Many eBooks are simply books using a different delivery method. And that’s fine. I find it convenient to have a library of material that is easily carried around in my iPad. I like that I can read in bed without resorting to a clumsy book light. I’m all for it. But there’s nothing really new or special about eBooks like that. They are books read on glass rather than paper.

But Apple’s release of iBooks Author makes me realize that there is a lot of untapped potential in eBooks. The program is designed for textbooks, but as with many programs it has abilities beyond the ideas of the creators. And where children’s books are concerned, the ideas just keep coming. After all, you can incorporate audio, video, photo galleries, interactive maps and more. Things that can enhance and enrich a story. Things that can draw the reader more deeply into the experience. The ability to tap a button and have the text read aloud is obvious. To have it read by an animated character takes it a step up. And there are certainly more steps beyond that, awaiting only a fevered imagination to come up with them.

Oh, I have lots of ideas, but I’ll save them for the event that led me to write this piece.

I’ll be leading a session called Building the Children’s eBook at the upcoming Austin SCBWI Digital Symposium II.  It’ll be in Austin at St. Edward’s University, October 6, 2012.

And sure, I’ll be demonstrating the possibilities and limitations in creating a digital book. But what I’m excited about is doing so for a group of talented and creative children’s book creators. I mean, if my mind races at the possibilites opened up by the new technology, just think what our talented local crowd might think up.

I’ll also be discussing other platforms, such as the Kindle, and even how to create one of those non-interactive eBooks (which still have their place). But I’m fired up about creating something that goes beyond that. And I’m hoping that the people at the conference will get fired up too. If you want to be one of them, there’s still time for you to register here (provided you’re reading this before the October 6, 2012 event, that is).