Change happens slowly. After all, look how long the United States has resisted the metric system that the rest of the world has adopted decades ago. In the e-book world, today’s e-books simply show static text and graphics. For fiction, this is fine because fiction uses words to create images in your head, which is far superior to anything Hollywood can even produce. Where interactive e-books excel is when it comes to non-fiction.
It’s far easier to learn how to use a complicated computer program like Excel or learn how to tie a fishing hook if you can watch a video or animation that you can slow down, rewind, and watch over and over again. If you’re learning science, a video or animation of how cells divide or how a physics principle works is far more compelling when you an see it rather than stare at a confusing formula. The future of interactive e-books lies with non-fiction.
Right now Apple’s iBook standard offers the most interactivity. In the past, iBooks were limited to viewing just on the iPad. Then Apple opened iBooks up to the Macintosh. Now with little fanfare, Apple has finally opened iBooks up on the iPhone models with the larger screens.
That means if you create an interactive iBook, you can now reach iPhone, iPad, and Macintosh users. While that’s still not as universal as Kindle, which offers a Kindle reader for nearly every operating system, it does expand the market for interactive iBooks a little more. More importantly, iBooks offers true interactivity with the ability to embed HTML5 code, Keynote presentations, and hyperlinks to Internet resources so an iBook acts like a website focused on a single topic.
Creating an interactive iBook is a lot harder than just turning a Word document into an ordinary e-book, so right now the effort may not be worth it. However, interactivity is the future so the sooner you start experimenting, the sooner you can be on the forefront of the interactive iBook market when it finally starts dominating the e-book market (if ever).
If you’re looking for a way to separate your non-fiction e-book from the rest of your competitors, creating an interactive iBook version is one way to do it. There may not be enough money in it right now to make it worth it, but give it time and it will simply grow over time. It’s just inevitable.