Saturday, June 20, 2015

Interactive Books

Back in April, I posted about fanfiction and how it's changing the publishing world. Today, I wanted to talk about another way in which the publishing world is changing: interactive books.

When I was getting my MLIS, I took a children's literature course where we talked about interactive books for kids, such as The 39 Clues series, which has an online component. It was fascinating to see how publishers and authors are using online platforms to reach their readers and continue the worlds they've created in their stories.

Recently, I found out that author Heather Demetrios is continuing the world she created in Something Real with an online novel, The Lexie Project, which she's writing on Wattpad. I was intrigued by this, because it's not the first time someone has published something on Wattpad that has then been published as a book. Anna Todd, who wrote One Direction fanfiction on Wattpad, had her stories published as the After series. Demetrios plans on posting new chapters once a week on Wattpad. She is also going to use social media to connect Lexie with readers. Eventually, the chapters Demetrios posts on Wattpad will be published as a print book. You can find out more about it on the Teen Librarian Toolbox blog.

What's most intriguing to me is the idea that Demetrios is trying to meet her readers wherever they are. It doesn't matter if they're visiting a museum, at the movie theater waiting for the movie to start, riding the bus to school, or at home. They'll be able to access Lexie's story from any of those places. Of course, an author can do this just by publishing an eBook, but Demetrios has taken it a step further, by allowing readers to actually interact with Lexie's character through Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.

I love it that people who loved Something Real can read the sequel as it's being posted on Wattpad, and that they can interact with a fictional character on various social networking sites. It's an innovative way to reach out to readers, but it's also a way to reach people who might not like reading, but do enjoy spending time on social media. Demetrios certainly can reach more people with this project than she would have if she had chosen to write another book and have it traditionally published instead. I'm not sure that this type of project would work for everything. The Lexie Project is perfect for it because Lexie is a reality TV star. I would love to see more authors try things like this, though. And while it won't completely change the publishing industry, it might change parts of it, or just change the way authors can help their readers connect more deeply with their novels.

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