Besides varying artwork and font selections as well as hardcover or soft cover choices, I would argue little has changed in the publishing world during the past century when it comes to books (at least presentation-wise). But now, Penguin, one of the biggest publishers in the world, has started, what we might call, a web 2.0 project that changes the way storytelling is done in the new age. “We Tell Stories” features six authors, composing 6 stories over 6 weeks. How they tell the story is what makes all the difference.
In week one, author Charles Cummings wrote The 21 Steps, a story that unfolded across a map of the world, using Google Maps. In week two, Toby Litt used blogs and twitter updates to tell the story titled “Slice”, where readers can even email the “characters”. Week three, featured Kevin Brooks’ “Fairy Tales”, that depended on user inputs to complete the story. Week four, saw Nicci Gerrard and Sean French writing the story “Your Place & Mine” live on the Internet for one hour every day, for four days. Week five featured “Hard Times” penned by Matt Mason (author) and Nicholas Felton (designer) is a graphic look at teens in the new media era.
This week, on April 22nd, Mohsin Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), should be doing something similarly interesting, so watch out for it.
It’s amazing how new media has had such a tangible impact on the real world, and is in fact shaping the new world. Traditional modes of media are searching for new and innovative ways to survive online in this interconnected universe. A project like this makes Amazon’s e-book device, Kindle, seem like an industry cop out.