems to me that website publishers have ignored the possibilities to enhance the printed book in its electronic format, content with just an electronic version of a printed book.


A number of authors like to include links to enhance the reading experience, and also images. Publishing websites like Nifty and WordPress allow for this and the links can be integrated within the story.


This, however, is very limited and not at all inspiring or taking the reading experience to a new dimension. Why has no one thought outside the box, to embed links into the written text. So, for example, a character might switch on the radio and a song is playing - there could be a link for the reader to that music. But what I am talking about is embedding the music. As you read the words, the music comes on and plays.

Images might be inserted into text in a similar fashion. Example, "as they were looking through the family album, one picture of him at 14 years old, stood out..." The photo might appear in the top right corner of the screen.


I have thought about the visually impaired and those using text reading software. In that case an option would be read in the text much as an audio description of a TV programme. For the hard of hearing the same would apply to the embedded music.


There would always be an option to switch off multimedia, but having read a number of stories with links, I have found these to add a lot to the story. Embedding those links is really taking advantage of modern technology. A simple electronic version of the printed word seems to offer nothing much in terms of possible artistic development.


I know it would not be easy, simply reading the comments on here about stories with images and links not working, tells me that. I am sure it is perfectly feasible though, and someone might just make a pretty sum out of developing this, because no one has done it yet, and it might lead to a new genre of books - multimedia books.

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I understand what you are getting at, but what's the trigger for the links?


If music is supposed to start playing when I read the appropriate text, how does the browser know that it's being read?


You would need a layer over the browser, such as text-to-speech software that could trigger the link when the appropriate phase is 'spoken', because at the moment I can't see how the browser would know what parts of the screen of text I've read, and which parts I haven't read yet.

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