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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A New Level of Engagement

It's very easy to cheapen an idea. Simply over promise when you introduce it and then make sure the idea does not live up to the hype. It happens every day in our marketing-saturated world. The net result is that we assume someone is spinning the truth and hyping their product.
This is what has happened to Enhanced eBooks over the past few years. The hype has been huge, but in reality most Enhanced eBooks have not been new creations designed to give the reader a new experience. They have simply been "books with extras." Now if they had been sold that way it would have been fine. But since they were sold as a new and dynamic product, we quickly tired of the idea.

However, I haven't given up on a truly Enhanced eBook. I have been involved in several Enhanced eBook projects and the latest one is the closest to what I have always envisioned an Enhanced eBook should be. In my post on Conversant Life called A Move Towards Incarnation, I make the case that books have separated the storyteller from his or her audience because of an impersonal medium. I go on to challenge the publishing industry to see Enhanced eBooks as a way to reconnect the author with the audience.

Well, in introducing the latest Enhanced eBook that I have helped launch (as part of the Novo Ink team), I want to live that challenge out. I want to introduce to you the author Nicole O'Dell and a very special Enhanced eBook called "Dare to be Different." Nicole writes fiction for tween/teen girls in order to help them make good choices. The Enhanced Edition of Dare to be Different is three books in one and each book allows the reader to make choices about what the characters should do at a key point in the story. When we began talking about making these books Enhanced, I got so excited because Nicole was already trying to connect with her readers in a much deeper way than many authors. This desire on her part was the perfect foundation to create an Enhanced eBook that really exemplifies a new experience for the reader.
There are several things about this Enhanced eBook that make it a truly new product:
  1. The author's intentional desire to add new content: Nicole did an amazing job adding truly new content for this book. The best examples of the new content are some of the audio clips throughout the book where Nicole breaks into the story and provides challenges, insights and stories. She also added new content in the form of online polls and questions that the reader can link to throughout the book.

  2. The integration of all media: As I worked with Nicole and her publisher Barbour Publishing, we integrated all of the media so that it flowed as one product. The audio, video, web links and call outs are all designed into the book in a seamless way and the interactivity does not minimize the reading experience.

  3. The variety of resources: Most Enhanced eBooks have a few multimedia clips throughout and some extra content in the back. This book has a dynamic mix of audio, video, polls, articles, podcasts and interactive questions. This great variety creates a holistic experience rather than the feel of a DVD with extras.

  4. The personal nature of the material: This book does a wonderful job of bringing the author and many teens together through the product. Besides the author's very personal audio clips, there are videos of groups of teens talking about the issues in the book. These videos were shot specifically for this Enhanced eBook. While they are not Hollywood quality, they are very authentic ways for young girls to see and hear others talk about the challenging choices they face.
My hope is that this unique product will impact the lives of many teens and also showcase what an Enhanced eBook can really look like as a tool to bring the author and the reader back together in a dynamic and authentic relationship.

Well I hope that my excitement will not over promise what this resource really offers. You be the judge. But just to make sure, you can preview the book for free through the online reader.Take some time to check out this wonderful resource and get to know Nicole O'Dell. She is an amazing thought leader and role model to so many young women. Thanks Nicole for investing so much in this resource. Let us pray that it makes a difference for many.

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