So who here likes to read?
Ignoring the irony of asking that in the written word, there are many people out there that enjoy curling up with a good book and getting lost in the pages.
I'm not one of them. I like my books a bit more... comic. Sorry, I'm a traditional artist and I've always gravitated more towards visual storytelling, hence why I review video games. Given the popularity of image based memes, gifs, and sites like youTube, I would say there are quite a few people out there that think a picture is worth a thousand words.
That seems to be who Byook is trying to break through to. Byook is a series of apps that attempts to use videogame tactics in order to increase the immersion of an ebook.
Where a standard ebook is purely text on a screen, a Byook app has pictures, animation, and sounds to help bring the act of reading a little closer to an interactive experience. Don't get me wrong, you aren't going to have to play a Sherlock Holmes platformer; this isn't a game, it's a digital book with a multimedia flourish.
Now for people that love their books and their reading, this might be more of a distraction than anything. Pages that have animation usually means you have to watch the animation play out before the words will appear. I know plenty of readers who would hate these sort of "speed bumps" breaking their reading zen.
Also another thing that will bother avid readers is that because of the extra content, the byooks available so far are short stories. The file sizes are still large because of all the sound, animations, and so forth. I imagine they are trying to figure out how to do this treatment to a full story without breaking the filesize limit.
On the positive side, I see a lot of promise with this concept. If you want to read with no distractions you can put in some headphones and just let yourself fall into the story. The mood setting music, the various sound effects, and charming page transitions really help you tune out the world. This is especially true of the scarier tones set by their Sherlock Holmes and Little Fear stories.
You will be reading while wind whistles, carrying the creaking of floor boards, or being surprised by a child's scream. You turn the page to watch blood slowly creep down the page as you try to read faster than it can cover the words. When it works it really works.
There are not that many Byook apps yet, but I could see this catching on. People who have long commutes could read without being as distracted by the sounds around them. Some kids will be more likely to finish a book that has a little more razzle dazzle to keep their focus.
Byooks are priced between $1.99 to free for iPhone/Android and larger iPad versions are just a tad bit more than that. They are definitely worth a try if you want something a little different in your reading. Besides, they won't make any more if nobody buys them.