Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
I’m convinced we’re still in the very early stages of ebook evolution. The current print-under-glass model works great for some books, but long-form digital content has so much more potential.
The market will ultimately move beyond the only option readers have today of consuming dumb content on smart devices. Content enrichment is one way forward, but neither authors nor publishers have an appetite for the effort required to add video and other web elements to their books. And before you suggest that I’m trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist, let me once again say that some books are just fine with the print-under-glass model. But there are plenty of books and genres that would benefit from digital enrichment, and those are what we need to focus on.
If the manual process isn’t viable, how can we use technology to our advantage to take this content to the next digital level? I propose an automated solution, one in which auto-tagging, text analysis and search results all play a role.
Here’s how it would work:
• The ebook contents are analyzed by an enrichment tool in which key phrases, names, locations, etc. are identified and tagged.
• Those tagged elements are then viewable by the reader when they tap the screen in their reading app; the service remains completely invisible to readers who don’t wish to use it.
• When the reader taps on one of the tagged elements, a pop-up menu provides the opportunity to dive deeper on that topic with links to video, audio, maps, webpages, etc. All of this is fed by the application’s preferred search engine (e.g., Google, Bing, etc.).
• The reader is then able to take that deeper dive, pin links to the page for future reading and share their favorites with other readers of the ebook.
Because this vision integrates web elements with the book, it requires an active Internet connection. If the reader is offline, he or she is still able to read the original print-under-glass version of the book.
The video below is a quick walk-through of how this concept is presented to the reader. As you watch it, remember the intention here is to develop a front-end content analysis/parsing tool that tags and builds all the linkages, so no work is required by the author or editor. Also, note the opportunity to create new income streams for the publisher and author via paid and sponsored link campaigns.
This article first appeared on Joe Wikert’s Digital Content Strategies.
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