Difference between an ebook, enhanced ebook and book app

Here's a great article that describes the differences between these three types of digital books. Here's an excerpt.

  • An e-book is a digital snapshot of a book, where the text is converted so it is readable on an electronic device. It's pretty much the same as a book, except you are reading it with a different medium (from paper to an eReader). To make an ebook requires word processing or web design skills.
  • An enhanced e-book is still a linear story but it and adds multimedia and interactive features for support of the story, such as music, slide shows or audio. To create an enhanced e-book requires the skills of a web developer.
  • A book app is based on a book but acts more like a game with multiple pathways that require the user to interact instead of simply scrolling and clicking. These books are good when you've got so much material that linear approach is no longer practical, and you want an app as an add-on product to your book. A book app can do everything an enhanced e-book does, but crosses the line from linear storytelling to non-linear storytelling. Apps require knowing programming of C++ or Apple's Objective C programming skills.

..Read entire article

Here's an example of an enhanced children's book:


  1. Hi! That article is a nice overview but dated, now. Self-publishers or authors with small budgets have a greater variety of tools at their disposal today. Pretty much anyone can make a decent (if not perfect) ebook with freely available applications.

    Apple's inexpensive Pages app allows you to create and export enhanced EPUB books (featuring audio and video) with a drag-and-drop interface. It's also worth noting that Apple has been rejecting book apps that are not sophisticated enough--in other words, if the functionality of your book app could be reproduced as an enhanced ebook, they will tell you to make it an enhanced ebook instead.

    And I don't suppose it matters to the casual reader, but the article also incorrectly identifies the programming languages used. Objective-C is used for Apple apps, but Java is used for Android, and I don't think anyone develops for mobile platforms in C++. There are tools that allow developers to avoid building the app separately for each platform, too.

  2. Thanks for the clarification! Now if I could only entice you to write a short article for this blog about your updated information! (hint)-Kate