Enhanced E-Books

The subject of ebooks is old news by now, practically passé. These days the talk is all about enhanced ebooks – a sort of multimedia reading experience that could be part game, part movie, part interactive learning experience, and no doubt, part advertising.

Imagine reading a novel and being able to click on links throughout the text, taking you to maps, videos, author interviews, and anything else a programmer can think up.

Personally, it sounds to me like it would have its advantages in certain cases, but in general, no thanks. When I’m reading, I like to READ. It’s hard enough to focus these days, with our brains all messed up from email and the Internet. When I’m reading, I don’t want to be distracted by hyperlinks.

But that’s just me, and I’m ancient. And even though I love my Kindle and I spend pretty much all day on the computer, I’m still somewhat of a purist when it comes to reading.

What about you?

Today’s Q4U: What do you think of the idea of enhanced ebooks?

Have a great weekend!

(c) 2010 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!

88 Comments

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  5. Heather on October 19, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    >For nonfiction books like Scientist Steve Spangler's Naked Eggs book, it's fabulous. The how-to videos showing the experiments are right there within the book!



  6. DeadlyAccurate on October 14, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    >Right tool for the right job. Some books would be much better with enhancements. For others it would merely be a gimmick. Nonfiction would probably be fantastic. Imagine having the index linked, or having all the books cited by the author pointing to their Amazon/BN/whatever page. Some books would benefit greatly by having video clips instead of static images. (A book about the mating habits of the African lion could actually link to a clip of lions mating).

    Maps for fantasy novels. Pronunciation guides that pop up when you click on the character's name. Anything that might be at the front of the book could be enhanced to be more functional.

    But just because you can put a video clip or a link or an image in there doesn't mean you should.



  7. Scooter Carlyle on October 11, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    >My main character is a musician. I would love for recordings of the music she's using to be imbedded into the e-book. I've read so many books in which music takes an integral part, and I've often looked up the music (if it's indeed from the real world) out of curiosity.

    Hypothetically speaking, would that be appealing to readers?



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  9. Jil on October 9, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    >I would not like enhanced e-books at all. Actually I don't like the idea of e-books , except perhaps when traveling, but to have other things there butting into my imagination would be annoying and distracting,
    I once wrote a computer story for Art Linkletter in which the reader , at certain points , could decide which way to go. Was that ever murder to write!



  10. Barb W on October 9, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    >I think I would like being able to look at maps or the definition of a word while reading. My children and I almost always have a map and/or dictionary next to us when we read our history books.

    But, besides that I think it could be distracting.

    As a writer, it just sounds like more work. 😉



  11. Chad on October 9, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    >I agree with you, Rachelle–I'm quite the Luddite when it comes to reading: giving me a real book any day!

    For a chuckle, or two, please see my blog at http://movethemountains.blogspot.com/2010/10/dad-dangerous-doodies.html

    You'll be glad you did.



  12. vvdenman.com on October 9, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    >That reminds me of my computer. When I'm reading, I want to get away from all the clicking distractions. Eewww.



  13. Judy on October 9, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    >I love my Nook (2 months old) but just want to READ…not have ads, etc on my ereader.



  14. Anna Lefler on October 9, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    >It sounds like a fine idea for non-fiction, but as novels go, I'm a purist.

    I think the novel should stand on its own writing and story-telling merit.

    I just outed myself as an old-school fuddy-duddy, didn't I? Ah, well.



  15. Gina Burgess on October 9, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    >No, thanks. This is why I read at night before bed. No phone ringing, no one pestering me, no guilty feelings about dusty shelves, no interruptions.

    I love a well-written book that gives suggestions of what a place looks like and what characters look like which allows my vivid imagination to run wild. It is genius writing because the author is then a partner with the reader and not a dictator.

    Enhanced books only muck up good writing, or distract from bad writing. Unlike graphic novels where the story is enhanced by the pictures, this kind of interactive "story" would dam up the story flow and splinter the mind. For me, it would raise stress levels and blood pressure. The news does that just fine, thank you very much. I don't need my soothing entertainment to do the same.



