I returned to University to study (another) Masters mid year. Although I find some of the referencing requirements laborious and confusing and some of the academic-speak a bit wanky, it’s actually aligning with my interests. In a publishing subject for example, we discussed changing technology and its impact on the industry. It seems that good old print books are hanging in there, despite the increase in ebooks but that audiobooks are an area of growth. This, I understand is possibly piggy backing on the popularity of podcasts*.
I still recall a few years ago hearing someone talk about an audio / ebook hybrid that allowed readers to listen and/or read, and pick up where they left off. I read quickly so am not a huge fan of audiobooks but like the idea of being able to do both.
And in a recent subject (which I ended up dropping, though not cos I didn’t enjoy it) we read this piece from the New York Times, Snow Fall, which features some interactive features and I started pondering the direction we may be heading in terms of publishing, writing and reading.
So I was kinda intrigued by this media release I received last week. I don’t fully understand how it works but I love the idea that you can read, listen and watch something. And of course I’m a fan of David Tennant, who’s narrating this, so like this sample… (only 1 min 45)
From the media release (because I’m too lazy to summarise):
Using the Alexander mobile app, every original feature is presented in multiple storytelling dimensions—a commissioned written story, an audio performance and a super short film. The crafted film introduces the setting, teases the subject and sets the mood. Audiences then transition into the full story and can read, listen or move seamlessly via The Toggle, a proprietary text-to-audio functionality, between the written word and the audio performance.
Conceived and created by veteran film producer Cameron Lamb, Alexander harnesses the talents of an all-star cast of award-winning authors, A-list actors and celebrated filmmakers.
Commissioned writers include National Book Award winner Colum McCann, National Book Critics Circle Award winner Xiaolu Guo and finalist Valeria Luiselli, two-time Booker Prize-nominated Chigozie Obioma, theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli.
Audio performances include Helena Bonham Carter, Richard E. Grant, Bill Nighy, Vanesa Kirby, David Tennant, Dan Stevens, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Ṣope Dìrísù and Nathalie Emmanuel.
Super short films come from directors including Charlotte Wales and Derek Zheng, and star the likes of Emma Corrin.
It’s a paid subscription service and that’s fine cos we can’t expect something for nothing and we should be willing to pay creatives for their work.
More details can be found here, but I find it fascinating. People. Are. So. Clever. And I love that it gives creative people the opportunities to share their stories, words and pictures in many different ways.
In the 1970s we had records that allowed us to read along, turning the page when Tinkerbell rang her bell. Electronic books were a huge leap for many and when I consider how interactive technology is nowadays I can only imagine where things might head.
Do you like the idea of mixed media? Being able to read, watch and/or listen? Where do you imagine books, reading and the publishing industry might be heading?
## This is not a sponsored post. I’m just intrigued. ##
* I’m not including an references because this is NOT an academic paper so I can just say what I want. (Well, kinda!)