What Might True “Literary Interactivity” Look Like?
A publishing CEO urged his industry peers to bring literary authors and software developers together to create something better than ebooks, which he said were "a boring format that just comes straight out of normal books."
Writers and publishers of literary fiction are looking to venture into interactive book territory currently occupied by genre authors. HarperCollins digital development head Scott Pack says that ebooks are ready to evolve: “Content doesn’t need to be just words any more. We have to push to make it integral, and we can do this if writers really embrace it….It will come down to the writing, of course.” Last week, another publisher, Faber, released an interactive version of John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps for iPads, Macs, and PCs. Faber CEO Stephen Page declared at last year’s FutureBook conference that ebooks “are a boring format that just comes straight out of normal books.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Writer Iain Pears, who is working on an original interactive book for Faber, says that he is “trying to find a new way of telling stories…This is about changing the fundamentals. The worst that can happen is that it won’t work.” Another writer, Blake Morrison, who recently helped launch a £10,000 prize for new writing at the University of London’s Goldsmiths College, says that reading is interactive regardless of the medium but “literary interactivity [should mean] more than computer games.” He also says he and others aren’t giving up on the printed book: “Most authors are interested in both technologies. Most readers are too. We all want the best of both worlds. And why not?”