  16. Judith Robl on October 9, 2010 at 6:55 AM

    >There are studies about how playing video games changes the thought patterns in children's minds. What will effect will an enhanced e-book have on those thought patterns? And will our next generations even learn to read the way we know reading?

    One of my friends asked to see a paper that her college age son had gotten a really good grade on. He didn't have it. It was never on paper. He emailed his professor, got the comments back on email, and erased because he wanted the space for something else.

    Talk about ephemera!

    We already have a generation that has no respect for the solid ephemera of paper. The electronic version is a real will-o-the-wisp.



  17. Neil Larkins on October 9, 2010 at 12:29 AM

    >I'm with the Huzzah for BOOKS! crowd. After hours on the computer, I long for that wonderful, simple BOOK experience, the writer taking me along word by word, sentence by sentence. I'm easily distracted enough as it is without something right there in front of me doing the same thing. Down with the enhanced stuff. Up with the stark simplicity of BOOKS that allow your mind to create a world of complexity no hyperlinks can match.



  18. Beck McDowell on October 9, 2010 at 12:03 AM

    >Another teacher perspective: For non-fiction, enhanced ebooks can bring history to life. Imagine reading about the civil rights movement, then clicking immediately on a video of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech – or links to newspaper articles on Rosa Park's stand.

    And for those of you who claim to be purists, you've already embraced multi-media, just by reading this blog and responding to the social opportunity for discussion in the Comments section.

    There's plenty of room in this world for ALL kinds of books. If you truly love to read, open your mind to the advantages of each different form for different circumstances. I think we're really fortunate to live in such exciting times for readers!



  19. Old Salt on October 8, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    >I'll give up my paper books when they pry them from my cold, dead hands. Fie on ebooks of all stripes.



  20. Bonnie Lacy on October 8, 2010 at 9:28 PM

    >Could be fun with kid's books. Or digital encyclopedia's. Newspapers. But it's nothing I'd like to fall asleep with!!1



  21. lalorek on October 8, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    >It sounds like a CD-ROM. The novelty wears off very quickly.



  22. aanna on October 8, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    >One of my favorite things about reading a novel is getting to enter another world. I can easily imagine how an enhanced e-book could…well, enhance the experience of reading a story. There would be images, sounds, extra information, anything you could possibly need to build and expand the world you've entered. Who hasn't wondered in the middle of a chapter, "How did the author come up with this fabulous twist?" or wanted to know exactly what that particular form of rhododendron looked like? Once I've finished with a good book (or film for that matter), my first reaction is to go and glean as much information on it as I can. I basically have to go scavenge for all the things that an enhanced e-book would already have available to me.

    However, there is something so comforting, so vital, so intimate about holding a musty old book in my hands. I won't give that up for anything in the world…even convenience.



  23. Kersley Fitzgerald on October 8, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    >For the most part, yes. But I have a book written that's just begging for something more interactive. It's a kids' sci fi book that integrates things like how a jet engine works and why the moon makes the tide. I'd love for the reader to be able to click on a link and see a diagram of the interior of a turbo fan engine.



  24. Carol J. Garvin on October 8, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    >The idea of visual distractions on the page doesn't appeal to me. If I want to check a definition or do a quick bit of research I want the opportunity to leave the book temporarily and use separate dictionary or search engine software. I would not want links suggested to me while I'm reading the story text.



  25. Susan Spann on October 8, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    >I have to agree with you on this one. I like reading on my Kindle (which surprised me in and of itself) but I don't want a bunch of links or interactive add-ons cluttering the experience. I like the Kindle because it "feels" like a "real book" and not an electronic device. Interactive is great for the web and computer programs, but please leave my books alone (or at least give me the option of buying either the "enhanced" version or the traditional version so I can opt out of the bells an whistles).

    More complicated isn't always better.



