Thursday, March 31, 2011

Authors & ebooks: 11 points to ponder (part 2)

[Continued from part 1. This post originally appeared on I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) and has been updated as needed.]

#7 Interactive or not?
A big factor in ebooks for children is the level of interactivity. I’ve heard that some young kids are disappointed if a tablet ebook isn’t game-like, i.e.with movable components, animations, sound effects, and other media enrichments. My take is that an ebook can be reading-oriented OR game/movie-like OR something in between...but I don’t think every ebook must have jumping, jiggling, jangling elements to be worthwhile. Someone who wants to be completely immersed while reading may prefer zero interactivity. Ultimately, the market will decide. For my I.N.K. post about bringing game concepts to books, click here.

#8 Roles

Who’s involved in designing the interactivity? The developer...? Personally, when I think about creating an interactive book, an adaptation of an existing book almost seems more difficult than starting from scratch...guess it depends on what the interactive components turn out to be.

#9 Competition

The technological barrier to creating a digital book is getting ever lower, depending on what kind it is (text-only being the easiest.) And since 80% of Americans supposedly want to write at least one book, there are going to be many, many more ebooks. Whether they’ll be worth reading is another issue(!)

#10 Search

Finding a particular ebook is a bit of a Catch-22 situation at the moment. If you already know the title or author, it’s fairly easy to find it on whichever ebookstore. The question for authors is, how will people know your title even exists amidst the bazillion others?

#11 Business as usual?

If ebooks are priced lower, they may undermine the sales of traditional books, a huge problem for most publishers (and naturally authors.) The impact on libraries and bookstores, how schools will utilize ebooks, the affect on textbooks, the split authors get versus the various middlemen, how ebooks will be reviewed, the rise of indie publishing... whew, must stop now.

These factors and more are the reason it’s daunting for all involved, from authors to publishers to people who just want to read.
One of my current interests is to create interactive book apps and ideally I’d rather create the whole thing myself. A word processor plus drawing, painting, and layout software are the tools I currently use to make my I’m hoping for a reasonably easy app-creation tool that doesn’t require me to learn a computer coding language. Several companies have app-creation tools in beta testing right now, more info about that will be coming soon on E is for Book.

Many authors may be waiting for their publisher to take care of everything, hard to say.
I’m no expert on these issues, just am trying to be informed (despite the fact that much of this post is subject to change.) I'm pretty sure that paper books aren’t going away...many of us prefer them most or all of the time. What’s clear is that the book biz is being reconfigured all around us, right now.

Loreen Leedy

my web site


  1. Wow - great article!"What’s clear is that the book biz is being reconfigured all around us, right now." - I think it is generational. I think the younger the more eBooks is appealing. Thanks for writing - I am a fan of NOVO Ink - its a great resource for eBooks

  2. Very helpful post and great questions to consider as we go forward in this brave new e-world.

  3. Are there any message boards or blogs where writers and illustrators can hook up to create and discuss ebooks?