Increase your reading comprehension and enjoyment of eBooks with a high-stakes “ironman mode” that punishes the inattentive reader!


In some video games, there is a difficulty setting referred to as “ironman,” in which a player only has one life—if they die, they must replay the ENTIRE game over again. (This is also the default setting in the “roguelike” game genre.)


In books, unfortunately there is no equivalent to this “ironman” mode—until now!

We will create a custom eBook reader app with the following properties:

  • It acts like a normal reader app (like the Amazon Kindle or Apple Books app) in most respects.
  • However, after the end of every chapter, the reader is presented with a quiz (Figure 1).
  • If the reader answers the quiz questions correctly, they move on to the next chapter…
  • …but if they fail the quiz, the eBook app kicks the reader back to the beginning of the chapter (or to the first page of the book).
Fig. 1: At the end of the chapter here, the user is presented with a quiz. If they were paying attention to the book, they will (hopefully) know the answers. If not, the reader will be sent back to the beginning of the chapter and will have an opportunity to re-experience its contents!


This should encourage attentive reading and more engagement with the printed material. Win / win!

This would also work very easily with audiobooks, although it’s a bit unclear how the user would answer the quiz questions (perhaps with voice recognition?).

There is unfortunately no straightforward way to implement this with printed books, but perhaps a very complicated mechanical contraption could be devised.

PROS: Adds a sense of high-stakes danger to the otherwise relatively safe activity of reading a book.

CONS: The user would need to be prevented from just flipping through the chapter again in order to get a second chance at the quiz: perhaps a page-turn delay could be implemented.