Books + Video = Awesome

Last week I shared pictures of my book release party. This time I announce the release of my video book. 

It’s becoming increasingly popular for people to read electronically–from computer to eReader, from article to novel. While many prefer the ability to turn the page, it’s also nice not having to carry around books everywhere you go and to have a small library in one device.

But these days there’s even greater reason to enjoy electronic reading: multi-media. The chance to enjoy color photos and video are rich additions to cookbooks, children’s books, and…travel books.

My book about my year in China: Life Learned Abroad: Lessons on Humanity from China is a great opportunity to explore the “enhanced eBook” world because more than just reading about and seeing pictures of my neighborhood in Zhuhai, you can then play a short video of the neighborhood in action.

It’s like the book comes alive.

Here’s an example from my book:

I swung a left outside our complex and looked about wide-eyed. Real China! I lived in the old downtown of Zhuhai in the neighborhood called Xiangzhou (xiāng zhōu, 香洲). It retained an authentic, weathered, and cultured charm. Big, old trees grew through square openings in the sidewalks—their canopy adding a homeyness. Underneath, I walked through the warm, humid air along with other locals. The narrow streets had motorbikes and automobiles rolling by, around, and sometimes almost through the walkers. But it wasn’t threatening. Things just flowed together.

The residential and the commercial also intermingled. Food and knick-knack vendors dressed the sidewalks and embodied the spirit of this neighborhood: approachable, unguarded, and genuine—these traits worn into their fashion and friendly faces. Small businesses occupied the ground floors of apartment buildings—most much smaller than my home complex.

And when referring to small business, I mean small. Some resembled little more than storage units with merchandise: ten feet wide, twenty feet deep, and three-walled as they had garage door-like entrances. These could be restaurants, clothing stores, liquor/cigarettes stores, stationery stores, electronics stores, DVD stores, and others I’m probably forgetting. Some parents had their preschool-aged children with them at their small shop or restaurant. Locals had no problem communicating with one another from opposite sides of the street, whether because they had to or because it was simply easier to yell. That level of familiarity and leisure among the residents reminded me of small-town America. Only this was a city.

Here’s some footage:

Today, I announce the completion of the enhanced eBook version of Life Learned Abroad: Lessons on Humanity from China. In it, you’ll have the exact same story as the paperback, but with the addition of video, some audio, AND another perk I’m yet  to mention: the chance to comment throughout the book. Perhaps while reading you have a question about my experience; perhaps you’d like to share an experience of your own; or maybe you want to chime in when discussing a deeper issue such as education, poverty, or cross-culture relationships.

Here’s an example of this feature:

Eva, the woman who picked me up from the bus stop, came down from her office and took me out for lunch. In the alley behind the school, we walked into a small eatery, a white-tiled space no larger than a living room. I looked around and ordered what appeared tasty on someone else’s plate before sitting on a plastic chair at one of the eight metal rectangular tables. As the food came out, I asked about water. Eva kindly retorted that we had soup for beverage. Still, I repeated my request—apparently one not commonly made. The waitress went to the back and brought out an eight ounce Dixie cup of warm water. Interesting. But it did the trick. Next I searched for a napkin. Observing me look around the table, Eva explained that we are supposed to come with our own. BYON, I guess. Eva asked our waitress, who brought out a packet for sale for one yuan. They were adorned with some famed, cartoon sheep.

Something about the combination of a small cup of warm water and cartoon napkins—and their amusing clash with life as I knew it—had me emit a chuckle.

[Forum: Do you have any memorable examples of subtle (or not to subtle) differences in products or customs that you came across while someplace new?

If you click on the above link, you’ll be taken to a forum supported by Facebook. If you have a Facebook account, you can then chime in or simply read what others wrote on this given topic. There are around 20 of these opportunities sprinkled throughout the book.


This video-book version can be purchased at various outlets. If you are a Mac user, make your purchase through their store:

If you have a Kindle Fire tablet, go through Amazon:

Windows and Android users should simply go through the Vook (video book) store itself:

If video isn’t your thing, but want an eBook, check out the Kindle version. It’s a little cheaper and looks great on any device.

Finally, there’s the good ‘ole paperback. For that, click here.

Write me with any questions technical or otherwise at


I’ve enjoyed sharing my travel experiences on this blog. It is great to be able to offer a collection of these stories with a book.



What say you?