The author of Interview With a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and many other favourites, Anne Rice has agreed to terms with the video book company Vook on a multimedia edition of The Master of Rampling Gate, a vampire story published in Redbook magazine in 1984 and set in an England mansion in the 19th century.
"Vook represents a very exciting combination of new technological elements, that I think is long overdo in publishing," Rice said in a statement. "I'm excited that The Master of Rampling Gate is going to have new life in this form, and cannot wait to see the finished product. I'm not sure that my mind can conceive of all the possibilities of this new form. I'm learning. And it feels good."
Opinions are still mixed among publishers and authors about video books, or vooks, with some calling them a gimmick and others saying new formats are needed for the Internet age. The product integrates text, video and social networking.
Vook, based in Alameda, California, has been producing video books for Simon & Schuster and the HarperCollins imprint HarperStudio and also making works out of public domain texts. Vook founder Bradley Inman says The Sherlock Holmes Experience, based on two stories by Conan Doyle, has been downloaded thousands of times.
The Rice project begins "a strategic publishing relationship" with Rice's literary agency, Janklow & Nesbit Associates, according to Vook. No other specific writers were identified, but clients at Janklow & Nesbit include David McCullough, Edward P Jones and the late Michael Crichton.
"They (Vook) came in about two months ago and showed us some of their wares. I think it's very interesting and I think the publishing world needs to really start looking for new ways to find readers," said Lynn Nesbit of Janklow & Nesbit, who said other writers at the agency expressed strong interest in video books, although she declined to provide names.
The Rice video book, which includes an author interview, will be released March 1 and can be purchased through the iPhone, iPod touch and other digital devices. The list price is $6.99.