  26. pathunstrom on October 8, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    >I see some concepts in which enhanced e-books would not only be a good idea, but more valuable than an 'un-enhanced' version. For example, I discuss table top role playing games on my blog, and could see enhanced e-books being the future of e-publishing in that market.

    But for fiction, unless the enhancements were few, extremely well placed, and actually enhance the story being told, I would prefer they not use it. Just like 3D movies, not every book needs the enhancements.



  27. Crystal on October 8, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    >Please, just give me paper.

    I don't even own an e-reader, and no plans to buy one. Still rockin' it old school here.



  28. Heather on October 8, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    >I read e-books on the computer and listen to audiobooks, but I can never get into them nearly as much as I can when I hold the paper version in my hands. I think an enhanced e-book would be pointless for a reader like me–I'd never use the extra features because I'd forget about them.



  29. Abra on October 8, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    >Spectacular for nonfiction. Intrusive for fiction. Exciting for experimental forms of narrative. Going to be huge for tie-ins to existing properties (High School Musical comes to mind).



  30. PatriciaW on October 8, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    >Great for children's books, I think. Otherwise, I'm with you. Probably also good for some non-fiction. But in general, I don't want author interviews or chapter reads, book trailers or other visual interpretations or anything else popping up at me when I'm reading. I simply want to read…and imagine.



  31. Meg on October 8, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    >I wouldn't like it if there were links and things within the text itself. That would be way too distracting.

    What might be interesting is something at the beginning or end of the book – sort of like a "special features" on a DVD. Then you could look up a map or author interviews if you wanted to, but not have them distracting you in the middle of while you're trying to read.



  32. Rochelle Barlow on October 8, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    >Bleh! Tempting…. but not. Well, actually it's not tempting. I hate trying to get through articles online that have hyper-links all over them. Heaven forbid if your mouse accidentally hovers over it and you can never get that little link bubble to go away! Can't we just leave the beauty and purity of reading alone!? I want to read to ESCAPE not to remember. I think it'd be okay if they wanted to include things like that at the end or the beginning of the book, just please don't muddle up the writing. Or make it an option to read the text with hyper-links. Like when you get to chose to watch Legally Blonde with the pop-up balloons (like in pop-up video) or just watch the original. Then maybe I'd read the book like that one my second or fifth reading of it.



  33. Colleen on October 8, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    >I long for fewer distractions, not more, but the teens and 20-30 somethings seem more comfortable in that world, so that's probably where we're going. Of course, I never thought I'd use an Iphone, either, but I can't live without mine.
    Colleen Fong



  34. Amy DeTrempe on October 8, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    >Honestly, not sure. I don't even have an e-book of any kind. I like my books made of paper. But, I am sure some day in the not-so-distant future I will break down and buy one. Being able to carry my library with me does hold some appeal.



  35. Keli Gwyn on October 8, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    >I write historicals and am old-fashioned. I like the feel of a book in my hand. I like the smell. I like turning the pages. I relate to Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation who loved reading a paper and ink book.

    Even so, I like the idea of an e-book reader because reading books on screen would cut down on the stacks of books piled around my house. One day I might break down and get a reader, but I'd want any additional features and click-through links to be at the end of book. I don't want to be taken out of the fictional world when I'm in the middle of a story.



  36. James L. Rubart on October 8, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    >Love the idea, IF the additional content is at the end of the book like done with DVDs.



  37. Courtney Walsh on October 8, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    >I knew one day I would seem old as technology surpassed me, but this doesn't interest me at all. I don't want to read on a computer of any kind. Computers remind me of work and reading should be an escape.

    I do realize I will be in the minority, but those Harry Potter newspapers are pretty to look at on the big screen…just not in my hand. 🙁

    Gosh, I feel like an old "fuddy-duddy"…and I'm only in my 30's! lol



  38. Tim A Martin on October 8, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    >I have to agree. I love my Nook, but it'll never replace good 'ole hardback or paperback books. Adding hyperlinks and other bells and whistles just seems to take away from the reading experience.



