Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Book Apps

Forbes had a recent article about the growing use of apps in e-books. More and more people are buying tablets to read books. At the same time, the cost of independently published e-books has gone down, although those published by what's called "legacy" publishers have remained higher. To a lot of readers, the wide diversity in cost of each kind of book doesn't make a lot of sense since when you break it down, it's the words people are buying.

But finally, there may be a coming justification for the higher priced e-books. And it's possible that these books could be created by both independently and legacy published authors. That "thing" is e-book apps. At the moment, most of these books are coming from big publishers, but there are savvy independent authors who could create apps for their e-books.

Here are some examples of apps in books:
Atlas Shrugged includes "actual manuscript pages, the ability to share quotes on social media, and audio clips of Ayn Rand on various topics."

The Gift is " not only narrated, but the reader has to interact with various parts of the book to move the story forward."

Then there's the book Chopsticks: "As you turn the pages, you aren’t confronted with a traditional narrative, but rather interact with different pieces of the lives of Glory, a teen piano player, and the boy who moves in next door. The story’s told through newspaper clippings, pictures, songs, and more."
Some may think that only a big publisher could afford to include apps in a book, but I think there are people out there who could create possible apps at a rate independent authors could possibly afford.

What would you think of a game or music or videos in your e-book? Would it enhance your book enough to make the price for the book worth the extras?


  1. A couple of the books the kids have are interactive, and that's cute, but the add-ins aren't so much that they take away from the story. I don't know if I'd want games or music in my book. I read a book for the story, not for all the bells and whistles.

    That's the reason I like my Kindle. I don't need to browse the web or check email. I dont want anything distracting me from the story.

  2. Ack! Not another thing to learn! I could see some definite benefits for some, depending on the type of book. My own, not so much...or at least none that I can think of.

    I wonder if they'll ever come out with a "scratch and sniff" app? Now that could be useful. Of course they will. Only a matter of time. Maybe I should get a patent on transmitting various smells over wifi...

  3. Laura, you would probably make a ton of money with a scratch and sniff app. Not from me, but I would bet some people would buy it.

    Laurita, I could see games and music in some children's books, but I don't want either in the books I read.

  4. I think they're designing these interactive book apps to snag the gadget happy readers. I'd like to say younger readers except I know several gadget happy people in their 40's and 50's. :-)

    For me, reading is a quiet love affair with a story. Among the many reason I read is to not think. By that I mean reading is a break from normal routines and a place to escape for out of my world. I don't want to it to be interactive.

    Still these apps are things all authors need to keep an eye on.


  5. One more thing to do! was my first reaction. I asked my son, who is a designer at a game company, how difficult is it to create an app? He said, depends on the app. (He's so helpful, isn't he?)

  6. Wouldn't it depend on the type of book? Children's books seem like a good venue, and maybe some textbooks or academic books. Also perhaps for some of those stories where the reader can choose or influence the outcome. But I don't see it for myself. There are so many good books where the pleasure of reading is all I need or have time for. Good question.

  7. For children's books or young readers, they'd probably think it was cool.

    I buy books to read books. That's all I want.

    lol Does that make me sound grumpy?

    In Which We Start Anew

  8. It would really depend on the kind of book. I wouldn't need all the extra in a novel, but a book on movies or a band would be cool with additional features. I get several magazines as apps now and it's wild what can be included.

  9. Sounds like fun, but I'm afraid it would take me a long time to do one, unless I hired out.

    Morgan Mandel

  10. The thing I like about books is that you don't have commercial breaks and aren't bombarded with advertising so you can read without interruption. Having games and interaction seems to defeat this. I wouldn't be interested.

  11. I don't think I'd like any of these in my fiction, but for nonfiction (research, fun, text books..) I think it would be great! :)

  12. I can see the benefit for kids books. There could be learning concepts involved to move the story forward or to change direction for multiple endings. But I'm not so sure for adult books. I do not want to have to do something to move the book along except to turn the page.

  13. I love the concept. Imagine Harry Potter this way!

  14. Leslea, I see your point, but it brings me back around to my initial reaction: a book with interactive or sideways bits is a different sort of animal.

    The app of a book is the imagination of a reader. The point of reading a book is to lose yourself and let the author take you by the hand and lead you through his/her structuring of a narrative.

    That said, an appbook, while not the same, could be an awesome experience in its own right.

    It would be cool to be able to choose. It would be cool to be able to pay a lower amount for a book, a higher amount for an appbook, or a small additional amount to upgrade from a book to the app.

    Harry Potter AS A BOOK is a trip! The app, like the movies, would build on the experience of the reader with the text.

    That's my fifteen cents' worth! lol

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

  15. Little Pickle Press is putting all their picture books into app format. They are way ahead of the game. They just stood up against Disney at Bologna Children's Book Fair in their new digital category and recently took an Appy Award home. Bob, you're correct. For illustrated books, apps are terrific. Newest and incredibly enhanced app from LPP is Your Fantastic Elastic Brain with about 50 interactive projects built in. Amazing stuff. In Europe, apps are the way to go for e-books.

  16. Way to go, Little Pickle Press!!

  17. It is cool for children’s picture books and there are a lot of possibilities in textbooks, how to books etc. But I don’t think I would enjoy too much of this in novels. I think it would bounce you out of the story. Having said that, someone will do it brilliantly where it moves the story forward.

  18. I agree George with everything you said, including that someone will do it so well that we'll be wrong.


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