Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dutton to Publish Interactive Book

One of the hot deals that happened late this summer was a reported seven figure deal for three books by the creator of CSI. Dutton won the fierce auction, beating out six other houses.

Par for the course, right?

Well, this one is different. The "author" of the project is not really going to be the author. Anthony Zuiker is going to be more like a producer/director, and he'll hire a novelist to write the books. At the end of every five chapters there will be a code in the book that, when you go to your computer, will take you to a two minute filmed vignette that will provide a "cinematic bridge" to the next five chapters. Zuiker will outline the series and direct the vignettes, hoping eventually to turn the project into a feature film.

This isn't the first interactive novel, but it's a pretty big investment, and the fact that such big names are involved gives it buzz.

So... what do you think??






82 comments:

bryan russell said...

For my taste, it's kind of silly, but then I'm not really a technoguy. Frankly, I think the concept would annoy me as a reader, if at the end of chapter five, while riding the train to Toronto, I had to start checking out the other passengers to see whose laptop would be the easiest to steal...

It just doesn't seem like something for me. If I want a book, I'll read a book (a complete one). And if I want a film, I'll watch a film (a complete one). Really, I don't see what the hybrid can offer aside from complications. I mean, I read along, a vision of the character and story in my head... and then I turn on my laptop and suddenly find Ben Affleck imitatating the MC?

There's too many great books and great films out there for me to spend my money on something that seems like a gimick. And, in my opinion, books are already interactive - they require your imaginative involvement to function properly. Sticking in film bits merely cuts holes in the middle of the reader's interactive engagement with the story.

Just my take. Everyone's tastes differ, and ain't it a fine old world on account of that?

Margaret Yang said...

It kind of reminds me of a video game, where the gameplay and the storyline go hand in hand. But in this case, it's the book and internet hand in hand.

I wonder, what is the audience for this? Is primarily TV watchers/game players, who are more visually oriented, or is it primarily book readers, who are more tuned to words?

Anonymous said...

I think it's too much work...when I find the time to relax and read, I like to get comfy and lose myself in a great story...if I had to make sure my laptop was close by so I could go online and see what happens next....um, just don't see that happening...I personally, would not spend the $$ on something like that.

Margaret Yang said...

Ewww, and the article says, "You'll watch a live snuff film, then you'll give the killer your phone number...."

No I won't watch a live snuff film! Anyone else bothered by this?

7-iron said...

I agree with Bryan.

The concept seems innovative, but really when it comes down to it, I read because I like to form my own images... I feel cheated when my imagination doesn't do the work.

Sheila said...

This is going to be marketed to adults?

I could see kids doing this. In fact, I think Rick Riordan is doing something like this with his 39 clues series.

Personally, I wouldn't want to have to break the flow of reading to watch something. Suddenly, the pictures I've created in my head are now given to me on the screen. That's not what I read a book for.

K.C. Shaw said...

I guess it'd work for people reading it on ereaders. I wouldn't want to bother, though. I don't like to stop reading to have to interact with the book in any way. Not to mention the danger that after I watch the online clip, I'd have to check my email, and answer my emails, and watch the YouTube video a friend forwarded, and watch something else that caught my eye on YouTube, and check my email again, and--oh yeah, wasn't I reading a book?

Natalie said...

Interesting. I could see this working if e-readers took over the world. Then it would be easy to see the clip and go back to reading.

But reading the actual book, having to stop and go look up some code on the net, and then going back...seems cumbersome.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. What an interesting and thoroughly depressing article.

Storytelling 2.0, as directed by a man who says he can't finish a 250 page book?

Is there a big audience for "cases that are too grim and graphic for CSI?"

The advertising advantages are big, but you have to capture that audience first.

markwise said...

This has got to be one of the lamest marketing ploys in the history of books.

One of the beaty's of books is that you envision the story how you want it to run - Not how a TV director envisions the story.

Secondly, how long will the video segments remain on the Net? Once they come down, you will be left with only half a story and a bunch of gaps.

Insane.

Dori said...

I have to agree with a lot of the comments already posted. When you read a book, you want to read a book.

However, I watched the N. series of vignettes for Stephen King. That was quite enjoyable. So, I see the potential for something like this. The interactive quality is something that may pull in the younger reader.

