Interactive books

An interesting take on the development of writing, publishing, and the nature of the novel is explored in this Guardian article – with the rise of the e-book, e-readers and amateur writers publishing their work online, there is a desire now of “serious British literary talent aiming to colonise territory occupied until now by fantasy authors and amateur fan-fiction writers.”

The interactive book – why not? Why can’t there be more than one ending to choose from? Why can’t we push the boundaries and utilise the technology available to us? Writers are creative, naturally, and trying something new can lead to something great. As said by historical novelist Iain Pears, “The worst that can happen is that it won’t work.”

The fact is, reading a book is already an interactive process. As I’ve said before, when you read a book, you read it in your own way. No one else will read it in the same way you do. As stated in this article: “Reading by its very nature is interactive – whether you do it on an iPad or with a printed book, you participate. The novelist creates a world and the reader brings something to it. Reading is not a passive process. Literary interactivity means more than computer games. Or should do.”

Mainly, though, thinking about an online book that features interactivity makes me think of fantasy books I used to read when I was younger – to fight the dragon, turn to page 51, or to explore the forest, turn to page 43. The simplest form of interactivity, and it worked. It will be interesting to further explore the next level.

 “Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.”

Stephen Fry



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