Land Rover Turns Enhanced Ebook Publisher

Perhaps the future on enhanced ebooks doesn’t hinge on cheaper-to-produce, universally supported interactive capabilities or on a more seamless multimedia reading experience. It could be that the what the format really needs in order to take off is corporate sponsorship.

After all, one publisher recently announced a multimedia ebook partly underwritten by Sweet’N Low, in exchange for product placement within the narrative.

With the help of the advertising agency Y&R, Land Rover publishes an enhanced ebook called The Vanishing Game by British author William Boyd.

The title includes interactive multimedia content and is meant to be shared by readers on social media. It is available for free on a number of e-reading platforms, including a browser-based version published on Tumblr.

[Press Release]

LAND ROVER PUBLISHES A DIGITAL ADVENTURE STORY, PENNED BY ACCLAIMED BRITISH NOVELIST WILLIAM BOYD

 The Vanishing Game, a U.K.-based adventure thriller written by best-selling author, is released by the British luxury SUV brand as an interactive literary experience
 Full-length, original online story follows protagonist Alec Dunbar on a mysterious driving adventure across the U.K.
 The Vanishing Game is brought to life online through an innovative multi-sensory experience comprised of video, photography, animation, sound, music, and narration
 Project’s interactive platform also spotlights personal driving adventures from actual Land Rover owners
 Book’s release on Tumblr underscores rich storytelling experience and encourages readers to share content

(MAHWAH, N.J.) – November 12, 2014 – Today Land Rover North America released The Vanishing Game, a new interactive, digital book written by internationally acclaimed British author William Boyd. This full-length, original online adventure thriller from the best-selling novelist follows protagonist Alec Dunbar on a suspenseful driving adventure from London to a remote part of Scotland. Starting today, consumers can experience the story, which is brought to life through an interactive platform that invites readers to go beyond its words and fully experience the adventure in an innovative multi-media manner, on a custom Tumblr page at www.thevanishinggame.com. The Vanishing Game begins as a seemingly innocuous transporting job in a weather-battered Land Rover Defender and quickly unfolds into a dangerous plot with a shadowy cast of characters. In a storytelling twist, readers will be drawn into Boyd’s compelling narrative through more than just words. His online thriller is brought to life in a multi-sensory experience through mixed media content, including dynamic video, cinemagraphs, photography, animation, sound, music, and narration in a captivating British voice. Throughout the story, viewers can engage with key words that are embedded with imagery and video. For example, when a user selects the keyword “river,” they see video footage of a Land Rover crossing a remote waterway in the Scottish Highlands.

Also embedded into The Vanishing Game’s interactive experience are snippets of driving journeys from actual Land Rover owners, curated by the brand through the designated hashtag #WellStoried. When readers scroll over certain words and passages, the story will pause as these owners’ personal driving adventures are displayed on-screen.
“One of the collateral pleasures of writing The Vanishing Game was that it made me realize how prominently Land Rover has featured in my life—in Africa and Britain—to an almost mythic degree,” said William Boyd. “I remember as a boy being driven in a Land Rover through tropical rain forest to the Volta River in Ghana to fish for freshwater barracuda. And, as an even younger boy, climbing into my Uncle Ronnie’s Land Rover, the Scottish day dawning, as we went out to feed the sheep on his farm. A Land Rover is part of the mental geography of almost every British person, I believe. Consequently, to be asked to write a story in which a Land Rover features was immensely appealing, almost an act of homage. What I tried to achieve was to make the Land Rover an inherent presence in the story, something always there—implicit, strong, solid, reliable, ready to function—very like the part it plays in my memory. Welcome to an icon of motor vehicle history.”

The Vanishing Game is fully interactive, allowing readers to turn its various multi-media functions on and off throughout the experience. Readers can engage with the story on Tumblr through desktop, mobile and tablet devices, and will be encouraged to share its content across multiple social platforms. On November 12, a separate eBook edition of The Vanishing Game will also be available for free from Apple’s iBooks Store on iPad and Mac. It will also be available for free from Amazon’s Kindle Store on Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, and the free Kindle app for Android, iOS, PC, Mac, and web browsers.

“The Vanishing Game project captures how driving and adventures are a rich part of the Land Rover DNA,” said Kim McCullough, Vice President of Marketing, Jaguar Land Rover North America. “We are constantly exploring new ways to bring our owners’ passion for their vehicles to life, this time in a commissioned literary project penned by a remarkably talented British author and offered to the world through the latest interactive digital spaces. This project’s platform also allows our owners to complement Boyd’s storytelling with their own adventure-oriented stories. We hope fans of literary adventure thrillers enjoy the story, and perhaps see themselves driving across the Scottish countryside in one of our iconic vehicles.”

