Are Cheaper E-book Enhancements Better than Expensive Options?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Readers might just be more satisfied with inexpensive text extras than pricey games and video enhancements.

By Edward Nawotka

book text

In today’s feature story about the Leipzig Book Fair, several publishers reflect on the state of digital publishing and e-books. Notably, several of them point out that e-books are not all about bells and whistles and “Schnickschnack” or 50,000 EUR animations. “Let a comic simply be a comic,” said one, after pointing out that tablets are out of the price range of many readers.

The argument suggests that publishers are getting distracted by the opportunities that digital publishing affords, such as producing films, trailers and transmedia promotions for their work — rather than thinking what plain-and-simple things might appeal most to readers.

Could simple textual add-ons be enough to entice a reader to pay a little more for an e-book? Perhaps. Certainly it’s a strategy that trade paperback publishers have implemented over the years by adding on reading group guides, author Q&A’s and other “extras” to the backs of books, at least in part to justify price hikes.

What’s more, these inexpensive “enhancements” are more complementary to the act of publishing — and reading itself — than games or videos.

At the end of the day, would readers be just as satisfied with an extra sample chapter as with an expensive animation? Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.