A few years ago, the future of eBooks was still viewed by many as uncertain, and many did not hesitate to predict with a high degree of certainty that eBooks were doomed to be used by a confidential minority composed of geeks and nerds glued to their screen anyway.
These doomsayers are now biting their tongues and hiding under rocks as they have been proven woefully wrong.
Enhanced eBooks are growing fast in the children book market and are bound to gain popularity with teens and adults in the short/mid/long term, your prediction as to the speed it will catch up and grow an audience is as valid as anybody else’s, since no-one really knows.
What is sure however, is that the technology to enable creation of enhanced eBooks for all ages is growing. Though, to date, it is still available mainly on Apple related apps, as this is where the money lies to date, the rapid growth of android tablets, best exemplified by the over 4M Kindle Fire sold last December, points to a bright future for android app developers for enhanced eBooks and their users.
For us writers, it might be time to explore the possibilities already available.
The art of mixing images, sound and movies with text is still in infancy and the rules of good taste are being build.
Yet, whatever the good taste is proclaimed to be, mastering the new technology requires practice.
Thankfully, it does not necessarily require knowledge of coding as some generous techies out there are creating programs and apps that enable the non coder to create enhanced eBooks by using their code free tools.
Here are some of these new providers
Webdoc : think of a simplified cross between InDesign and DreamWeaver, where instead of having to plow through a heavy user manual with sequentially presented instructions, you are offered an easy to use creative canvas with simple instructions to follow
Blurb Mobile: This is not really the best tool to create a book, enhanced or not, but is excellent to practice adding text to images to build a story while, say, taking a walk in the park.
It works in 3 steps.
- Take a picture or upload an image
- Use the easy drag and drop function to add commentary as caption or audio file
- Automatically post to social networks, even if you do not have a blog or a website.
Interestingly, this was created by Blurb, a book printing company, which illustrates the growing bridges between books and enhanced eBooks.
Storify: Similar to Webdoc but with easy to use social network publishing functions
Hype: Slightly more complex, use to create animations.
And, last but not least, for those who still have a connection with their childhood, they might also want to play around with Toontastic, an app meant for children that provides them with tools to build interactive stories and animation.
These are not the only options, far from it, but they are a good place to start. So, time to look past the virtual printed page and onto the enhanced one.