There are two sources of enhanced, interactive ebooks for Kindle Fire tablets. One is Kindle Store, the other one is Amazon Appstore for Android.
Kindle Fire tablets are great for many purposes. Reading is surely one of the most important ones. Tablets have overtaken e-readers as preferred e-reading devices – results from a recent study by Book Industry Study Group clearly show the trend.
That trend is inevitable. Tablets, besides one major disadvantage (backlit screen may cause an eye strain), can be used in a more active way. They are, for instance, a wonderful way to spend time together with kids and encourage them to read. One of the greatest examples is a recent book application based on a famous children’s TV show “Reading Rainbow”.
Enhanced ebooks are also called “interactive”, “multimedia” or “amplified”. Whatever the name, they all offer extra elements that let consume the book more dynamically. You can find audio tracks or videos in these books. Illustrations or charts display captions as you tap on the detail. You can play simple games or answer a quiz. You can track reading achievements or influence the plot of a novel.
There are two ways to add and read enhanced ebooks on your Kindle Fire:
- Kindle Store – on your Kindle Fire from Home, tap Books, then Store
- Amazon Appstore - tap Apps, then Store
In short, if you shop in the Kindle Store, you’ll have video and audio embedded, using the possibilities the kd8 file format gives. Books from the Amazon Appstore are either book reading management solutions or single title book applications. They are designed from scratch, and offer a lot more interactivity than Kindle Store titles.
There are almost 1.2 million ebooks in Amazon’s Kindle Store, but it doesn’t mean all of them include interactive elements. In fact most of publications from Kindle Store are pure text files.
However, there is a growing number of enhanced ebooks. At the time of writing this post more than 1,470 multimedia ebooks can be found in the Kindle Store.
Most of the books enhanced for Kindle Fire tablets fall into non-fiction (over 800 titles). Cook books, business, photography, as well as education, are the most popular categories.
Exclusive video and/or audio content is what you can expect from enhanced ebooks found in the Kindle Store
A great example of what you can expect from a non-fiction Kindle Fire enhanced ebook is Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright. This 485-page publication from HarperCollins costs $8 and for that price the book offers, besides text, exclusive access to ten video interviews and audio clips with Madeleine Albright.
Another large group of enhanced ebooks is movie tie-in editions. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell contains “never-before-seen footage from the major motion picture, behind-the-scenes material shot during production, and interviews with the author, directors (Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski), and actors (including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, and James D’Arcy) discussing both the book and the film.” You get that multimedia content for the extra $6. The plain Cloud Atlas Kindle ebook costs $10, the enhanced one is $16.
From a technical point of view, you can enjoy reading enhanced ebooks on all versions of Kindle Fire – but except the first generation. A thing to note is that as Kindle apps are offered for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, you’ll be able to read on these devices the books you purchased for Kindle Fire.
How to find enhanced ebooks in the Kindle Store
Enhanced Kindle ebooks are called Kindle Editions with Audio/Video and can be browsed from their own home page. From here you will be able to narrow down the results by category, including non-fiction, advice, children’s ebooks, biographies, and travel. The home page also showcases top 10 bestsellers in the Audio/Video category, as well as popular new releases and top-rated books.
Another way to check out whether the Kindle ebook is enhanced with multimedia content is a book’s page (see screenshot below). First, you can check out if the audio/video version is available in a list of formats (1). When you are on the enhanced Kindle edition page you should also see the Kindle Edition with Audio/Video widget under the book’s cover (2).
Amazon Appstore for Android
If you want to get the most of your Kindle Fire tablet, you should also explore enhanced books that are offered by Amazon Appstore. As I’ve written earlier, in the application store you’ll find book apps – the way they are designed and what they offer is up only to developers’ imagination.
You can find here the apps of two kinds. First one is a book reading and managing application. There are several such apps, including Aldiko, OverDrive, Scholastic Storia, or Kobo (yes, apps from competing ebookstores are also available for a Kindle Fire). If an app supports enhanced file format, then it’s also a way to read enhanced ebooks. For instance, Scholastic Storia offers thousands of favorite children’s titles. Several books are enriched with interactive elements to help build kids’ vocabulary and comprehension.
Mentioned above, Reading Rainbow is a wonderful example of the interactive app designed for Kindle Fire. The app curated personally by LeVar Burton includes over 300 quality books and video field trips. There is a reward program for kids to motivate reading, and a parent dashboard to check a child’s reading progress. There are dozens of other great interactive activities in every single book within the app.
The second kind of reading apps are standalone interactive books. They are not shells to buy and manage content, they are the content. A good example is Marvel’s The Avengers: Iron Man – Mark VII. The app developed by Loud Crow Interactive, is full of interactions that react to tilt, touch, and drag to give you full control over the reading experience. Plus you can listen to musical soundtrack from the Iron Man and Iron Man II movies.
How to find book applications in the Amazon Appstore
First thing to check is Books & Comics category of the Amazon Appstore. You’ll find here almost 7,000 apps. Children’s books are the mos popular genre (1,140 apps), but don’t get excited with graphic novels or manga. So far, there are no more than 250 tiles available.
Most Children’s Books titles apps are interactive to a lesser or bigger degree. Things are different with Books & Readers subcategory. The number of books here is pretty large (around 5,5 thousand), but there is no way to further filter the results.
Using search to look for “interactive book” within Amazon Appstore, and sorting the results by New & Popular brings several interesting titles (see screenshot below – 1). You can narrow down the search by selecting a category: children’s books, graphic novels, or education (2).
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Enhanced ebooks, and possibilities they give (however, not fully used so far) are one of the major benefits of tablets over e-readers. The market of ebooks that enrich the text with extra elements has a huge potential and we should expect new inspiring examples of such books in the near future.
Soon, we will share the list of most interesting enhanced ebooks for Kindle Fire, so stay tuned. If you have read an interesting interactive ebook, please leave us a tip and we’ll be more than happy to check it out.
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