9 Best Interactive e-book apps

In the past there was a big hype around the potential for interactive e-book apps. It was very expensive to develop examples flopped on the App Store, so the hype faded away.

Still some interactive e-book apps like Arcadia, 80 Days and Device 6 are playing with the form of interactive novels, while game-books like Blood & Laurels and A Wise Use of Time are reinventing the Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy era of branching fiction for modern touch screens.

Here are 9 of the best examples from recent years, which notably have strong writing as well as digital innovation at their hearts.

Arcadia interactive e-book by Ian Pears

This is a novel written by Pears only for interactive e-book app, with its interweaving characters and stories. Readers can follow characters through the narrative, as well as choosing a different perspectives that suits you – complete with a map to help you get your bearings. Greatness here is that the interactive form doesn’t detract or distract from the story.

80 Days Interactive e-book
iOS / Android

This interactive e-book is based on Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days with reader taking the role of valet Passepartout, on a global trip with Phileas Fogg. It allows readers a longer or shorter sitting by giving option Choose Your Own Adventure book or a text-adventure game. Branching route (and thus narrative) mean reader will want to re-read/play it again and again.

Device 6 interactive e-book (£2.99)

This interactive e-book is also book/game hybrid, it doesn’t feel dated at all. The story starts with a character called Anna waking up in an island tower with a memory of a “rather unpleasant doll”. The tale plays out through text that turns corners and flips upside down; audio clips; photographs and puzzles.

Blackbar (£2.29)
iOS / Android

Blackbar is another interactive e-book of interactive fiction that makes you work for your reading pleasure: in this case, by guessing the words that have been censored by familiar black bars (hence the title). The story is told through letters to your character “Vi”, which have been censored by the mysterious Department of Communication. Filling in the gaps gives you crossword-style satisfaction. The story itself is what really draws you in.

Jack and the Beanstalk by Nosy Crow (£3.99)

Nosy Crow is a publisher of book and interactive e-books and apps for children. Jack and the Beanstalk had experimented most with its format, adding in mini-games as Jack explores the giant’s house, but being careful to make the rewards more story – text and dialogue – putting the game-like elements to work on encouraging its young audience to read.
Ryan North’s To Be or Not To Be (£4.49)
iOS / Android

This interactive e-book is reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with the ability to abandon the familiar narrative serving to make you think about how it was constructed in the first place.

A Wise Use of Time (£2.49)
iOS / Android

A Wise Use of Time one is very recently released. This avoids multimedia bells and whistles in favour of pure text – 260,000 words of it – and multiple-choice decisions to steer the story. Here, again, it’s the quality of the writing that’s the real treat: a clever sci-fi plot device (your character can freeze time) that’s given plenty of room to breathe. Choice of Games’ quality bar remains high for its other apps too.

Electricomics (Free)

Electricomics is offering four comic stories that make the most of being liberated from print by playing with the digital format. The app is the start of something bigger, too: a platform for comics authors and illustrators to self-publish their digital work.

These are the best 9 interactive e-book apps at present available with ios and android.


With bachelor's and masters in engineering and technology I try my best to be ahead in engineering the mobile ecosystem!

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