How to Create an Interactive eBook

According to Go Gulf, 93% of marketers identify interactive content as an effective way to engage their audience, and 88% of marketers will develop around 30% of their content in an interactive format this year.

An interactive eBook is a mid-stage content plan — interactive content experiences could stimulate product dialogue and provide lead qualification data in this stage.

This specific piece of content can be scaled effectively in the next steps of the customer journey.

Let’s take a look at the definition of an eBook, the differences between an interactive eBook and a regular one, which types are available to leverage your results in 2020, and how to create the best one.

What is an interactive eBook?

eBooks are mid-stage interactive tools for the buyer who is considering your product or service. It’s especially effective in a “choose your own path” format where the behavioral feedback can provide insights into pain points, opportunities, and qualifications, accelerating the cycle of feedback for sales.

Using an eBook could also be an efficient strategy to strengthen your brand, providing a solid foundation for your marketing or email campaign.

Most marketers think that an animation inserted in their regular eBook, will make it “interactive.” Although they are not entirely wrong, there are more interactive elements that will provide richer experiences and engagement for the readers.

An interactive eBook is a portable and shareable file, with resources such as audio, animations, quizzes, widgets, interactive questions, and polls — all inside the eBook. That is how you can define interactivity.

eBooks have the potential to enhance how readers absorb their content, and provide an excellent way to start a conversation with your audience, gain their trust, and make them more engaged with your brand.

What makes it different from a regular eBook?

According to HubSpot’s research in the not Another State of Marketing Report, videos are the #1 form of media used in content strategy, overtaking eBooks.

With interactive eBooks, we can get the best of both worlds: visual tools, which catch the reader’s attention, causing greater engagement, and quality content, that will attract and convert the lead.

Check out below which characteristics make interactive eBooks more interesting than their static counterparts.

Better engagement

You can embed multimedia content: videos, images, audio, etc., thus increasing engagement more than with the regular eBook.

Nowadays, some IT teams are developing technologies to integrate physical and digital experiences, with Augmented Reality, for example — and eBooks will support this innovation to drive users’ imaginations.

Easier upgrade

Unlike regular books, eBook content is easier to update. There are digital platforms available to add multimedia and update all the digital assets with little effort involved.

More lead retention

Regular eBooks restrict learning methods — they are made only to be read. Leads do not have customized experiences, except for their imagination.

An interactive eBook makes user participation more attractive and exciting because of all the available features.

Accessibility

The content can be accessed from multiple devices — mobiles, tablets, e-readers, or PCs. By adding a layer of interactivity, with responsive design control and tools, you can increase the user’s accessibility, with or without internet connectivity.

More convenient collaboration

If you do not understand the ideas from an interactive eBook, you can highlight them and leave a comment to the author. In addition, quizzes inside of the content can test your knowledge.

What are the types of interactive eBooks?

Can you make an interactive eBook with resources you think are better to engage your audience? Take a look below. 

Interactive eBook with chapter ratings

These are image-driven eBooks that allows visitors to learn about organizations and to participate throughout their content journey.

In addition to small quizzes, reveals, and other interactive elements, visitors provide their feedback for each chapter, allowing adjustments of the experience according to the audience’s wants and needs. Built-in calls-to-action help you capture lead data along the way.

Easy interactive eBook

This eBook starts with an introduction landing page with clickable chapter images and a call to action in the top header area, that drives visitors to fill out a form to receive a PDF version of this piece of content.

Chapters include elements such as:

  • images
  • tables
  • accordion content
  • clickable short content that reveals true/false quiz-style questions
  • shareable icons for Twitter and Facebook

Simple interactive eBook with chapter quizzes

It looks like the interactive eBook with chapter ratings but includes short quiz questions at the end of every chapter, to test the reader’s previous content knowledge.

Image focused interactive eBook

This image-focused interactive eBook includes imagery throughout all the five content sections. Using simple and elegant animations it gives an experience that encourages topic exploration and adds each section’s conversion points. It is a modern and deeply engaging experience that highlights imagery and content.

How to create an eBook

We prepared a step by step to help you create your interactive eBook. Check it out!

Step 1. Preparing the interactive eBook’s content

There are online tools, websites, and specialists to help you create your interactive eBook. We will help you with important topics, such as designing your eBook cover, creating custom interactivity, or formatting your document for eBook readers.

There are some essential elements to an effective eBook structure:

  • an interesting, descriptive title
  • a well-done visual cover
  • persona’s demographics, skill level, and topic interests must be indicated
  • a table of contents
  • chapter title pages
  • social sharing buttons
  • visual elements
  • product or service call-outs when you mention a problem or need
  • mobile-friendliness
  • a final call-to-action: what action do you want them to take next?

