Digital Media Brings the Reader into the Book
Jan
16

Digital Media Brings the Reader into the Book

By


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.

Mercy Pilkington (1854 Posts)

is a Senior Editor for Good e-Reader. She is also the CEO and founder of Author Options, a hybrid publishing and consultancy company. Have a question? Send an email to info@authoroptions.com


  • Frank Fiore

    Do a search on Google for enhanced ebooks and you will find that there’s a divergence of opinion on them. The main critique falls into three areas.

    The first opinion states that enhanced ebooks with embedded video, sound and graphics, takes away from the enjoyment of the book because the enhanced ebook intrudes on the reader’s ability to imagine the story in his mind. The very popular Harry Potter books loved by children are used as a prime example.

    This opinion states that any attempt to add greater dimensions to the Harry Potter story telling like the movies takes away from the imagination of the children. But that’s a false argument.

    Sure, when a child reads a Harry Potter book, he or she congers up a vivid picture in their mind of the characters and environment in the book. Those critics hold that the movies made from those books somehow take away from that imagination process.

    But if that were true, how do you account form the hundreds of millions of dollars each book in the series has generated as a movie? And most of the audience for these movies are the children that read the Harry Potter book.  The children enjoyed both versions of the story telling and it did little to take way their imagination of the story.

    Of course, the professional handling of the book material by the movie studio did the story justice. As in anything creative – it has bee done well.

    The second critique of enhanced ebooks comes from those that say the imbedded multimedia and extended material interrupts the reading experience. They claim, rightfully so, that the embedded video, audio and links to the Internet within the text interrupts the reading of the book. But Trapdoor Books has recognized this problem and placed its multimedia and outside links in what is called the ‘marginalia’ that sits along the outside column of the text. This marginalia can be totally turned off and the reader can read just text.

    The third critique has nothing to do with the reading experience. It has to do with economics — the cost of producing enhanced ebooks. This is a valid critique. It does cost more to produce an enhanced book. Thus the retail cost of the ebook is higher than the traditional ebook.

    But Trapdoor Books has found a solution to that. Their enhanced books are FREE. They are advertising supported and that revenue pays for the production of the ebook.

    So, Trapdoor Books has found the way to meet the objections of the enhanced book skeptics.

    Download a free enhanced digital ebook at https://market.android.com/details?id=com.trapdoorbooks.cyberkill

    See the technology at http://trapdoortechnologies.com/

  • Anonymous

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