There seems to be so much doom and gloom in the book world. Bookstores are closing, and Nielsen BookScan, (the organization that tracks book sales,) tells us that book sales around the world are in general decline. This decline is being seen not just in the United States, which was down 9.3% in 2012, but around the world.
EBooks were projected to be the great rescuer of reading, but it has not been the savior that everyone predicted. Yes, there are positive things about EBooks: They are lighter to carry around with us, delivered almost instantaneously, and no trees are required to manufacture paper for the pages of EBooks. However, you can’t lend an EBook to a friend, and there are those who believe an unfinished EBook does not provide the visual reminder that an unfinished book provides. EBook sales were up 23% in 2012, but below the numbers the industry projected.
I believe there’s a technology that’s now entering the book market that has the potential to save the industry. It’s called an Enhanced EBook. When Berrett-Koehler, my publishing house, approached me with the idea for an Enhanced Edition for my new book, the first thing I had to do was to learn exactly what that meant. Once I received an explanation, I almost jumped up and cheered! I was so excited! If ever a technology was right for a book, it’s this one.
You see, most people have the following expectations when they read a book or take a training class: “If I can pick up one or two new ideas, I’ll happy!” I hear it all the time and it always makes me think: “Really? That’s all you are looking for?” The reason people feel this way is because they are used to being overloaded with information, without the ability to truly interact with the subject matter. That’s all about to change.
An Enhanced EBook allows for the incorporation of audio and video. To keep the file size from being too large to download, or taking up too much space on your reading device, the videos are kept to less than 30 minutes in total. I’m not sure how critical this would be when reading a Grisham novel, but for guys like me, who teach actual processes, it’s invaluable.
A few weeks ago, we completed the film work for this enhanced edition. We were able to take a more intimate look at what was written, and why it was written. But the most important part of the filming was the role-plays. Imagine reading a process for communication, and then watching the process performed for you! By doing this, you’ll see the words and you’ll hear the tune. In my mind, this justifies the technology, and truly enhances the book.
As the saying goes, “What someone hears, they forget; what they see, they remember.” When the new book comes out in June, my sincere intention is for readers to walk away with far more than just one or two ideas. I hope the book will allow readers to understand and learn a series of repeatable, predictable processes reinforced through visual demonstrations, and actively apply them to your real-world situations. Ultimately, this will allow a unique opportunity to interact with what is written, not just by reading, but hearing and watching.