The interactive eBook workflow below includes writing and adding assets, images (regular and 3D), videos, audio, and widgets.

The writing

Although search algorithms are trying to transform text to media, the text content will always be the foundation of search engine optimization.

The eBook can be written directly on the platform. You can also import your main file from Word or Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Though most people prefer to write the content first, the eBook could be created simultaneously with interaction.

You can hire a ghostwriter or an editor if you do not have the resources or enough ideas for the whole eBook.

Published books can also be changed to an interactive one. To do that, you must convert all the documents to a PDF file by a scanner.

Then, you can import it with an eBook platform editor, adding interactive elements.

Assets

Assets are all visual and audio content, which could be added to your interactive eBook gradually, as soon as you write it.

File size could also be a problem: sometimes, it may be bigger than the supported, making the eBook slow to load.

The bigger your eBook is, the longer it will take for it to save. Your readers could be annoyed and you do not want that. So, you have to link it to be watched straight from the streaming platform.

Images

You can get amazing images from stock photo and graphics websites. Some are free, like Freeimages, Freepik, and Pixabay. Pictures from other websites can be downloaded with a subscription.

Large sizes have to be optimized as much as you can because many eBook publishing platforms have limitations with media — such as Apple iBooks Store, which does not accept images larger than 5MB.

You can use solutions such as Compressor.io, IrfanView, or Tinyjpg. You can also get 3D images from Sketchfab.

Videos and audios

Interactive eBooks need plenty of videos and audios to be interesting. If you are an expert editor, you can go to the most exciting part: adding them to your project. But if you do not know how to create custom-made files, you can hire a freelancer.

Before embedding, all files have to be optimized. You can get your audio from Dreamstime or Soundsnap and your videos from YouTube or Vimeo. Just remember: you have to check the copyright beforehand. 

The readers can watch directly the full media on suitable websites but they will need internet connectivity. Audios can be downloaded from sites like Soundcloud. You have to know that text-to-speech is another important element to consider.

Widgets

Interactive eBooks are not static: they are constantly changing. Readers could use widgets, such as games and calculators, while they are reading eBooks.

Because of widgets, they can watch a live video or have a real-time look at the Twitter feed.

Think about what widget you would like to include in your interactive eBook, and check if it is available at Bookry. Follow the instructions to purchase and download it at the editor platform.

Step 2. Designing and customizing your interactive eBook

For most authors, the cover design is thought of even before they start writing it. But for others, it could be a daunting proposition.

There are websites that help you with this, such as How to Create a Book Cover for Free, Book Cover Design Mastery, etc. You can also hire someone to design the eBook cover for you.

Now, about the layout, you can use Kotobee, which allows you to set it for each chapter or page individually. You will also need to consider if you want a fixed or a reflowable layout.

You have to do this before starting: changing your mind means restarting from the beginning. Check out the characteristics of each one below.

Fixed layout

If you are writing comics, magazines, or children’s storybooks, a fixed layout is indicated: you will set exactly where the content and other elements will be on the page.

When the readers zoom in or out, it will be like a photograph, and they will definitely need some vertical and horizontal scroll bars.

Reflowable layout

A reflowable layout is more popular because it is more responsive than a fixed one. Reading on mobile devices will be easier and more comfortable if you choose this option, mainly if you’re writing a novel or short story: each user can adjust the font size according to their personal preferences.

Step 3. Building and publishing your interactive eBook

You have to watch out when you start building your interactive eBook because there are many websites that advertise interactive resources but they do not truly offer digital services.

Whether you just need some training and guidance or a fully-managed program, Ion Interactive, has a platform and an expert team with account managers, designers, writers, marketing technologists, and web producers that will help you launch modern interactive content and marketing programs that generate engagement, leads, and sales.

Approaching a specific audience is important, and you can do this through your website. But if you still want to publish your interactive eBook, trying to reach other audiences, you have to choose the platform where it will be available (Web apps, Mobile apps, Desktop apps, etc.).

By publishing it on a platform with a ready-built reader (Kindle, for example), you cannot change anything in the reader’s interface, and this could be critical for companies that need to publish their brand but the eBook interface is not in tune with their trademark.

Interactive eBooks are an important tool available for marketing teams because interactive content can take the companies’ marketing strategies to the next level, helping with lead and revenue generation.

eBooks can achieve certain goals: making the learning process easier, bringing readers some information, etc. But most marketers use eBooks to generate leads at the top of the funnel, pushing them to the middle of the funnel.

To achieve this specific goal, your eBook content must be educational.

This is a way to create an opportunity to connect your educational content with product awareness. The Ion Interactive platform suggests turning your eBook into interactive user experience, thus allowing readers to navigate as they wish.

Would you like to see how you can get started on revenue generation? Check it out!

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