DBW Weekly Roundup: 12/17/10

DBW Weekly RoundupDigital Book World presents a weekly round-up of some of the most interesting news, commentary and tweets related to publishing that you may have missed, from all over the digital book world:

The Novel is not under threat from technology
Mark Wernham, The Literary Platform

The Novel (capital T, capital N) is not under threat from this technology, people will always love to read, nothing beats it – we all know that. But there is a generation for whom the novel will be just a part of their expectation from their favourite author, or a new author. They will want to know more, to be friends on Facebook, to follow them on Twitter, and they will expect interesting, updating content on their mobile devices which lifts the novel and its creator off the page and into the full-colour, multi-media real world. It’s a medium which suits a new kind of writer; multi-taskers, collaborators, technology enthusiasts, the connected.

The way the publishing world is embracing this new platform is in stark contrast to how the music industry reacted to new technology changing its business model, and I think that where they failed and lost their way, publishing will adapt and strengthen and will play a defining role in this technology’s development. Just don’t ask me to deliver it in 3D.

Gaming the Book
Michael Fergusson, Social Game Design

As game designers, we’re in the business of socialization. It’s easy to imagine the act of recommending a book and having the idea stick and spread much more effectively in a socialized environment. This notion of socialization is also aligned with Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg’s most recent messages. He seems to be convinced that every industry is going to be rethought in a social way. Why should content creators care?  First and foremost, because interactivity and social play are powerful pedagogic tools. Consider how business schools teach through case studies. Consider how the military instructs soldiers through war games. In addition, having a social layer allows authors and rights holders to build a bi-drectional relationship with their readers. They can obtain important player/reader data, they can monetize the book through in-game advertisements, offers and virtual goods and get the message out to massive audiences.

Kids’ Books Make The Leap Off The Page And Online
Lynn Neary, NPR

As fun as the online missions may be, everything still revolves around the books. To make the books exciting, Scholastic drew on well known children’s authors like Rick Riordan who started the story before handing it off to other writers. Momi Garcia, who teaches at the Vista del Valle elementary school in Claremont Calif., first heard of the books when she saw some of her students reading them. “We didn’t know about the multi-platform part of it at the beginning,” Garcia explains.

“The Kids Get It, Even If You Don’t”: Transmedia Storytelling in the Classroom
Ian Harper, Publishing Perspectives

Transmedia, as Inanimate Alice demonstrates, suggests that the issues for teachers extend beyond technology and towards the medium, the content. It is high quality content, much of it interactive, that will provide the drivers for the technology. Technology without appropriate content creates a vacuum –- interactive white boards gathering dust in closets pay testament to the technology/content gap.

Don’t Write the Obit For Picture Books Yet
Karen Springen, Publishers Weekly

At Penguin Young Readers Group, picture book sales are up. Still, president Don Weisberg says he is publishing fewer titles overall. “It has no relationship to the economy whatsoever,” he said. “If the economy was booming, we would have done the same thing.” With a smaller list, he said, “I’m able to provide focus and energy and momentum.” In March, Penguin is launching an initiative called the Penguin Dozen, which will focus on a different picture book character each month. “We wouldn’t be doing that if we thought the marketplace was bad,” said Weisberg.

Tweet of the Week

Debbie Stier on Publishing in the trenches.

That’s just a taste of what you may have missed this week. To stay on top of the most interesting news, commentary and tweets related to publishing, keep in touch via our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, join your publishing colleagues in our LinkedIn group, and connect with the broader DBW Network.


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