Let me start by saying you did not read that title backward, nor did I get it wrong. I am well aware that on a simple less-than-one-second search, you will find pages upon pages of articles and tips on how to turn your book into an interactive course — most of them being very helpful and informative.
This was a brilliant idea a few months, maybe a year ago. It may very well be so again, but at the present time, there are several things people all around the globe are fed up with the virus, having their lives turned upside down, Zoom meetings, and online learning.
That’s why, if you have quality learning material that just isn’t seeing enough sales, you might consider changing the format.
People still want to learn
It’s important to note that the general public did not turn on learning in general but its online version. There is nothing wrong with it, but since it has been compulsory rather than optional for the past months, its appeal has dramatically suffered.
Factor in all the meetings and virtual work sessions adults have to participate in all week long and the fact that quite a number of them also have to assist their children with online education. Whenever they have time, most of them just need a break from the laptop or tablet screen’s brightness and interactivity.
Luckily, most e-readers have a wonderfully soft backlight and are entirely non-invasive – if you don’t count the titles promoted when you first turn on the device.
Reading gives people a welcome break while also being engaging
There is no way I can state all the marvelous benefits of reading in one article, let alone one paragraph. It is good for you, it stimulates the imagination, helps build vocabulary and has a wonderfully relaxing component. Furthermore, it comes with a certain nostalgic factor as I don’t believe that people who watched bedtime stories instead of reading them have made it to adulthood quite yet.
And if you take a look at the statistics, e-book sales have gone up this year, despite the health crisis and the obvious economic hardships it brought with it. This shows that the general public has an appetite (and a need) for reading, and while they will choose their favorite genre when it comes to leisure reading, they might also opt for learning material in this format instead of the e-learning version.
Interactivity needs to be on the back burner for a bit
One of the main arguments for turning a book into a course is that the latter can offer a much sought-after interactive interface. It’s true that in the case of an e-reader, the best you can do is enlarge the text, highlight sentences and search words in the online dictionary by placing your finger on them. Right now, a lot of people need a break from all the virtual interactions they have with their supervisors, their colleagues, and their gadgets.
Information may be processed slower while reading, but it will also activate different brain areas and lead to better retention and internalization of the material – something that takes effort is deemed worth remembering. Less exciting is not necessarily less relevant.
There’s more information in a book
When designing online learning modules, the golden rule is to try to put in only what is essential. Books are more permissive when it comes to chapter length and included content. What’s more, brevity is not expected when it comes to reading content. That means that you can go into detail and depth and are still able to underline what is essential and mark the takeaways in a way that stands out and helps the reader commit to memory.
The e-readers themselves have many great functions that help underline, make notes, or apply digital bookmarks when they want to revisit a specific paragraph later. This format of delivering learning material has more academic nature and is approached by the learner differently.
E-learning is obviously the future, and all the time and effort you have invested in your online courses will pay off eventually. However, there are special circumstances that make e-books rather appealing to people who spend all day on their laptops. Turning your learning material into e-book content is not about changing your product, it’s about diversifying it.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.