Raccah disagreed, calling her company forays into apps "incredibly exploratory."
"We did not want to enhance price points," she said. "We did it to 'blow up' the book." The core challenge for her developers, she said, is to make sure extra features serve to further immerse people in stories, rather than take them out of them.
"We must experiment," Peter Balis of John Wiley and Sons said of e-books in a Monday afternoon session. "Anyone who says we are just out to make money must not know the profit margins."
The purpose of enhanced e-books, Balis said, is to create a product that connects the author to the reader in new ways, allowing audio and visual learners to get as much from a book as those who respond best to the written word.
Refusing to be pushed aside as irrelevant is the humble Web browser, which Nash said will, as an open ecosystem, continue to constitute a significant competition to apps and e-readers. Google's Abe Murray surprised many during Monday's first session when he said one-quarter of Google Books users read books primarily on their laptops, about the same percentage as read books on their phones. (One in five utilize e-readers, he said, while the rest read on tablets.)
In a later session, Peter Brantley of digital book lender Internet Archive confirmed that "surprisingly" large numbers of people (he estimated around 25 percent) use the lending service to download books onto laptops and desktops.
Still, Vook's Bradley Inman said the uncurated information offered by browsers constitutes a fundamentally different experience from that of books—one that tablets, on the other hand, are able to successfully replicate.
Tablets, he said, allow people to read in a way that is familiar and comfortable, offer "delivered" (packaged) curation and, like books, can become "extensions of our being."