I think interrupting the reading process is going to be downfall of this project, though. If the bridges were between short stories or between books, it would work better. It would become an enhancement of the reading experience. But asking someone who is reading a non-digital book to run to their computer so they can complete the next five chapters is a recipe for the reader to put the book down and not pick it up again.

I thought one of the author's jobs was to keep the reader from putting the book down in the first place. Seems a little counterintuitive.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Eh, no thanks.

Like others have said, I want to sit and read a book, not jump up and play online. Lately, reading is my break from long hours in front of the screen.

Moth said...

I don't get it. Why would I want to stop reading, get on the computer and watch a "cinematic bridge"? thanks I'd rather keep reading actually. It just seems like a really weird concept. Maybe there's something I'm not getting.

Anonymous said...

Can't see it as a winner. But then again, hard to figure at this early stage. Doesn't appeal to me, but perhaps to the younger generation it may fly. Time will tell.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I think it sounds annoying if the book sucks and fun if the book is really good. I do hate watching stuff on my computer, though. And I agree, books are the ultimate interractive art form already.

Conduit said...

I'm all for new technologies and innovative thinking, but unless there's something we're all missing here, it's a no thanks from me too. It almost seems like a throwback to the earliest days of CD-ROM when we were all ooh-ing and aah-ing at the novelty of watching jittery, stamp-sized videos on our computer screens. Except it's more hassle.

Anonymous said...

I think it’s kind of interesting. Obviously, it isn't going to be like reading a normal book so in some ways it probably won't appeal to a lot of people, and I think its definitely for the "younger" reader.

I like the viral marketing being done for things like the TV show Lost and the movie Cloverfield, and I think this is probably another variation of that concept. It’s will allow publishing companies to see how popular a book is based not only on sales, but on things like hits to the website and sign-ups. They'll also be able to collect information (e-mails) to use later on in advertising other product. Like anything else, though, if the story/content is garbage then it will be a big flop.

If they took something similar to Twilight and used this concept it would be huge. Imagine Stephanie Meyer’s next book including internet video clips – I think her readers would be all over watching every five chapters.

Josh

JES said...

It's not a bad idea as ideas go. It sucks that it's being pitched as a "book," though. As Mr. Zuiker says, perhaps it "offers publishing a chance to catch up with the YouTube generation that has lost passion for reading." I doubt that it will do much to increase anyone's passion for reading, though.

It's highly reminiscent of a series of computer games from a few years ago. I don't remember the titles now, but the general idea was that you solved a mystery by providing e.g. email address, fax #, phone #, and so on, and various robots masquerading as characters would contact you with clues. And you could go to a Web site to get additional info, see how others were progressing, and so on. Again, this is cool. And I might play this game. But it's not a "book." It's not even a "book" in quotes -- it's like a meta-book, a "'book'" in both external and internal quotes.

The Dutton publisher says, "Zuiker 'is bringing a great deal of creative energy to this project.'" Methinks the primary draw for Dutton isn't Mr. Z's energy, so much as his built-in audience. (The omnipotent "platform.")

I'm a tech guy as well as a reader, but sheesh...

Susan said...

I like books but sometimes enjoy technology, so for me, it would come down to the story it's telling.

This doesn't sound like my kind of story!

But, I'm planning an e-book anthology with a nonprofit I work with, and am planning a few fun and interactive elements for it. I imagine that e-books may evolve that way...which is great, I think; technology gives them an edge over the printed book to let them claim a market share of their own.

But a real book is still (sorry Coca-Cola) the Real Thing. I'll always take a printed book with a great story to tell, over any gadget or gimmick.

Although, I can remember my father who thought pens with ink *already inside them* were nifty...so maybe it's just a case of Time Will Tell.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Aren't people who have read the novel and then go see the movie, always saying, "the movie left so much out?" So having the chapters interspersed with scenes, all that left-out stuff gets put back in.

I'm not too interested in the crime/violence aspect of it. But I can see that someone who can write AND direct - and sets out at the tender age of 13 or something to become a...what would you call such a person? An interactive author...after they made 10 such - the word Frankenstein comes to mind - 10 such interactive books, they might come up with some really exciting ideas, tease out some of the creative possibilities we of the "strictly fiction" crowd can't see...