  39. Tamika: on October 8, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    >No thanks:) I don't want any distractions from the story! Maybe some links of fun tools at the end of the book directing you to an Author Page of upcoming project book trailers. But definitely, at the END.



  40. Wendy Paine Miller on October 8, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    >I’ve read about this. Explanations describing how the author needs to be open to becoming more of a creator. I’m open to it, though I’d hate to see authors lose the nuance and beauty of story because of this concept. There’s something about being naturally swept from one page to the next. This has such potential to interrupt that intoxicating and addicting feeling of a great read.

    I’m open, but I might need to be tugged along on this one.

    If I had my way I’d hold onto books (the kind you can dog-ear) forever.

    I’m ancient too, Rachelle.
    Have a great weekend.
    ~ Wendy



  41. Niki Turner on October 8, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    >For non-fiction I think these types of enhancements could be helpful. And for fiction, maybe an author interview at the END, but not throughout the story.
    I suppose it's generational. My kids love the "enhanced" DVDs. I hate them. I just want to watch the movie!



  42. Ishta Mercurio on October 8, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    >I prefer my reading experience unenhanced.

    If I want moving graphics and sound, I turn on the TV.



  43. Christen Krumm on October 8, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    >they sound pretty cool, however, i like my books to be books. i like the hold the actual book in my hands when i read. while, it could be nice, it would just get annoying and very distracting… 🙂

    xo,
    christen



  44. mary bailey on October 8, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    >This is the first I've heard about enhanced ebooks and I think it sounds like another technological nightmare for my poor ADD brain!

    🙂



  45. Samuel on October 8, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    >For some purposes, enhanced ebooks could be wonderful. Textbooks, non-fiction works, and cookbooks could be made much better with enhanced content.

    And I love the idea of being able to access maps while reading fantasy work—on my paper books, I leave a bookmark on the map page for quick reference. This could really be improved with an enhanced ebook.

    But, for most reading, this is a horrible idea. I love reading, getting lost in the words and the sentences. The Kindle 3 was the first ebook device that was able to accomplish this for me. Any kind of enhanced content would distract from the reading experience.

    Enhanced ebooks might sell well for the general—non-reading—public, but serious readers will continue to prefer a smooth reading experience that disappears behind the content.



  46. Richard Gibson on October 8, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    >Early web pages with the blue links were tantalizing entries to the new interconnected world. It was hard for me to visit a page and read all the way through it without linking my merry way until I was so far gone I had no idea where I had started.

    Today (I think and hope) both web page designers and I have grown – they link less, and only for importance, and I filter more, read the page I came to read and (maybe) mentally noting one or two possible links I might like to explore when I'm done here. That's how I would imagine handling interlinkages within a book. I'd be able to take it or leave it.

    Now if they figure out how to introduce pop-ups, either ads or anything else, that would be a huge annoyance.



  47. MZMackay on October 8, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    >I figured it would just be a matter of time before this would come along. This would make a book very interactive to the reader.

    I do however wonder if this no longer leaves anything for the reader to even imagine how things look, or feel as they read.

    For a certain generation, obviously not mine, this concept will be very attractive. For me, I just miss the feel of paper under my fingertips.



  48. T. Anne on October 8, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    >Enhanced e-books? I think for kids, MG and YA, but I don't see this infiltrating my leisure reading anytime soon. I'd be apt to ignore the features if it did.

    I really love my Kindle, so much so that when I take the kids to a bookstore I pull out a pen and paper and simply jot down what books I want to download later. I get all the samples I want and decide from there what's worth reading.

    For my birthday last month my husband bought me an iPad 3G. It was more of a 'family' gift, but nevertheless made its way into our house under the pretense of my birthday. I have to say, I LOVE it. I slip it into my purse and take it with me everywhere. I have a Kindle app on there as well, but the iBookstore is fun all on its own. The iBookstore is in no way better than Amazon, but it has its own appeal and I'm not one to turn away from a selection of books. Since my family uses it so much it can never replace my Kindle. That's still my safe haven for reading. 😉



  49. Melissa Marsh on October 8, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    >Agree with you, Rachelle! Give me plain ol' words any day. 🙂



  50. Beth on October 8, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    >Agreed. I read to read. I don't want the distractions.



