Perhaps you’ve experienced this: you’re reading an eBook and click to a page that asks you to fill in information or answer questions. This is called consumable content in eBook publishing and examples include workbooks, forms, quizzes, questionnaires, check lists, etc.
What got me thinking about this was some feedback I received regarding our recently launched eBook self-publisher survey. The writer was frustrated that we were not asking any questions that applied to PDF eBooks. For this author a PDF was not only a legitimate eBook, it was the only way to publish content that readers could print and consume.
I can think of 3 solutions for handling consumable content:
- Delete or re-design: Some books provide lined pages for readers to fill in their information. Delete the lines and add instructions to (for example) “take out a piece of paper and write xyz at the top and then … “.
- Don’t do the eBook, at least not as a Kindle or EPUB file. A good example of content products that fit here are coloring books and crossword puzzles.
- Link to the content on a website: This is the most common and it involves placing your consumable content as a PDF, Word or other file type on a website so that readers can download and print the content.
Linking to Consumable Content
While PDFs do not fit my definition of an eBook, you can still use them to support your eBook’s content. The key is to integrate your eBook with your website—after all, an eBook is essentially a self-contained website which provides all sorts of linking opportunities for the publisher.
In this example of a recently completed AuthorImprints conversion for Heritage Publishing we simply converted the form to a jpeg and placed it in the same location within the eBook but added a reference above that the reader could download the form on the publisher’s website.
Every situation is a little different
This solution has worked for most of the situations we’ve encountered. For those of you who have several forms or pages you should consider combining them into a single page PDF or a folder that can be downloaded as a single file. Make it easy for your reader with as few obstacles as possible. They have already paid for the eBook so resist the temptation to require them to do something you didn’t require of your print book buyer, for example, requiring them to provide an email address.
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