Skip to content

Famous last words from publisher Jane Friedman?

PACKAGING IDEAS AS SMALL, portable objects is not a new industry. A roll of papyrus, folded flat and bound along a side, becomes a different (and easier to hide) object, but the idea contained in it is just as trivial or as subversive.

No doubt at some point in the fifteenth century, a scribe complaining about ink and moveable type leaned over toward his brother scribe and said, “If it ain’t parchment, it ain’t publishing.”  – Calamo.

By ALEXANDRA ALTER [Wall Street Journal] – The new novel “Chopsticks” tells the story of a troubled young piano prodigy—using family photos, letters, documents, instant messages and YouTube videos. It’s a love story, a mystery and a parable about creativity and madness.

It’s also an experiment, one that could have far-reaching implications for the book industry, as publishers stretch the definition of what constitutes a book. “Chopsticks” straddles the digital divide that is transforming the publishing world—it’s both a novel and a digital app…

In a move that could shape the market for enhanced e-books in dramatic ways, Apple announced Thursday that it will partner with publishers and educators to create interactive digital textbooks. As a sample title, Apple released a free version of “Life on Earth,” a multi-media biology book by E.O. Wilson, which includes interactive features such as animation of DNA, videos of ants and invasive trees, and quizzes.

Still, many in the book world remain skeptical that readers are willing to pay more for extra features, or that they even want digital bells and whistles interrupting their reading experience. Some say books must evolve to be more like apps or risk extinction. Others note that publishers have tried this before, and failed miserably. Remember the CD-ROM?

“The consumer is not asking for this,” said Jane Friedman, CEO of Open Road Media, an e-book publisher that is experimenting with enhanced titles. “It takes it from being a reading experience to something else, and we are publishers.”

Continued at The Wall Street Journal | More comment in Chronicle & Notices.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.