#BEA11: The Early Stages of Enhanced E-books

In What's the Buzz by Guest Contributor

IDPF digital book conference 2011

By Brittany Hazelwood

The IDPF Digital Book Conference concluded yesterday by addressing the the uncertain state of enhanced e-books and their business implications. The panelists of the final breakout session — including Peter Balis (John Wiley & Sons), Brad Inman (Vook) and both Massaki Hagino and Daihei Shiohama (Voyager Japan) — were united in their support for enhanced e-books.

Balis, Director of Digital Business Development at John Wiley & Sons, jump-started the panel by fully defending enhanced e-books against the “unfair generalization that publishers only produce enhanced e-books for revenue.” Rather Balis said it’s about making a better consumer experience. Balis argued that enhanced doesn’t mean “sticking videos in” but rather addresses the full spectrum of comprehension: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic/tactile.

Vook Founder Brad Inman sees the concerns around the enhanced e-books as a distinctive paradigm shift in publishing. Similar to the advancements in film from black-and-white to color, from silent to talkies, Inman pointed to the many awkward productions before the filmmakers mastered the technology. Inman noted that “we are only one year into this and should give ourselves a break.”

As we enter into the post-PC world, Inman said that browsing has been replaced by curated rich-media and apps. He sees this as an exciting proposition for enhanced e-books, joking that “the tablet was invented by God to preserve books.”

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