The progression of the interactive digital book market is being hampered by varying standards across different tablet operating systems, an industry expert has suggested.
Whilst text heavy fiction eBooks continue to flourish with the rise of eReaders such as the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, latest reports have suggested interactive books for tablets are falling behind with industry insiders claiming a universal format is needed for immersive tablet-based textbooks and interactive titles to take off.
“We’re really excited about the multimedia aspects that we can put into our books when developing for the iPad and other tablets,” Sam Hancock, Digital Product Manager at Harper Collins said in an exclusive interview with Trusted Reviews. “The ideal position you can get to is having lots of different devices that all support the same features.
“At the moment we are trying to navigate around having to create bespoke file formats for each different device and platform so there is a bit of a way to go until we have a catch-all format for interactive eBooks but that is something we are really trying to push,” Hancock added speaking on the current state of the interactive book market.
Expanding on the push to a universal eBook format that would boost the possibilities of developing interactive titles for multiple tablet platforms, Hancock revealed that Harper Collins is championing the move to a standardised platform.
“One of our main strategic focuses is pushing the EPUB format which is sort of becoming the standard for eBooks and seeing how far we can take it in terms of the interactive experiences we can give readers.”
Although Apple is pushing digital interactive book through its educational outlets for iPad, iTunes U, Hancock has suggested that cross platform compatibility issues between iOS and Android, as well as the varying screen sizes of many Android tablets, is hampering the possibilities of the fledgling market.
“I don’t think the non-fiction and illustrated markets have really proven themselves yet,” Hancock said whilst suggesting that fiction titles could see the majority of their sales shift from physical paperbacks to digital units in a matter of years.
“We are getting closer and closer to the point where digital books will start outselling traditional printed books,” he said, “for text only books it is pretty conceivable that we will hit that point by 2015.”
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