I know how to edit print. Been doing it all my life. But what are the differences when editing digital content? That’s something I’ve been giving thought to.
Fans of The Shallows know that while e-text has many advantages, it can also cause problems. One small study seems to confirm that. Thirty-two pairs of children and parents were studied while co-reading print books, e-books and enhanced (multimedia, interactive) e-books.In short, readers showed greater comprehension and engagement when reading print or e-books than with enhanced e-books. The extra features of the enhanced e-books distracted both adults and children from the actual story.
The lessons to be learned for children’s books? If literacy is your goal, stay away from enhanced e-books. But if your goal is to build appeal for books where that is low, then enhanced e-books may be a good place to start.
For adult reading I suspect similar lessons apply. Enhancements will tend to detract from comprehension and engagement. Only add a bell or whistle if it provides essential content or perspective that cannot be added with text. “Cool” is a very bad reason to include enhanced features.
What suggestions do you have for editing e-books?
For now, when editing e-books, it appears that less is more.