If you could throw in, submit your address and get really cool things in the mail - like, an embroidered velvet bag with seeds in it that you can plant - and some plant breeder had come up with striped daisies, or blue sunflowers, and these weird flowers were part of the story, and you can grow them in your garden - your friend comes over and says, "oh, you're reading (viewing? participating in?) The Flowers of Zora, cool! I was wondering what they looked like!" - the possibilities are endless, as they say...

Not good: It seems like part of the motivation for this is to get advertising in front of the reader/viewer...one thing I think most people like about books...NO ADS...so having ads as part of the visual segment, I think, would be a big turnoff...or anywhere in the book...yuck - when you download a text on Kindle, are there ADS??? Maybe they'll start selling Kindle downloads in two versions: with ads (cheaper) and without ads (more bucks).

Erik said...

Silent movies were far from the final word on what the industry would become. They relied heavily on pantomime and stage settings. But they eventually created an entirely new genre of art.

This doesn't sound to me like a great thing, but it may be something DW Griffith might cook up if he were around today.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

P.S. The editor of Twelve was on C-Span, Sunday I think, and they ran it again last night.

Michelle Miles said...

I think it sounds awesome. It sort of reminds me of the choose your own adventure books except this time you get to SEE the action. Kinda cool.

By the way, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on product placement in novels.

Anne Dayton said...

I think it sounds interesting. I'd check it out. It might suck, but it might be really cool. It's worth a shot.

Mystery Robin said...

Awesome! But they should do it for Lost. :) Someone go tell JJ!

Lisa said...

that would annoy me. i want to curl up with a book to get AWAY from a computer screen. lol. i hope this doesn't change every book to something like this...

Anonymous said...

I think it sucks.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of the comments here. I read because I like to read - period. The world is in my head.

Maybe kids would like this, but it's not for me. It's clunky.

I rate books in terms of how engaged I become as I read them. Is the author taking me on a journey to this place? Are the characters real to me? Is the author gifted enough to make me see, smell, taste, feel the world he/she has created? Did I want to stay up all night just to finish the book? Did the story "haunt" me long afterwards? The great ones do this.

My nephew (teenager) told me yesterday that one of his friends is reading my first book. His friend's comment was that he could not put the book down. That was one of the best things I could have heard.

Last thing I want to do is pick up a "book" and then HAVE to put it down to go to the net and watch a video. I love the net, but hey, if I'm reading, *I'm reading!!!*

J.F.

Other Lisa said...

Ick.

I doubt if something "written" this way will be interesting writing at all.

Nothing against movies and TV shows; I like 'em. But books are great technology. Some sort of weird hybrid like this seems like it would do nothing particularly well.

Kat Harris said...

I'm going to join the chorus. It's an interesting idea, but too much work.
Call me lazy but when I pick up a book, I want to be lost in the story. I don't want to have to work to get it.

Bernita said...

What do I think?
Bleath.

Laurel Amberdine said...

It... probably... isn't as stupid as it sounds. Some stories are better told in video, some are better told in text, and I can see that some might benefit from both media.

I couldn't tell from the article what the "digital" nature of this "digital novel" is. Will it be on a website? Is it a paper book? Is it a download from iTunes or Amazon?

Like everything, it'll all come down to the story. I hope it's good.

M Clement Hall said...

I have an interest in forensics but can't be bothered with the trivialities and repetitive "it's a match" of CSI.

Seems people who read are universally against the idea. But people who watch TV don't read.

Going on the natural law of life, if everyone is so opposed to the idea, it will become a resounding success -- as is CSI.

Adaora A. said...

I don't know what to think. I guess there is that pesky thing about who gets their name in bigger print. The interactive book idea is pretty interesting, but it makes me think of book packagers...

JeanieW said...

It sounds like a cinematic bridge to nowhere. A whole lot of money going into a project that doesn't seem to have that much of a point. Just think of all the other books that could have gone into production instead.

abc said...

I think it could work. It is 2008 and the time for new media. But frankly, I'm too lazy for that stuff. I'd probably never get around to watching the cd.

Ulysses said...

I'm sorry? I'm reading a book, and you want me to get up in the middle to go on-line?

Um... I read books in odd places: restaurants, busses, the bathtub, supermarket lines. If I have to put the book down until I find myself in the neighborhood of a computer, I'm likely to be so annoyed that I won't pick it up again.

This idea's not for me.

bunnygirl said...

It doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but I'm sure there's a market for it.

