A Tale of Enhanced E-books

Intern Becky

Sketchy Becky

It was a dreary, damp Thursday when we set out on our journey to Hachette for another exciting YPG brown bag event. Umbrellas populated the city streets, and we quickly boarded a bus. After a brief window shopping moment (it was a super fancy umbrella store!), we hurried into the shiny building that houses Hachette.

Paper? Where we're going, we don't need paper.

The poster pointing the way was extremely appropriate, considering the topic was Back to the Future: Enhanced E-books. I’m sure even Doc Brown would be duly impressed with the technological future of e-books. I certainly was.

Now, let’s get the basics down first. Industry insiders are already calling regular e-books vanilla e-books. They’re plain. The reader simply gets the text and maybe some images. Enhanced e-books are sundaes packed with toppings (they don’t actually use this as a business term, but it gets the point across). They’re multi-material. Enhanced e-books might include video (a promo trailer, prologue, epilogue, or an author interview), audio, pictures, and more.

Sue Fleming, the VP Director of Content & Programming at Simon and Schuster Digital noted how their relationship with CBS enabled them to include relevant historical footage for several of their presidential books. Hachette’s Digital Managing Editor, Liz Kessler, highlighted how important it is that the additional material be complimentary to the reading experience—placement of said material is key. For example, the Red Riding Hood book ties in with the movie. Among the additional materials found in the enhanced e-book version are storyboards, which help to expand the experience for readers and the fans of the movie. It is vital to maintain the line between enhancing and interrupting the experience.

The speakers and their captivated audience

Dan Sanicola, the Director of Digital Assets at Penguin discussed the success of The Pillars of the Earth app, which tied in with the original novel and the new television series adaptation. One incredibly nifty function was the character tree, which evolved as you read.

While all three speakers agreed that author assets that could contribute to an enhanced e-book haven’t become an influential matter in Acquisitions, the preparation for an enhanced e-book begins early on in the process. It requires new and creative thinking, especially for those who are more accustomed to print books. Videos need to be collected or created (original footage might be shot in-house or through an outside party) and so on.

Basically, things are changing and fast. Everyone wants to create the ultimate reader experience, and for some unique titles, enhanced e-books are just the ticket…

-Becky, The Third Intern

Audience

Spellbound audience

DP staff admire umbrellas at a store

Oooh, umbrellas

Exciting cat poster

Hachette really knows how to decorate. So. Cute.

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