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From eBooks to enhanced eBooks

From eBooks to enhanced eBooks

In the course of the last decade, we have moved from print books, now called pBooks by some, to the growing presence of eBooks.

In parallel, screens that used to be used exclusively for display have become responsive and include an ever growing number of touch screens that enable the user to interact directly with what appears on the screen.

This is called evolution and, unlike human or animal evolution, it happens at light speed and we’d better keep up with it not to become a dinosaur  that no-one will ever read, only due to the lack of access to our books through the new technologies

 What are enhanced eBooks?

Enhanced eBooks are, surprise, surprise, eBooks that have been enhanced. There are currently a few ways to enhance eBooks. The most basic one being creating links from the index direct to the subject matter described in the index, a very popular item in non-fiction eBooks. For fiction eBooks, enhanced eBook means eBook containing soundtracks, art and animation aimed at setting the mood of the chapter, or other addition enabling the reader to step behind the scenes, view the book in landscape mode or see video interviews of the author or author’s notes.

Then comes the ever growing number of apps for children books that enable children to interact with the illustration through the touch screen and bring the book alive.

So, how does one create an enhanced eBook?

During the coming weeks, we will explore the following options

Multi-Platform, basic eBooks

Picture books + motion

Template based apps

Media Mixers

Today, we just have a quick reminder of how to create a non-enhanced eBook, there are a number of articles on that subject on this blog, under the section Formatting an eBook  for more information on that topic.

Multi-Platform, basic eBooks

One of the main problem aspiring authors face is to format their books for all the different platforms now available on the market. Luckily, the Web is a very generous place and here are some programs available for free that require only one time encoding and then converts the book to various formats with a single click. Here is a non-exhaustive sample of some such free programs


Converts to .epub, .mobi, .pdf or plain text

Pressbook and Leanpub

There are many more such programs, but one is quite enough for converting an eBook into the various formats and these three are good.

Next week, we will take a closer look at picture books.

Filed under: Formatting an ebook, Resources · Tags: ,

3 Responses to "From eBooks to enhanced eBooks"

  1. Frank Fiore says:

    Trapdoor Books: Doing Enhanced eBooks Right

    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.

  2. Patricia says:

    Well, I guess they will be initially geared mainly to traditional publishers and that the technology will rapidly become available to everyone.

  3. Mary says:

    It’s pretty amazing how slow the transition was from print to eBooks, but how fast the transition is for eBooks to enhanced eBooks! Looking forward to your upcoming series of posts. Do you think enhanced eBooks will be feasible for self-published books? Or will they be geared for traditional publishing houses?


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