What I do like, though, is the recognition that storytelling media is changing. I have some multimedia ideas of my own, but they're less interactive than this.

Eric said...

If this takes off then maybe there is hope after all for my groundbreaking concept of theatrical movies interspersed with chapter reading breaks every three or four scenes.

Not annoying in the least. Now everyone please sit quietly while we wait for the rest of the audience to finish chapter six.

Chatty Kelly said...

As someone completely addicted to CSI (Las Vegas), I love it! I love reading, and I can't say I'd run to the PC to check it, but I probably would at some point watch the bridge. I think it's cool and innovative. I suspect you don't HAVE to watch the PC clip, but just that it would give a visual enhancement to the book.

I say Kudos. Thinking outside the box got a 7-figure deal. How big a deal did anyone else get this week? This month? This year?

CC said...

A fierce auction... a seven figure deal... seven major pub houses vying for it.

Heck, that's a lot of work for something so gimmicky, isn't it? Oh, and the "author" isn't even the "author" but will hire one?
Let me see, maybe I should try this... I'e got an idea, but no, it'll involve me not writing it, I'll produce it, that's it!

Is it my imagination, or does all of publishing seem more enamored with people that AREN'T authors than the ones that are?

I agree with most of the other commentors -- I read to get away from the influx of media screaming at me. This entire concept strikes me as ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The article states that it will bring reading to a "mulit-platform" experience.

Um, if you are doing it right, reading already is a multi-platform experience.

I read with my eyeballs, form the setting and characters' images in my brain, feel the text in my heart, and let the plot's twists and turns sink into my blood. How many more "platforms" do you need to reach?

I suppose I could French-kiss the book after I was done?

Anonymous said...

(I'm Anon 12:18, again...)

AND the guy doesn't have the attention span to READ a 250 page crime novel, but he thinks he's got the moxy to write a 60 page outline and "surpervise" a real writer to finish it? I'm sorry, that is the most condescending thing I've heard since I don't know when.

Supervise, yes, that's exactly the person I want telling be what to do as a writer -- someone who thinks reading a 250 page book is a chore. Oh, and since when are crime novels 250 pages? I've got David Baldacci's novel, STONE COLD, sitting right here, next to my computer. Let's see... no, it's 388 exactly. A full 138 pages too long.

Stuff like this makes my blood boil, I don't even know why.

Anonymous said...

Has this created any buzz from your side of things, Nathan? Are you looking for projects that have multi-media possibilities now? What is your take?

Seven figures. That's a lot of figures.

Gwen said...

Hmm, I must say that it sounds intriguing. If the book awakens a hardcore following, it would be a fabulous way to keep the fan base interested and it would also help them to feel involved in the whole process/book-reading experience/what have you.

Points for originality. Or, ingenuity.

Just_Me said...

Pointless.

Why would I want to stop reading to fire up my computer and watch a 5 minute movie? I'd rather just turn the page.

But I expect it will generate interest because it's hype-able.

150 said...

Gut reaction? Gimmicky and annoying.

terryd said...

If it was limited only to e-gadgets, and turning the "final" page of text automatically brought the video portion, I think it might be kind of cool.

I think it would lend itself quite well to horror, etc.

Maybe also begin the "book" with a video portion, so the reader isn't jarred too badly, mid-story, with video-supplied sensory details?

Lynne said...

I don't *think* so. Big 'no' to snuff film, thank you Margaret. Yay, Casey!
Horrible visual: kids who are computer smart would be targeted as prime market. IOW, they would not learn how to read. Welcome, "Brave New Illiterate World."

Linnea said...

I think the hook to this may be that you get to come up with new characters and storylines but who wants to give away their good ideas to someone else?
And who doesn't LOVE the idea of product placement in the book they're reading. Ugh. One of the nice things about a book is that it's entertainment WITHOUT advertising.
If the poor man doesn't have enough of an attention span to read a good book I'm not sure I'd depend on him to know a good book when he sees one. I'll pass I think.

Furious D said...

Still can't top the "Choose Your Own Adventure" novels we had when I was a kid.

nomadshan said...

Awesome. If you had a device that you could use to read the book AND watch the online videos, a very cool experience could be had.

Yay for technology and new ways to experience stories.

Angie said...