  51. Erica Vetsch on October 8, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    >When I first heard about enhanced e-books…I think the director/film maker associated with the project was calling it a Vook (video book?)…I thought it might be an interesting novelty.

    With the advances of technology though, I thought about how quickly a Vook would be outdated.

    We've become insatiable when it comes to bigger and better, faster and more realistic content. How soon will the amazing special effects movie-goers ohhhed and ahhhed about in Avatar become old news?

    Would there ever be such a thing as a Classic Enhanced E-book? Or would they only be outmoded?



  52. Eric J. Krause on October 8, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    >I'm with you, Rachelle. When I have a book, I want to read it without the distraction of hyperlinks and whatnot. But having said that, I think this enhanced ebook idea is excellent for a second read through. Maybe a download can come with a hyperlink text and plain text. I'd be happy with that.



  53. Walt M on October 8, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    >I remember seeing certain enhancements like these on DVDs. The makers of the DVD want you to log in to "enhance" your viewing experience and they make it difficult for you to skip the enhancements and go straight to the movie.

    If I want to look up a word or a concept, I will look it up. But don't put the enhancements there for me as it spoils some of the joy of reading for pleasure.



  54. Tom M Franklin on October 8, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    >Full Disclosure Time: I spend my 40-hour work-a-day life at a well-respected University Press and have been tangentially involved in the the creation of an enhanced e-book.

    When i first heard about enhanced e-books I thought, "sounds like a gimmick". Placed alongside Smell-O-Vision and Sensurround in movie theaters, I figured it would be a flash-in-the-pan that wouldn't pan out. How many books can really support that type of "enhancement" without distracting readers from reading.

    Some books, however, can support it. The book we're publishing as an enhanced e-book is "Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues"
    (http://amzn.to/b6qRXZ). It's by Bill Ferris who, back in the sixties, took a tape recorder and a movie camera with him deep into Mississippi and was accepted into homes, barber shops and churches. He collected audio and film footage of the performers that documents the music and the musicians of the time in a way that still amazes me every time I see the footage. (Bill Ferris is white; he was driving through Mississippi during some of the most racially tense times)

    The initial book came with a CD of music and a DVD of some of his film footage. The enhanced e-book inserts the music tracks and/or film footage at the beginning of the section where the musician or the style of music is being described. Ferris spent time working on this when the idea of an enhanced e-book was first proposed — he selected the exact placement of the audio/film tracks.

    I'm old enough to know that I'm never likely to embrace an e-reader. I want the feel of paper, of a series of bound folio pages in my hand to give me the full reading experience I want. However, seeing test runs of the enhanced e-book for "Give My Poor Heart Ease" I can honestly say this version, in many ways, works better than the bound paper version.

    Is this for every book? No, just as 3D isn't for every movie. Can it work for some books? Yes. (However, as with every new medium, it needs to be handled with care and respect)

    — Tom



  55. Reesha on October 8, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    >For maps and family trees that are relevant to the story, this makes sense. In a paperback book, if those things are included at the beginning, all you have to do is flip from where you're reading, keeping your thumb in the pages so you don't loose your place.
    But on an eReader, sometimes you can't flip through several pages at a time in a fast manner. So going back to look at the map or that family tree can be tedious.
    So I really like the idea of being able to click back to it every so often.

    Actually, instead of a hyper-link, what I would really like is a small tab on the side that I could touch (yes, it would require a touch screen,) to pull out that map.

    I also think it would be amazing to have interactive books totally decked out in all the links, tabs, and amazing things that we can do with such technology. Just think what the Ologies series could do with it!
    But it would have to be a book specifically written with interactivity in mind. I wouldn't want a book that was made to be just a book turned into something interactive.



