Consumers don’t want interactive ebooks

The good news for those of us who prefer just to write than to be multimedia producers is that consumers in the UK have shown a marked lack of interest in so-called “enhanced” ebooks.

According to John Sargent, head of Macmillan’s global trade division, readers have shown that what they want is non-interactive books. This applies to both fiction and non-fiction.

Ebook Reader, by GoXunuReviews

I don’t know how far this would apply to other countries, or how the figure breaks down by age group or sector (eg education). But it makes sense. After all, if you want an interactive experience you can go on the web.

I am pretty sure that ebooks have not even begun to demonstrate their full potential, but I also believe that taking every opportunity to make them interactive or “enhanced” is not always appropriate either.

Perhaps in the future ebooks will be offered in at least two editions: interactive and non-interactive, in much the same way as electronic newsletters tend to come in HTML and plain text versions.

The information on which this article is based comes from the Winter 2013 edition of The Author, the journal of the Society of Authors, who in turn obtained it from The Bookseller.

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