In all seriousness, if I'm reading a paper book (which I usually do either in bed or in the bathroom [cough]) I really don't want to have to run over to the computer periodically to watch a video before I can move on in the story. I'd find it annoying.

And mind you, I'm a major CSI fan -- I watch all three shows, and have since the first episode of the original series -- and do spend a boatload of time in front of the computer. But I'm not sitting here when I read paper books.

I think this is something that sold just because it was new and different, and had a big name attached to it, and a popular franchise. But no one stopped to consider if the "new" and different added up to good. :/

Angie

Whirlochre said...

As ever, you're a hot tipster for news, but I'm struggling to register my disinterest on this one.

Call me a purist, but I either want to have someone tell me a story or to "choose my own adventure" by wandering, blindfolded, into the street and strangling hapless passers-by.

Lara said...

Random comment here, but I'd love for you to do a post on chapters in books. Maybe write about thoughts and preferences on chapter lengths, and length consistencies. In my current manuscript (which I feel is well-polished) I have some chapters that are 5500 words and some that are 3000. Is that bad? Does it matter?

Thanks!

Taymalin said...

I'm not a CSI fan, but even if this were for a show I like (Dexter, frex), I wouldn't bother with it. I'm a technophile, but I like my reading to be uninterrupted. Whoever mentioned the e-reader with automatically playing clips is onto something though. That I'd read.

B

A Paperback Writer said...

Hey, I'd check this out. It sounds gimicky but worth a look.

Sam Hranac said...

Reminds me of RPG video games from 1997. They bridged together "chapters" with animated video. The construction is called String of Pearls, where you need to accomplish X much before the possibility opens up to move on to the next pearl, only this is more of a web of pearls. It might be a lark to run through it.

Maris Bosquet said...

The venture strikes me as a huge exercise in the effect and profitability of hype. Sorry, but my heart has never followed the hype.

Elissa M said...

I am obviously not the target audience.

Scott said...

I won't dismiss this out of hand until I get a chance to see it in action. My biggest concern is what a trend of this kind might do to the quality of the writing. If the book is simply a means to yet another technological shortcut to our imaginations, then I think maybe it's best for kids and new readers.

If the book is done well, and the link video inspired, why not? For some of us prose writers who also dream of seeing our visions on the screen - big or small - we might jump at the chance to have a portion of our ideas produced.

I say let's see it first. I've read great books and seen great "shorts". I see no reason why the two can't be combined if the idea is right and the integrity is there.

Kylie said...

...
I would agree with ulysses. Why would I want to walk away from a perfectly good book to go watch a little clip online??? I'd probably skip over that and try to use context to figure out what I missed.

melissa c said...

I personally don't like online books. I spend too much time as it is on the computer.

I would much rather lay back in a hot bath tub and soak in a great book.

That's just my personal opinion.

By the way, I am almost finished with a book I am writing. How many authors do you represent and do you have room for one more?

My book is going to be great and I have been researching query letters and all that but I just thought I would ask.

Let me know. Thanks.

tracymarchini.com said...

I'm not sure something similiar hasn't been done before, actually. It seems like a cross between Selznick's Invention of Hugo Cabret, where certain action scenes were done in pictures instead of words, and a magazine gimmick from maybe ten years ago.

Does anybody remember when pre-teen magazines had a barcode, and when you bought this device that you hooked up to your computer, it would scan the bar code and direct you to a website? I remember they were trying to do books, magazines, etc. with these barcodes, but because the web content was usually just an advertisement, nobody bothered buying the devices.

Anybody remember this?

cc said...

Melissa C, 7:05 --

I'm not Nathan, but let me take a stab at answering your question, because I think it's a good one.

Most literary agents have room for a client that interests them, when they think they can sell their work. It's not really a matter of being "full" or not. In order for an agent to take you on as a client you have to not only write the type of book that an agent represents, but it also has to be saleable, there has to be a market for it. There are so many factors involved in this, and each agent is different in their own needs anad wants that there is no one pert answer. Asking if an agent is "full of clients" will only alert them that you haven't done your homework, and they'll be wary of your query.

Research how to write query letters first. Get to know about Agentquery.com. It's a great resource. Use Agentquery.com to search around for all the different agencies and agents that handle the type of book you've written. Don't query them all at once. Take your time. Personalize their query letter. Know who they are and what you might gain from working with them. Every agent is different.

