I’ve had this thought for a while, that interactive novels would be a huge development in the publishing industry over the next few years. So when I came across this article reviewing an interactive iPad App book I was curious as to how it all worked out.
Apparently, it’s exhausting.
Based on the description of how they’ve handled the interactivity of the book, it sounds a bit like J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore:
trace code symbols with your finger to unlock a door, search for a notebook and tap to look inside
so I can see how an entire book would take forever to get through when all you wanna do is read and progress through the story.
And yet I can still imagine the merits of interactive storytelling. Illustrations and footnotes could come to life, even music could help create atmosphere for a scene. I get the feeling that where the makers of the other interactive text went wrong is that they went overboard.
You can see from some of the screenshots from the book that it looks pretty spectacular, but just because it’s interactive doesn’t mean every page or every chapter needs to have something to click or scroll through or find.
I still think interactive books can make a big break through into publishing, especially in the children’s book market, but just because you can use technology to enhance every moment of a story, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. The point is to enhance the existing story, not destroy it’s beautiful phrases, images, and characters by taking over for your imagination.