I’m very excited about the opportunities to create enhanced ebooks. Clearly there’s a lot to learn here about what will work, what consumers will want out of an enhanced experience (do they want one?) and what the commercial parameters are. It will be fascinating to see how this develops and where the book and the web will merge. This O’Reilly post provides an interesting view.
Yet before we get to enhancing our digital books, there’s still work to do to enhance the printed book experience.
At F+WI, we’ve instigated an initiative to encourage readers to feedback on our books by offering an incentive for an online review, using a link we promote at the end of our new titles. This is a great way of getting feedback and also allows us to capture the names of our readers, with permission, for future marketing. For me this is Stage 1. Stage 2, which we’re now beginning to implement, is a better integration of the web with the book. In the case of our craft books this might involve visiting a website to download the patterns required for the projects, for example. Stage 3, which is where we need to get to, is a much more integrated book and online experience. Taking craft as an example again, it’s easy to see how we might encourage readers to visit a website to share pictures of projects they’ve completed and for other readers to offer tips or enhancements to the projects in the book.
All of this is about adding value to the experience of the book while benefiting us by creating a direct to consumer relationship with our readers and building audience.
I think there’s much we can do here to enhance the printed book experience even before we get into enhancing the digital book and I’m excited about bringing both forward in tandem.