Your queries need to be professional, tight, and describe your novel in a compelling way. This takes lots of practice. Don't be afraid to write many different versions and think about them for a long time, it's harder than it looks.

Good luck.

Marion said...

IT is a definite move forward in revolutionizing the publishing industry but I think they are wasting their money on only partially introducing the concept of an e-book with interactive style. They would be further ahead to set the whole project up as an e-book offering with the interactive vignettes all in the same package to address the issues of frustration if one does not have a computer at hand to continue reading the books. It would seem logical to consider that major flaw in its saleability big names or not. Why is the industry dragging it's heels over the e-book generation? The environment would dictate this as the best policy to adopt if there is any kind of conscience at work to protect the environment while accepting that technology does have its place in environmentally friendly products.

Carolyn said...

I pity the poor author who gets to be "overseen."

Anonymous said...

Sounds pretty stupid to me. If you want to read a book, read a book. If you want to watch a movie, watch a movie.

This is one reason there's no money for aspiring debut authors. All of the companies are throwing big bucks at nitwit ideas like this.

gingersea said...

So where exactly is the vaunted "interactive" part? You get to interact with a book and then every five chapters you get to interact with your computer to watch a movie? Then you get to talk online about it? Truly interactive fiction would let the reader have a hand in determining the outcome of the story, and every reader's story might be different, depending on the choices he makes. The person who noted the "Choose your own adventure" childhood books was right on target. Or, for a more grown-up example of interactive fiction, you might check out The Museum, a project by Adam Kenney.

Vancouver Dame said...

This will appeal to those without the attention span to read a book. As Zuiker himself says, 'I personally don’t have the attention economy to read a 250-page crime novel from start to finish.' This type of reading doesn't appeal to me. I love books, and reading is a pleasure. Seems like a trendy gimmick, but I'm sure some technos will love it. I wonder if it will spawn some self-made crime solvers - sniffing around crime scenes? I would say either the book or the computer, but this going back and forth every few chapters would annoy me.

nona said...

I'll leave the interactive book discussion to others but I will share what I think is the ideal role of the publishing industry in filmmaking which is its extaordinary position to be able to ferret out manuscripts that will eventually make thier way to the big screen, either through literary adaptations or works written expressly for film.

Of course, the Hollywood system has professional script readers who plow through the slush pile the same as the publishing industry, but what f*** do they know?! Apologies to the filmmaking industry, but come on, let's be realistic, guys.

Witness the brilliant success of the filmmaking team of Producer Ismael Merchant, Director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawler Jhabvala who turned out three of the best book to film adaptations ever made: "Howard's End" and "A Room with a View," both novels by EM Forster, and "The Remains of the Day" by Kazuo Ishiguro, to name but a very select few of their triumphs.

Ismael Merchant died in 2005. Who will take up the mantle, I wonder?

www.lecroisic-decouverte.com said...

Nice talk i'm new here ....

Anonymous said...

That's one expensive gimmick that a lot of people will make good money on, up front.

The one thing I really hate most about a really good book/read is putting it down, or walking away. Besides, I find reading exercises my mind and my imagination, TV not so much. I also don't want to have put in the effort to imagine my surroundings, the people, and their situation only to have someone come along part way and go, "No, this is how you should be picturing it. Picture it my way, not yours."

It's a big enough leap of faith to submit to Hollywood's interpretations when they translate what were otherwise fine books wholesale for the screen. Just the idea of them deliberately making that leap intermittently throughout my experience destroys the premise of the book for me already.

I sure won't pay to try this. And if it comes "free" and they slam me with ads to "bridge" my story completion, I'll be "shredding" the book every chance I get.

I love books. I don't mind paying for books, because I get what I see. I pay for what I want, and no ads. It's one of the few mediums left that treats you like you have some intelligence. Hollywood, judging by their product, treats everyone like stupid ad gobblers. And within a certain age bracket, they're more than justified.

If the "author" here needs this big a gimmick this early on, either the writing's bad or there's not enough meat there for a TV show, not that they ever need much to begin with. Hollywood must be downright desperate for ideas these days to stave off the internet juggernaut.

This one's got a real odor about it.

writtenwyrdd said...

What do I think? Bleh. Not going to fly, at least with me. I want to read the story, not watch it. I like reading far better than movies, and it would destroy the 'flow' for me to have to go to the computer.

