How Do You Review an Enhanced eBook?

9780061867156.jpgWhen the iBooks store opens in April, the book reviewing community will have a whole new set of questions to ask about eBooks that go beyond the traditional literary review. How should we judge an enhanced eBook?

Over the weekend, this GalleyCat editor enjoyed the Kindle edition of The Cardboard Universe: A Guide to the World of Phoebus K. Dank. Writing-wise, the book is fabulous: laugh-out-loud John Kennedy Toole-style slacker humor mixed with Vladimir Nabokov‘s knack for postmodern black humor. It is a fictional encyclopedia written by two obsessive fans of a science fiction writer with some striking similarities to the great Philip K. Dick. The book has quite deservedly earned a spot on the Believer Book Award shortlist.

Still, the encyclopedia format begs for some simple HTML coding in the eBook edition. When reading the book’s individual encyclopedia entries, the reader should be able to jump between entries with the same ease as a print book–but the clunky Kindle interface just isn’t built for this kind of browsing. With an iPad or tablet computer version, the author could actually embed a few sly Wikipedia entries or websites to help the reader find out more about the real life science fiction author lurking behind the pages of this funny book.

Enhanced eBooks don’t have to be loaded with fancy video and interactive graphics. But this GalleyCat editor wishes they had a standard level of interactivity beyond the regular eBook. What do you think?

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