Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Birth of the Digital Novel (Digi-novel)

Publishing is going to get a whole lot more interesting. Anthony Zuiker's new book, Level 26: Dark Origins is an interesting concept which combines three types of media: book, movie, and website. Zuiker, creator of the "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation", is releasing what is to become a new genre of literature, the "digi-novel" -- which amalgamates the three media -- and in doing so, challenging the boundaries of traditional book publishing. Anthony Zuiker believes the "digi-novel" will launch a "revolution in publishing for the YouTube generation."

Level 26: Dark Origins, to be published by Dutton Sept. 8, is the first in a series in which each book will be supplemented with 20 videos, or "cyber-bridges," featuring actors playing characters from the novel. The series, written with Duane Swierczynski, features a rogue investigator who hunts serial killers. In referring to to 25 levels used by law enforcement to classify serial killers, the digi-novel introduces readers — and viewers — to level 26.

This is an experiment. Perhaps too early to call as a 'revolution' for writing and publishing. But it certainly does cast libraries in a different light. It moves beyond the physical borders of shelf-space, and into the realms of the digital web, and beyond. How do we catalogue products and media that have no specific guidelines, not even in the AACR2 and RDA? As an experiment to better engage readers, this 384-page innovative digi-novel will be more than just a book on the shelf, as readers (viewers?) can watch the story on film and log in to unlock deeper levels of the experience. The experience has begun.


Anonymous said...

So, do you need to see the videos to understand the book? Read the book to enjoy the videos? Check out the webiste to have clue what's going on? If so, it's way too complex. I think people wanting to be entertained want simple and having to do all three to enjoy a story is way too much.

nate mckay said...

I know a lot of TV shows do this type of thing- with webisodes that add supplementary information to the show's over-arching narrative (for example, The Wire webisodes gave backstory about characters that wasn't needed to understand the series). If the supplementary content is just bonus depth, then it seems fine to me. I remember hearing that in order to comprehend the movie "Southland Tales", you had to get a hold of a series of graphic novels that served as prequels to the film; the whole story apparently makes little sense for those who haven't read the books before watching the movie.

I like the idea of book and film being interconnected, and as long as the viewer/reader knows the score from the get-go, it could prove to be interesting (I understand that part of the problem with "Southland Tales" ended up being that people didn't know that they had to read the graphic novels beforehand, and then saw no reason to start once they finished watching a movie that made no sense).