If I bought such a book and discovered it was interactive, I'd return it with the complaint it wasn't a book at all but something different, something new but NOT improved.

Lee Wind said...

We used to call it "The Bleeding Edge of Technology." That future-is-now spot where stuff is so wacky, and different, and we know HOW to do things before we're quite sure WHY we'd want to...

Ultimately, I think a book, and a TV show, and a video game are all about STORY, and if it's good - people will want to hear it/see it/interact with it.

I agree with Margaret that the whole "snuff film" thing is really distasteful, and I'm thinking this platform idea sounds more appropriate for reluctant readers, giving them rewards for reading chapters...

For me, the reward for reading a chapter in a good book is getting to the next chapter, to find out what happens.

Perhaps if I'm reading the book on my laptop and can click over and view the "cinematic bridge" I wouldn't be too annoyed, but I would HATE to have my view of the world ruined by someone else's choices (the director, art director, casting director, etc...)

Maybe you'd have to have it show a different sub-world of your story - like if it's a novel about a cartoonist whose animations are somehow really important to the plot, you would have a fun reason to go to the computer to view the animations - and it wouldn't destroy your own world view of the book.

It's fascinating to see where books will go with technology and Kindle and all - but as a writer, I'm not freaking out about it, because ultimately, it's all about "tell me a good story." And that's what good writers do, no matter the delivery system.

K.S. Clay said...

Why does someone who doesn't like to read novels even want to be part of writing one? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. If you don't like reading or writing but do like producing television/movies then stick with the producing and leave the writing to those who actually do enjoy it. As for the idea itself, it sounds annoying to me. Put the entire finished thing on a CD or DVD-ROM and maybe you can sell it, but make readers have to go to their computers every five chapters to watch a video? That shows a complete lack of understanding of readers who will often engage in reading in circumstances were a computer is not handy (on a bus, waiting for an appointment, etc).

BOLIVIABLOGSOPEN said...

Ok.,very good

BOLIVIABLOGSOPEN said...

Ok., very good.

AnarchyJack said...

It's a good idea. I think the shared space between book and computer becomes quite natural to us by the time we've finished a year or two of college.

But I think that one of the advantages of books is that it places the story into the imagination of the reader. I remember the first Tolkien-based film I ever saw was The Hobbit. The animated goblins, wargs and, of course Gollum, didn't match the images I had created in my own mind from reading the book; Further - as good as the movies were - Peter Jackson played fast and loose with Tolkien's description of the Uruk-Hai and their level of involvement in the books, as well. I'm not saying I wouldn't read it, but the interactive thing only works if it extends or improves our understanding of the characters, the story, or both.

Criss said...

Eric - I hate to break it to you, but your "groundbreaking concept of theatrical movies interspersed with chapter reading breaks" has already been done, by Mr. George Lucas, with this little "Star Wars" collection of flicks

There is a slew of books that fill in the gaps between the movies; not necessary reading, to follow the story, but they do add to it.

I don't see this as a way to bring the bookreader to the Internet, it's a way to bring the non-reader (today's youth) to books. This is not going to replace traditional paper books in any way. shape, or form; this is simply a new medium for storytelling.

I agree with anarchyjack: "I think the shared space between book and computer becomes quite natural to us by the time we've finished a year or two of college." For most of today's youth, they don't have to "walk away" from anything to veiw the clip - and there is no "booting up the computer." The vide clips come to them right on their iPhone/iPod/fancy cell phone of choice. When you reach the end of the five chapters, you grab your phone and watch the clip - right there on the train, grocery store, bathroom, etc. There is an audiene out there for this, it will be interesting to see how it fares.

(I don't watch CSI so I have no opinion on the guy or the subject matter, but I think the concept is intriguing.)

The Writer said...

Hi,

Great blog and very informative! I'm going to keep an eye on it. As to your querry about the interactive book, I think its an insult to readers. There's an entire element to reading in which the reader visualizes the characters and story. What a disappointment to read five chapters and then have your favorite character's images, that you and the writer have created together, erased by a montage vingette with background music. There are much better uses for the technology with creative writing.

Anyway, keep up the great work!

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

ElyN said...

Hi Nathan,

This is a great blog! I work in the publishing industry myself and am also a writer.

I truly enjoyed reading your entries.

Take Care,
Ely

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