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E BOOKS – CAN KATNISS EVERDEEN SAVE BOOK PUBLISHING?

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“THE READER GAMES”

(Our Story) Each year, two books from each publisher are chosen to fight it out in a complex game to determine the one winner. The game is known as “THE READER GAMES.” Unlike any such other Games, these books are not chosen at random, but as a result of a complicated process where the books’ Sponsors try to propel them into the Capital of The Republic for the ultimate contest.

The Reader Games began some 600 years ago and was won by a book by G. Odman known as The Bible (Gutenberg Press). Today, Mr. Odman is still the all-powerful president of The Republic. The Reader Games is played under set of rules know as The Trial and has a Mr. Lenny Kafka as the Master of Ceremonies. There is also one, known as The Prince, who tries to influence and even manipulate the outcome.

In the last few years, not only are the citizens able to watch the Games on large screens set up throughout the Republic, but are even now able to see inside the combatants by means of small screens that they can carry around of which the Serengeti Sand seems to be one of the most popular.

As in any civilized,society, members are split between having the games continue as the always have been with the actual books as the contestants, while others believe the Games would profit from existing wholly on the little screens. The debate is prolonged, confused and heated.

Meanwhile, Katniss Everdeen, the winner of last year’s Reader Games is on to other things. A number of other Republics are pursuing her to start in a new series of games to be know as The INTERACTIVE Reader Games.

The value of this new Game is that the reader will be able to participate along with the contestant book, and also be able to flash backward and forward in the book’s history, delve further into the characters and places, view maps and locations, see and hear the book portrayed by different people, play music, devise new obstacles, vary the plot and the ending, and much, much more.

Katniss is seriously considering their offers. In truth, she feels that the current Reader Games are static and boring. In fact, her Mentor tells here that the readership of The Reader Games has been steadily declining, while costs and prices have continued to rise. The citizens in the Capital are complaining about value vs price, and wondering where all the money really goes.

Katniss is very smart and knows that if this trend continues, some other Republic will rise to prominence as happened to the Republic that formerly ran The Music Games.
(To be continued.)

FEAR OF THE 21ST CENTURY

As noted in the Purpose Page of this blog,
“Just as the iPod changed the shape of the music industry, the Fine Art, and indeed the entire book publishing industry, is on the brink of a paradigm change. Can The Book adapt and survive?”

In an article titled “Publishers Hustle to Make EBooks More Immersive”, in Wired on April 9, 2012 Angela Watercutter wrote,

“It was bound to happen. The record industry was forced to adapt when iTunes came along. Reluctant film studios made the jump to Netflix and other streaming services. And now, with tablets selling at mind-boggling rates, book publishers are scrambling to figure out how to bring their ancient medium into the digital realm.

All the usual fears about moving into the 21st century spook the book companies, just as they did when younger industries made the leap.”

FEAR OF MAKING A GREAT LEAP FORWARD
Baby Steps. In an article, “Blowing Up the Book” in The Wall Street Journal on January 20, 2012, Alexandra Alter wrote that,

“Scribner, which recently released an enhanced version of Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63 , is proceeding with caution. ‘We haven’t proven there’s a big enough market for the enhanced e-book to justify the effort, time and money,’ [says Scribner].

Mr. King, however, feels strongly about the enhanced version of 11/22/63,

It is odd, as Ms. Alter notes that,

“The enhanced version of Mr. King’s novel, which includes a 13-minute film written and narrated by the author, has sold 45,000 copies at $16.99. The hardcover version, by contrast, sold close to a million copies at $35.00, and the unadorned digital version has sold nearly 300,000 copies at $14.99. Most enhanced e-books sell in the low thousands, according to publishers.”

Hmmmm, maybe Scribner wasn’t such a great Mentor.

THE WASTELAND, AN OMEN

Ms Alter also notes that,

“A widely praised app for T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” published by Touchpress includes a facsimile of the manuscript with edits by Ezra Pound, readings by Eliot recorded in 1933 and 1947 and a video performance of the poem by actress Fiona Shaw.
The highly produced apps—the digital equivalent of coffee-table books—are expensive to make, but so far they’ve been profitable, says Touch Press’s creative director Theodore Gray. Touch Press spent $120,000 on “The Wasteland” and recovered its investment in 4½ weeks. The app, priced at $13.99, hit No. 1 on Apple’s list of best-selling book apps, prompting hope among publishers that literature can hold its own in the app world.”

