Taking books into the digital universe

Every so often a piece of digital content comes along that stands out as being truly innovative and original.

The augmented reality concept launched alongside ‘The Calling’, the first book in the Endgame series by James Frey, takes reader interaction to a new level. Endgame: The Ancient Truth is a website run by a character, Stella. It has been designed initially to be a prequel to the novel, which invited readers to compete for a £300,000 prize by solving hidden puzzles within its pages.

The site is intended to evolve with and intersect with the story, and aims to engage with readers across a whole range of digital platforms. People from all around the world will be able to completely immerse themselves in an online community, engaging with other users, solving problems, live chatting with characters, watching video blogs or simply using it as a resource to better understand the background behind the story. The actress playing Stella will also be appearing at live events.

Until relatively recently, publishing a book was a one-way exchange. Now, engaging readers, reviewers, bloggers and v-loggers in conversation online is a vitally important part of generating interest and hype around a book. With Endgame: The Ancient Truth, a huge amount of work has gone into creating a multilayered, constantly evolving site for people to explore. It’s an excellent way of adding another dimension to the reading experience and of keeping fans immersed in the fictional world long after they turn the last page.

I came across a reference to the game on Twitter, spent some time exploring and felt instantly intrigued and inspired to find out more about the book. Interactive digital content has been done before – from the Pottermore universe to the QR code inside  Peter James’ ‘Dead Man’s Time’ that allows readers to visit scenes from the novel – but the world that has been created around Endgame stands out for the scale and scope of it’s ambition.

Although this approach might not be suitable for all books, it demonstrates how authors, book marketers and publishers are constantly thinking outside of the box to bring books into the digital world.

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