Novelist David Baldacci on What Readers Want in an Enhanced eBook

What do readers want in an enhanced eBook? We asked one bestselling author this afternoon.

Today Hachette Book Group announced that they will sell an “enriched eBook” version, or “Writer’s Cut,” of bestselling author David Baldacci’s new book, Deliver Us from Evil. The new edition made headlines around the literary Twitter-sphere, drawing both praise and criticism.

GalleyCat caught up with Baldacci (pictured, via) for an exclusive email interview about the new book. He addressed the eBook critics: “We give readers the option. They can buy the regular eBook for the regular price or the enriched Writer’s Cut for a bit more. But based on my hundreds of book tours and thousands of questions we get on our web site I know that readers are looking for exactly what is on the enriched eBook.”

He continued: “They want to look behind the curtain and learn more about a writer whose work they love. To get into the head of the person who creates the stories that keep them enthralled. It gives you several entertainment experiences, and provides more than what you would get from simply reading the book. It allows the writer to connect with the reader in new and fascinating ways. It’s aptly named because it really does enrich the experience.

Baldacci added: “People want to be informed and entertained. The enriched E-book does both. Bottom line is the content should drive this industry, not the delivery system. An eBook by itself is not enthralling; what’s on it is. And we have the technology that allows us to do all of this. So why not use it?”

We also asked Baldacci to explore the different special features on the new book: “There are numerous components across several platforms. A video of me as I take the reader through a tour of my office so they can see what my working environment looks like and see some interesting things that I’ve collected over the years. I take them through the research and editing process for the books and they see me during a typical work day that includes things other than sitting and writing.”

He continued: “There is a lengthy Q&A audio portion where I cover general topics and those related to my forthcoming novel, Deliver Us From Evil. There are over twenty photos I took while doing research for the novel overseas. All of them are annotated and allow the reader to see where they play into the story. And there deleted scenes, including the original ending. Handwritten outlines that I used in writing the book and edited manuscript pages that allow a peek into the creative process. And an alternative title that was discarded through the writing process. There’s also a link to a web site connected to some paintings that are mentioned in the book. There really is something for everyone.”

He concluded: “My favorite feature is the video. Over the last fourteen years of book tours the most frequently asked questions are related to where and how I do my work. This video will answer a lot of those queries.”