Hmmmm, Seems that T.S. had a much better Mentor in Touch Press.

Laura Miller, in Salon, in an article titled “The Waste Land”: T.S. Eliot takes the app store on June 15, 2011 wrote that,

“The Waste Land” offers one of the best examples yet of how to make a successful literary app, often by contravening conventional wisdom.

It sure doesn’t hurt that the app is so beautifully mounted. Shaw, who first toured her popular theatrical reading of the poem in the late ’90s, recites Eliot’s lines in a faded, crumbly Georgian interior that perfectly captures the prevailing tone of idle desiccation. The serenely austere page design conveys the flip side of the poem’s desert imagery, a feeling that in this place where everything extraneous has been burnt away, some titanic revelation is imminent.

You can watch Shaw read for a while, then switch back to the text to check a reference or translation, then go on reading the lines to the accompaniment of Ted Hughes’ very different vocal interpretation; the app keeps track of your place as you go. Eliot’s friend Ezra Pound played a crucial role in shaping “The Waste Land”; and the inclusion of the original manuscript with Pound’s handwritten edits offers a glimpse of that process. These various ways of approaching the text are enticements to the multiple readings that make a full appreciation of the poem possible.”

WILL KATNISS BE ONE OF THE SURVIVORS?

The Survivors, Book One

Strangely enough, one of the most intriguing enhanced e books is The Survivors by Amanda Harvard, released in March 2011 by the very impressive Chafie Press. The book won the 2011 Moonbeam Childrens Book Award – Young Adult Fiction (emphasis added), and the Independent Publisher’s Editors Choice Award. Book Two, The Survivors, Point of Origin, will be released on June 12, 2012.

This is the story line of The Suvivors,

“In 1692, when witch trials gripped the community of Salem, Massachusetts, twenty-six children were accused as witches, exiled, and left for dead. Fourteen of them survived.
The Survivors is the first installment of the tantalizing tales of the fourteen ill-fated Survivors and their descendants, who have been content in hiding for over three centuries. Isolated on a Montana mountainside, only Sadie, the rogue daughter, dares to abandon the family’s sacred hiding place. But no matter how far Sadie runs, something always pulls her back.”

The Survivors is a truly interactive multi-media ebook. As the website explains,

“Inside these 500+ pieces of information is a plethora of media that enhances the readers’ experience, immersing them further into the story world while preserving the sacred elements of the book. The Immersedition includes historical facts and commentary, information about mythology, as well as relevant historical documents dating back to the 17th century. There is music inlaid like a soundtrack including three original songs written just for The Survivors, as well as music videos that depict character interactions.”

The website goes on to explain that,

“Readers can explore more than 50 real-world locations in the books through location photos, as well as fully workable Google satellite maps to provide interactive aerial views. Runway photos of clothes and designer looks, as well as vehicle tech specs, photos and video provide a sense of characters’ style so that the reader may get an idea of the look of a character without the app taking away a reader’s sacred privilege of imagining the character in his or her own mind.”

The blockbuster, The Hunger Games, made skillful use of the social media in promoting the movie. So has The Survivors,

“Five of the main characters have even been active on Twitter for the past two years, giving them an even fuller backstory and intrigue in real time, and so in the app, readers are able to follow and interact with the characters in the real world. With all of this interaction, there are only two features that require Internet access: full access to characters’ Twitter and other social media accounts and the use of satellite maps. The rest is fully embedded in the story and works without any kind of Internet connection.”

Ah, Katniss (and Suzanne Collins)… a new world of enhanced ebooks awaits you. If not you, then who? Sadie (from The Survivors) or maybe, even Rue?

(Also to be continued …)

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One comment on “E BOOKS – CAN KATNISS EVERDEEN SAVE BOOK PUBLISHING?

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