Handheld Devices

New Research: A 'Tristram Shandy' eBooks Revolution?

Today most adult eBooks are just text in digital format. This is extremely helpful of course, it means you can carry a whole library in your handbag, and educational materials can be updated far more cheaply and easily than ever before. However, it doesn’t really maximise the potential in the digital format.

Our research to 250 IT professionals suggests this need to change. Firstly, the majority surveyed (69%) feel that eBooks will overtake paper books in popularity. Secondly, most believe that the real potential in eBooks is interactive.

Interactive eBooks are not just plain text in digital format. Instead they utilise all the possibilities the medium affords. This could be audio, video and social functions. But it could include much more than that. In fact it could comprise of a whole host of features we haven’t thought of yet.

Picture the whole fictional universe created by Tolkien brought to life. Imagine the techniques you see in the cinema incorporated on the eBook screen. Many on-the-ground pioneers are already working at this on their own. When we interviewed Dana Paxson last year he explained his fully interactive digital creation which has been developing since 1994:

“Readers who become immersed in work soak it up much faster and much more accurately than people who are distracted,” he told us. “I have been using all the abilities I have to make text and all the associated materials much more immersive for readers.”

Paxson’s particular solution may not be the one the leads the charge. But our new research does show that 83% of people surveyed believe that interactive eBooks will catch on.

The main difficulty, however, could be the professionals who will need to develop this material. 47% of those we surveyed feel that the biggest stumbling block will be publishers, 42% believe it will be readers, whilst only a handful (11%) believe it will be writers.

In the course of this new report we look at how Laurence Sterne led his own laggard industry in a publishing revolution way back in the 18th century and what this means today. We blend expert commentary from writers, publishers and eBook professionals worldwide, along with insights from our own survey respondents, to present an overview of the future of eBooks.

eBooks in their most interactive form may not have arrived yet, but when they do, it seems likely they will surprise us all.


Download the new report: ‘The Interactive eBooks Revolution: A Tristram Shandy Approach to Education, Literature & Publishing?’  



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