  56. Marcia on October 8, 2010 at 8:34 AM

    >I don't want ALL of life to turn into the internet.



  57. Alexis Grant on October 8, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    >Wow — I think that would be SO COOL. In fact, while I normally prefer reading on paper, that would be reason for me to buy a Kindle or Nook or whatever's newest when I get around to buying one.

    I'm no doubt going to spend half of today coming up with ideas for multimedia for my book. Why not have two versions — One for people who just want to read, and one for folks who want a broader experience?



  58. Kay on October 8, 2010 at 8:23 AM

    >I admit I love the convenience of my Kindle and I use the definition feature from time to time because I don't have to leave the page (unless I need a more thorough definition). But enhanced to this level, I think not.

    I frequently find myself getting lost on websites or blogs because I click a link that has more links that has even more links. Pretty soon I can't remember what I was reading in the first place. It can be convenient for garnering more information, I'll admit, I just wish more links opened in different windows so I wouldn't lose my original site.

    But when I read a book for pleasure, I want to be absorbed by the book. If I'm linking to other sites for additional information perhaps the author isn't telling the story well enough.



  59. Enjoying the journey, Karla on October 8, 2010 at 8:20 AM

    >I think the e-readers are cool and great for travel but to me there is nothing better than curling up with a real book. I have my favorite used bookstore and I love going in and trading books and finding new treasures.

    For me nothing will replace my paper books.



  60. BK on October 8, 2010 at 7:56 AM

    >Yuck!



  61. Nazarea on October 8, 2010 at 7:43 AM

    >I'll be honest–I adore reading on my nook. It makes beta reading for friends a lot easier, and sicne I carry shtuff for everyone in my family, it lightens my load somewhat. But I don't want enhanced content–I just want the book. If I want interview with the author and all that fun stuff, I'll go to the author website.



  62. Marla Taviano on October 8, 2010 at 7:35 AM

    >I think they're great–for other people. I'm ancient too. I don't really even like movies that much. WORDS ONLY PLEASE.



  63. Jenn on October 8, 2010 at 7:34 AM

    >I don't like it. I am still resisting the ebook, albeit with ever-weakening resolve, but when I make the jump I don't see the enhanced versions holding much appeal for me. When I am reading for pleasure I don't need or want it to be like research. And, personally, my A.D.D. doesn't need any more "encouragement."



  64. steeleweed on October 8, 2010 at 7:33 AM

    >As an avid reader, I will always prefer paper. Even having spent 45+ years as a programmer, I find reading on a computer clumsy and slow. I will eventually own some sort of eReader simply because of the advantages it has for saving space – my books are pushing me out of the house. (My next home will be a library).

    I could see enhanced eBooks for some purposes – history for example or technical manuals – DIY would benefit from videos. I might even enhance a book of poetry with music or images.

    By and large, my imagination is better than most 'performance' – I'm happy with my mental image of a protagonist and am not particularly interesting in the view of the graphic artist hired by the author or publisher.



  65. Triken on October 8, 2010 at 7:28 AM

    >Personally, I think that such features are great for kids to get them into reading to start, but I agree that once I'm reading a book, I just want to read the book. My three-year old son, however, begs to read his books on my iPad that have interactive features. Then, when we travel, he always takes the actual book with him.



  66. Jill Kemerer on October 8, 2010 at 7:25 AM

    >Confession: I don't own an e-reader. But if I did, and the additional features were offered, I would probably use them the way I use extras on a DVD, after I was finished reading.

    Often, I'll read a book that inspires me to delve further into a subject, so links and such would make it easier.



  67. Rik on October 8, 2010 at 7:25 AM

    >I don't see what the fuss is about – I've got a website for all that enhanced stuff: a click away for those who need it while a good arms-length away for those who want to concentrate on the read. Why trap all the enhanced stuff away in a file when the shiny could be roaming around the internet touting for business?