Prior to The Vanishing Game, best-selling novelist and screenwriter William Boyd wrote Solo, a James Bond continuation novel released in 2013. Boyd will participate in an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit on November 23 at 11 a.m., EST as he promotes The Vanishing Game and answers community questions on a variety of topics.

Land Rover is promoting The Vanishing Game through a multi-media, marketing campaign, including integrations that further enhance reader engagement and interactivity. Land Rover will expand the story narrative with custom content and paid posts inspired by Alec Dunbar and his journeys on various media, including Vox Media, Quartz, NYTimes.com, NewsCred and the online versions of Departures and Travel + Leisure. Spotify, the digital music sharing service, will create a custom playlist modeled off the music from Alec’s journey and the exploration and adventure evoked by Land Rover vehicles. The Vanishing Game will also be promoted with custom and interactive ad experiences using distribution partners like TripleLift and Undertone, and with heavy social amplification on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.

The Vanishing Game project was developed for Land Rover by Y&R New York and its Tumblr site was produced by Tool of North America. Mindshare is managing media strategy, planning and partnerships.

About Land Rover
Land Rover, the British maker of Land Rover and Range Rover sport utility vehicles, is renowned for providing its clientele with some of the most luxurious and capable vehicles in the world. Every Land Rover vehicle is equally at home both on and off road, and in any setting; be it in the heart of the city, or traversing the countryside. Today’s Land Rover lineup includes the legendary Defender, LR2 (Freelander 2), LR4 (Discovery 4), Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Range Rover Evoque. Land Rover designs, engineers, and manufactures their vehicles in the United Kingdom. Land Rover is fully engaged with sustainability initiatives and social concerns with continuous involvement in environmental and community programs. For more information visit the official Land Rover website at http://www.landroverusa.com.

About Jaguar Land Rover
• The United States is one of the leading global markets for both Jaguar and Land Rover
• Jaguar Land Rover employs 25,000 people and sells vehicles in 170 countries around the world
• Jaguar Land Rover has two state of the art engineering and design facilities and three advanced manufacturing plants in the UK
• Headquartered in Mahwah, New Jersey in the United States, Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC has offices across the USA
• Jaguar Land Rover is represented by more than 330 independently operated retail outlets in the USA

2 thoughts on “Land Rover Turns Enhanced Ebook Publisher

  1. Michael W. Perry

    I’ll tweak what you’re saying to suggest that the public is so little interested in paying extra for enhanced ebook publishing that it’s likely to become a niche market, only viable when the costs are underwritten for advertising or propaganda purposes, as with The Vanishing Game. And both are likely to taint the image of enhanced ebooks much like television loaded with commercials.

    Even then, I suspect these enhanced ebooks will need to be free or sold well below cost.

    This multi-media silliness is a bit like that for a multi-media vehicle, meaning a car-boat or a car-plane. The result is so compromised, almost no one likes it.

    It’s far more useful to improve cars as cars, boats as boats, and planes as planes than to create an unworkable hybrid. In much the same fashion, ebooks as ebooks need improving. Standards like epub need features that improve the reading experience not ones that mix, willy nilly, reading with video and sound in ways that just irritate or distract readers and drive up production costs.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books

    Reply
  2. DMcCunney

    I’ve been rather cynical about \enhanced\ eBooks since their inception. The problem is that the motive for producing them on the part of publishers has been \We can *charge* more and make more money!\

    But whether you *can* successfully charge more will depend upon the book. An enhanced eBook needs to be thought of and treated as a multi-media production from the beginning, and the first question to ask is \Does this content *need* multi-media treatment?\ The vast majority does not, and attempts to produce enhanced versions will amount to adding unnecessary bells and whistles. At best, it’s likely to be a novelty, that a reader might read *once*. It will *not* be something that will fly off the shelves with customers cheerfully paying a higher price, because it won’t provide what the customer will see as additional value.

    Land Rover’s notion is interesting less for the corporate sponsorship than for the attempt to create content that *can* use multi-media production. An attempt to create an immersive product that tries to convey the experience of owning and driving a Land Rover is the sort of thing that might actually benefit from being an enhanced eBook.

    Cost of production is a major factor, but content that justifies those costs is a far greater one.
    _____
    Dennis

    Reply

COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*