My latest column for Visual Thesaurus, "Don't Judge a Vook by Its Cover," was inspired by Vook, a name that led me to consider other new-media word mashups like blawg, blook, and diavlog. Here's how the column begins:
You can read it. You can watch it. You can talk about it online with your friends. It's a sort of picture book — or, more precisely, a moving-picture book — but its inventors call it a Vook. That's Vook as in video + book.
It's also Vook as in a business (headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area), and Vook™ as in a trademark-registration-in-process, which explains the capital letter. Well ... sometimes explains the capital letter. Vooks from Vook (hello, Dr. Seuss!) are only one segment of the vookosphere: In a September announcement of its own text/video mashup, Simon & Schuster used "vook" as a generic term. That's the sort of thing that gives trademark lawyers insomnia.
And trademark confusion isn't the only problem with vook (or Vook). For starters, the word doesn't look like English. (In my English-language dictionaries, the only words that start with voo- are voodoo, which came into English from an African word, and voortrekker, an Afrikaans borrowing.) On the other hand, if you're a native Spanish speaker you'll pronounce it book — "v" and "b" are interchangeable in Spanish — and wonder why the word's misspelled. Nor is it apparent how the /oo/ vowel is supposed to be pronounced. (Aha! According to a video on Vook.com, the word rhymes with shook, not spook.)
In Dutch, the V in Vook would be pronounced as F. Draw your own conclusions.
* An excellent gift idea, too.