  68. Short Thoughts on October 8, 2010 at 7:00 AM

    >Enhanced ebooks are not books. They may involve some text and some reading, but so does playing the Legend of Zelda. I really liked Michael Hyatt's recent post about the iPad and the Kindle. Too many distractions does not make for a beneficial reading experience.



  69. --Deb on October 8, 2010 at 6:46 AM

    >The idea of enhanced ebooks doesn't really appeal to me. At all. Maybe for something like a cookbook or a knitting book if you need reminders about certain techniques, or video clips or something. I can see that. But just a regular book? Um, why? Like Ted said above, I suppose having links to maps and relevant illustrations might not be a horrible idea, but otherwise–let me get to the story, please!



  70. J.C. on October 8, 2010 at 6:42 AM

    >I think that they would be awesome. For people who normally don't read books.

    I'm just curious for what it would take to get done. I have some ideas that I would love to flesh out in an enhanced e-book format.



  71. Timothy Fish on October 8, 2010 at 6:38 AM

    >I see potential for non-fiction books. Often, non-fiction books are an attempt to take the classroom experience and bundle it in a book, so existing books come up short of what we would actually like to accomplish. There are many things we might add to the book that would enhance the reader’s ability to learn the content. When I wrote Church Website Design: A step by step approach a few years ago, there were a number of activities I asked the reader to do, such as getting a piece of paper and drawing on it, but I wasn’t confident that readers would actually put the book down long enough to do the activities. If the activities were built into the book, they might be more likely to do the work.

    Ted Cross brings up a good point about fantasy books. It should be as easy for the reader to turn back to the map on a e-reader as it is for a paper book (not that I actually look at the map much when I read fantasy). But for the most part I think the extra stuff is just an unneeded distraction with novels. There’s a good reason why books targeted at adults don’t have pictures. The cost of including pictures is far greater than the benefit. We’ve had the ability to include pictures in books for a long time, but they’ve turned out to be a waste of time with novels. Moving novels into an electronic format isn’t going to make pictures or other content any more worthwhile. I’m sure some publishers will play with such content as a gimmick, but it won’t be long before novels will be back to just words.



  72. Noelle Pierce on October 8, 2010 at 6:32 AM

    >Honestly, I think enhanced books would cause me to become ADHD. I don't need additional distractions when I read. When I'm researching historical facts online for my own book, I tend to get caught up in reading about history, then click on a link and I'm on a new page, with more interesting facts. Ooh, another link. More historical sto–shiny!

    With a book, I want to sit and read. I do not want to start experiencing the same temptation the internet offers. I'd never finish! (Though the map idea is kinda cool. I flipped back and forth between the drawn map at the beginning of Eragon and the text as I read, so I could orient myself).



  73. Heidiopia on October 8, 2010 at 6:23 AM

    >I'm with you, Rachelle… I just want to READ. But I could see the appeal, especially for the younger generations of readers. In fact, it might make "readers" out of "non-readers" in some cases.



  74. piscesmuse on October 8, 2010 at 6:01 AM

    >When I am reading it is a slowing down and focusing on the book. A sinking in and fully emerging myself into the process. I would think that this "enhanced" e-book would be more of a distraction. A ripping out of that wonderful state of floating inside of the words of a book. A tearing back to reality where we have hyper links. It would be a different experience for a book than the reason I read books.

    I would, however, be very interested to see how it would effect teenagers and the younger age groups. If it would be something they might be interested in and that would garner a larger audience for books?



  75. Catherine West on October 8, 2010 at 6:00 AM

    >Actually, when I read this I thought, "Now, THAT'S cool!" Maybe it's too early in the morning and I haven't had enough coffee. Maybe I'm just bored. But I think it has more to do with the fact that my dad is getting me an iPad for my birthday! Yeah, I'm ancient too but my dad still spoils me!!
    The world is in a constant state of change. I guess we can either change with it or get left behind. But I hope there will always be real books in bookstores for us to browse through and purchase.



