04 Apr 2019
Using AI, eBooks could soon be like video games
From paperback books to eBooks and audiobooks, reading works of novelists and popular publishers has always been about going through plain content.
But now, OverDrive, a renowned distributor of eBooks and audiobooks, is exploring technologies to make this experience more tantalizing and addictive than ever.
Basically, the company is looking at AI-powered ways to make reading more like gaming.
Here's all about its work.
eBooks being enhanced with interactive elements
OverDrive's open-source platform has been giving publishers a way to offer interactive elements within eBooks, Futurism reported.
They have been providing music, voiceovers, and Netflix-like 'choose your own adventure' themes to make the experience similar to how one interacts with video games.
Even Sora, OverDrive's eBook app for kids, offers game-inspired badges and achievements for children who finish a particular reading task.
Addictive nature of interactive gaming studied for eBooks
"We're not actually saying 'pick a reading squad and go kill some books,' but we're trying to learn from the addictive nature of interactive gaming," Steve Potash, OverDrive's co-founder, told Futurism, noting that his team had studied how Fortnite became so addictive.
Development of interactive elements for eBooks
The interactive elements in question are being developed with the AI engine OverDrive is employing.
The company's platform enables book-borrowing from libraries, which gives a huge chunk of data about the stuff people are reading.
Using this information, OverDrive is not just enhancing its own platform and app but also building AI-powered algorithms to help publishers deliver eBooks that appeal more to the readers.
How these AI tools help
With the algorithms, the team determines which books students would want to finish; they define the appealing elements and then try to use those elements to build interactive tools for eBooks and increase readership.
"Sometimes people just want a book with an orange cover," Potash told Futurism. "If kids will read more because their favorite animal's on the cover, we want to know that."
Even quizzes can be added in eBooks
These developments can even allow schools to bundle quizzes with their eBooks to make sure kids are doing their homework along the way. "AI is helping these institutions become more relevant in serving their functions," Potash claimed.
Ultimate goal is to make a video game-like experience
Ultimately, Potash and team hope to transform the whole reading experience into a Netflix or game-like thing.
He envisions eBooks could one day be integrated with smart assistants which take the form of the author or Augmented reality that takes the reader to the scene he/she is reading about.
eBooks, he says, might even have games enhancing the readers' knowledge.