An updated look at miBook

This interactive 7-inch e-book reader incorporates video and audio clips in its easy-to-follow how-to videos.

A book that talks back.

About a year ago, we shared with you the miBook, an innovative, interactive cookbook. Just in time for the holidays, the miBook has been upgraded, and the price has dropped.

The miBook is like an e-book reader on steroids. Instead of pages of plain text, miBook offers video and audio clips. So when you pull up a recipe, instead of an instruction like "cut up your chicken," you get a video clip with narration: "Slice your chicken tenders into bite-size chunks." You can see the knife being used and the size of the pieces. And the player's key feature remains: it automatically pauses after each step, to give you time to complete your task. When you're ready to move on, hit play on the included remote.

When you take the miBook out of the box, you're up and running in seconds. Plug in the AC adapter and turn it on. Grab the remote and scroll through menus. The process is intuitive, and the included instruction booklet explains anything you don't immediately know how to do. The upgraded screen resolution gives you sharper images on the 7-inch screen so you can see exactly what you need to do, every step of the way.

The list of available titles for miBook has been expanded, and the cards themselves load faster than ever. As soon as I loaded a card into the player, its contents were instantly available. I could call up recipes and scroll through menus with no lag time. Each recipe book features 150 recipes sorted by ingredient, time to prepare, and cooking method. I played around with Quick and Easy Meals, Pizzas, Pastas, and Salads, and Irresistible Desserts. Other titles include Healthy Cooking for Kids and Amazing Party Food.

A nice touch: the remote is wrapped in plastic with an opening at the bottom to allow you to change the battery without unwrapping it. So if you happen to get it dirty while cooking (not that I would ever do such a thing, of course), you can just wipe it down when you're done.

For $90, you can snag the player with two bundled cooking titles. Additional titles are about $20 and cover not only cooking, but also parenting, home repairs, projects, decorating, gardening, and organizing. And pet care, crafts, musical instruments, technology, and travel are on the way. Content providers include popular TV networks like Food Network, HGTV, and Parents TV, and leading book publishers and authors. Plus, you can load your own content onto the player--music, photos, even PDFs--via SD cards or a USB cable.