GoodEReader.com reported last week on whole new interactive capabilities in electronic reading, such as the newly coined reality literature that allows the reader to engage with the story in never before experienced ways. The technology of e-reading allows authors and publishers to incorporate these features into downloadable ebooks, along with a wide variety of extra material that enhances the overall experience of reading.
Last week, Moonbot Studios released its interactive app, “The Numberlys,” for iPad and iPhone. Part ebook and part game, the reader is physically invested in manipulating the content on the screen to make the story line play out in such a way as to help the story unfold.
The book-as-interactive-app arena has been going strong for a while, but a lot of the material that gets noticed has until now been predominantly children’s media. There are a number of large award-winning app publishers who develop immersive transmedia titles from children’s books or adapt juvenile films for reading. The consumers have responded with record purchases of children’s apps, but the time has come for a rise in publication of teen and adult interactive e-reader.
Interestingly, Digital Book World reported on a brief study conducted in 2011 that showed that while children preferred to read identical content in electronic form over paper with the same level of comprehension, the level of recall actually was less when comparing an enhanced ebook to a standard digital edition. The culprit seemed to be too much focus on enjoying what the screen could do rather than the material itself, which isn’t necessarily bad if the emphasis on the learning was supposed to be critical thinking or investigation, rather than comprehension.
However, more adult consumers are looking for ways to revitalize texts in engaging ways, and enhanced ebooks may provide that outlet. Chris Stevens, creator of the Alice for the iPad book app, did so because he was “desperate for the book industry to produce some work that blows me away,” as he told The Toronto Review of Books in a recent interview. Unfortunately, the publishing industry has yet to produce a lot of adult literature as enhanced ebooks which meet his exacting standards; as the technology becomes more readily available to authors, hopefully the content will keep up with the capability.