Book Creation: Beyond the Printed Page

Content throwing off covers was the subject of a previous post, and low and behold! Random House has set up a video game team.

“There is increasing emphasis on storytelling in the videogame business, on building new worlds from the ground up,” said Keith Clayton, Random House’s director of creative development, who is heading the unit with Mikita Labanok, director of business development.

Genre-busting and cross-media narrativeswe’ve seen it in other sectors of the entertainment industry with varying degrees of success. Offhand, I remember those webisodes of Battlestar Galactica I devoured during those long interseason hiatuses. Consumers are comfortable with cross-genre content, and it’s good to see book publishers taking risks to adapt to this new environment. And it’ll give academics interested in media studies something to write about!

What about when content from various sources is corralled into a single book or source?

BookRiff and Symtext do just that. BookRiff reimagines a book’s content as a sort of playlist, a process of assemblage. Users assemble content from various sourcesthe web, shared content from other users, and their own content, to name a few sourcesand BookRiff turns it all into a book. It goes beyond self-publishing to harness the depth of content available from the community. The possibilities for this are really interesting: city guides, conference packages, off the cuff literary anthologies?

Meanwhile, in the world of higher ed, Symtext is bringing the coursepack to the digital age. Symtext’s “liquid textbooks” are another example of the assemblage digitization is making possible. Course instructors can use Symtext to feed their students just the material relevant to the course (no paying for unused chapters) and combine that material with new media like podcasts, and Flickr feeds. Symtext also supports the publisher’s end, helping them get their content into classes easily.

Want to know more about these new forms of book creation? Mark Scott of BookRiff and Ian Barker of Symtext are going to be speaking on this at our 2010 Tech Forum. Have you registered yet?