Books into the Mix

On June 18, 2005 by Christy

I think books are an under-utilised media in cross-media projects. It is understandable to some extent — they take a long time to produce and are really a one-person job, whereas most other forms of entertainment (besides painting) can be/are more collaborative. Another reason why they are not utilised in cross-media works is because they are a ‘fixed media’. Cross-media works usually have texts that are mutable, that can be altered according to inside or outside pressure. A fixed media is an element of the cross-media universe that cannot be changed, and so every new text introduced has to account for the static state of the fixed media. This is a big problem when the work is employing ‘alternate reality’ devices to make the events being expressed seem as if they are real and are happening right now. But some cross-media works do use fixed media, and I’ve put a selection of them on my polymorphic narrative site (a name that will change soon, because my theory has!).

But back to books specifically. Jeremy posted me this article thinking I would be interested and I am. The article tells the story of how Liz Dubelman, who has a film production background, started a company called VidLit in September 2004. VidLit is described as a music channel for books. What Dubelman does is create flash ads to advertise books, and emails them out to booklovers to pass amoungst each other (viral marketing). I like that this is happening for a few reasons: 1) the web is being utilised as a marketing platform for books; 2) books are being marketed by ad types that are usually utilised by any cool, rich or clever company. There really isn’t much marketing push put into selling books. And books are usually marketed via print, via text-oriented means (text ad in a paper, reviews etc). 3) another channel is being employed to point the reader/user/client to yet another channel. This acclimitises book readers to cross-media navigation and therefore opens up delivery avenues for creators. With readers feeling comfortable with toggling between media channels the stage is set for stories that are likewise delivered.