Looking to provide more information on enhanced e-books—e-books that include video, interactive features, or other multimedia content—HarperCollins has launched a Web site listing the enhanced e-books it has published. The site, aimed at consumers and the house's own authors, has gone live with a list of about 13 titles. The site also includes information about the additional content featured in each title, and HC plans to add more content throughout the year.
More than an e-book but not necessarily an app, enhanced e-books or EEB as HarperCollins calls them, have long presented a challenge for book marketers, who are not always sure that consumers want or use the extra content or even understand the difference. Apparently there’s still more work to be done.
In this instance, HarperCollins’ new Enhanced E-Books page features an informational video called “Have You Heard of EEBs?” in which the publisher asks consumers, ‘What is an enhanced e-book?’ The cheerfully clueless responses range from “This is the first I’ve heard of it,” to “isn’t it 3D or something?” Also on the video, Harper authors like Caroline Manzo (who askes "What the frig is that?") and Justin Sh*t My Dad Says Halpern’s dad (“something to bilk some poor SOB out of an extra 2 bucks”), don’t do much better.
The video seques from these humorous interviews into an explanation of the EEB format—“books with a bonus,” the video says—and what enhanced e-books offer consumers. The bells and whistles range from video content to diagrams to photographs to interviews to animations.
“We thought having a page like this would be great to show consumers what they’re paying for. It’s makes it easier for consumers to make a decision,” said HarperCollins’ spokesperson Jessica Barraco. The video, created by Lisa Sharkey, senior v-p of creative development at HarperCollins, includes other members of Harper’s video and digital product development team, including Lucy Albanese, director of design, and executive producers Mallia Sherzai and Marisa Benedetto, who we see at work and explaining their roles in working with authors to create the bonus content for HarperCollins Enhanced e-books.
Barraco said HarperCollins has an EEB list of about 75 titles at present. The new EEB page has launched with about 13 titles, including Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (with audio excerpts and updated text), Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue (with a video interview with Chabon) and Justin Halpern’s I Suck at Girls (with photos and a very funny essay by his notorious dad). Barraco said the site will be updated with more titles throughout the year and will likely add promotional efforts and discount content eventually.
“We want to showcase what’s involved in producing an Enhanced e-book,” Barraco said, “because ‘enhanced e-book’ can mean almost anything.”