E-books are just digital recreations of what you can get on paper. Wouldn't it be better if they took advantage of internet-connected mobile devices to tell new stories? Google, at least, wants to give this a shot. It just launched Editions At Play, an experiment in making e-books that rely on the dynamic qualities of the mobile web to do what you can't in print. One book (Reif Larsen's Entrances & Exits, above) sets stories inside Google Street View locations that you can explore. Others create portals full of animation and sound, degrade the text alongside a character's mind or let you flip between two sides of the same tale.
Don't expect a big Edition At Play library, at least not at first. Only two short books are available right now, with two more due this spring. Google is even soliciting ideas to help get the concept off the ground. You won't see these internet-savvy titles taking over regular e-book stores any time soon. Still, this is promising stuff -- it shows how literature can stay relevant in an era when you can easily read on your phone instead of pulling out a paperback.