Every so often I read somewhere that there are people who believe that books would be more popular if they were more “interactive.”

First off I don’t believe that a “book” can be interactive. A focused, linear, non-interrupted experience is, to my mind, what defines the format. Break that, and you’ve vaporized the value and structure of what a book has to offer to a reader.

At best, adding the option for user input will lead to the staccato, broken structure of the web-reading experience, and will only diminish the number of true readers in the world.

But even if it was possible, adding even a single non-linear interaction changes everything. There is now a chance that your experience can fail, something that even the most typo-ridden novel will never do. And every new interactive element added exponentially increases your odds of failure.

My experience has been that if there’s one group that lacks the process skills to handle the consequences of the shift from error removal to system repair, it’s authors and publishers.

Let’s successfully finish the transition to e-books, and then let’s talk.

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