At first sight, with so much information available on the web, it might seem strange that there is still a need or demand for non-fiction books. But it’s precisely the volume of content available that makes us appreciate it when we find what we’re looking for filtered from the rest and presented in an easily accessible format.
Digital publishing in the form of ebooks and apps provides all sorts of tools that writers can use to make sure that, even if much of the material can be found elsewhere, their book is genuinely useful. Footnotes, glossaries, additional background and explanations, pop ups, inter-text connections, external links to other sources, sound files and demonstration videos… all of these functionalities can be exploited to make sure the reader finds what they need.
Despite the traditional idea of a book starting on page one and going right through until the end, that’s only the case for print. When it comes to publications that are to be read on smartphones and tablets, it’s worth investigating how to strengthen the information structure through a well-designed interface and how to use the capabilities of the device to add further value to the reader.