Confession: This week, I vooked at work.
That’s not as dirty as it sounds.
I use “vooking” as a verb to describe my first experience reading a video-book hybrid, commonly called a vook.
They’re not movies, but they’re more than just straightforward digital screens of text.
Confused? You’re not alone — that’s why vooks are still widely considered experimental products.
Publisher Simon & Schuster recently paired with multimedia startup Vook to offer four titles in video book format.
The works include a weight-loss manual, a beauty guide, a thriller and a romance novel.
I opted for the romance novel — Jude Deveraux’s “Promises,” available exclusively as a vook.
The vooks can be read directly from the Web or as an iPhone application.
I paid $6.99 for the Web edition of the “Promises” vook, available through Simon & Schuster’s Web site.
Once the purchase cleared, the opening pages of my vook — a love story set in the 1800s — appeared immediately.
“Promises” spans 131 pages and includes 17 videos, most of which last just about a minute.
The videos portray events that take place within the novel.
Vookers can choose from a variety of computer screen setups: text alone, video alone or text and video simultaneously.
Then, there’s the fourth screen: a page that lets readers interact via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
It’s like rolling the book, the book club and the movie adaptation all into one experience.
It still seems like vooks will fare better with the nonfiction genre — where authors don’t have to worry about the videos conflicting with readers’ mental pictures of characters.
Will the idea take off?
Readers certainly need a little more time — to both adjust to the experience, and to learn how to say “vook” with a straight face.