  76. Michael Hyatt on October 8, 2010 at 5:58 AM

    >I think it’s a lame idea. It tries to get people to do something they otherwise wouldn’t do: read. I want a completely immersive experience. I believe in the value of long-form, text-driven, content. Enhanced e-books only interrupt that experience.

    However, I do believe *enriched* e-books could work. This is where the bells and whistles are ancillary to the book. The video or additional content appears at the beginning or end of a book, not in the middle. In that way it’s not intrusive—just like DVDs are often sold now.



  77. Katie Ganshert on October 8, 2010 at 5:43 AM

    >Ick. No thanks for me too. I think I'd like it for a nonfiction book. For sure. But the point of reading a novel, for me, is to get lost in the story. If I had all these links, or author interview videos, or whatever they think of – it would rip me right out of the story. I'd remember I was just sitting on my couch instead of inside this author's world. Bleck. Double no thank you.



  78. Brenda on October 8, 2010 at 5:13 AM

    >I am a sixty year old who loves to read. But I love to read on my iPad. The ability to see a word definition at any time enhances the experience and allows me to get more into whatever book I'm reading.



  79. Lance Albury on October 8, 2010 at 5:10 AM

    >I'm a purist for the most part. I don't own an e-reader and don't plan on it in the near future. If I did own one, I can see some circumstances where I might want to click on a map or some aid of the sort. I can see it being especially useful for non-fiction.



  80. Jay on October 8, 2010 at 4:56 AM

    >Maybe for non-fiction books this would be a good idea, since the goal of those is to mainly information transfer. But if I'm reading a story I don't want to be distracted with too much information that's not needed in the first place.

    Authors need to resist the urge to "explain everything" in their universe, why make it harder?



  81. Gwen Stewart on October 8, 2010 at 4:45 AM

    >Oh, no.

    The teacher in me almost wept when I read this. Enhanced content may be dandy for adults, but not for kids, please. How will they learn to tap into their own visual and sensory imagination…let alone to live there for long stretches of time?

    In school we're already seeing the results of the 'now, now, now' culture. Our kids want immediate gratification in all things, including academic. They have trouble attending not only to the teacher, but to their own thoughts.

    Lest anyone think I'm a total fuddy-duddy, I project YouTube videos onto my whiteboard and use my iPhone 4 and music software in my music classroom. Technology has its place, yes. But not in children's fiction, please. JMHO



  82. Sharon A. Lavy on October 8, 2010 at 4:21 AM

    >Interesting concept.



  83. E.D. Lindquist on October 8, 2010 at 4:20 AM

    >I've found – and argued – that the attraction of ebooks is convenience, not glitz.



  84. Don Booker on October 8, 2010 at 3:26 AM

    >I think that writers and directors may utilise this new form. I'm currently writing a short story and will film certain parts of it so readers will have the option to leave the story for a minute and meet a charachter of see an actual place. It's not something I see taking off in novels.



  85. Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke on October 8, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    >For non-fiction books I can see the whole enhanced model to be very attractive. But when it comes to fiction I have to say I want to use my own imagination while reading. That's the whole point. But I'm open…



  86. Anonymous on October 8, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    >Totally agree with you, Rachelle!
    It's bad enough to read a short article with dozens of hyperlinks–in BLUE–sprinkled throughout. Very distracting. I can't imagine reading a whole book with moving images or hyperlinks or colored text to distract us–I can just watch a movie or TV instead. Isn't this all part of the problem?



  87. Aimee L Salter on October 8, 2010 at 1:11 AM

    >I think my fourteen and sixteen year old nieces will tell their children how they remember days when we read entire books 'on paper' with no pictures and no extra media.

    And their kids won't believe them until they see the grainy, 14 mega-pixel images.



  88. Ted Cross on October 8, 2010 at 1:05 AM

    >For fantasy books I absolutely need to be able to click to a map at any time I wish, especially for books like the Silmarillion. I would also like to be able to see full-color artwork that was done for scenes within the book.



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