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Multimedia apps are providing new and enriched content to preexisting books by providing text, video, slideshows and audio. With books such as Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth, this is a terrific experience.
The multimedia app for The Pillars of the Earth (created by Penguin) allows consumers to read, watch and listen to the novel (the video is provided by the Starz adaptation). Consumers can also read character biographies as they read through this immense story by choosing the character tree. They can also take a look behind the scenes to check out things such as costume design. The multimedia app establishes The Pillars of the Earth as more than a novel. It establishes it as a brand. It’s also awesome to see your favorite characters come to life.
Providing an innovative multimedia reading, viewing and listening experience is what the Kindle and the Nook aspire to do. Consumers want more bang for their buck, and The Pillars of the Earth is a prime example of how they can in the tablet market.
Ferrell McDonald, senior v-p,marketing for Starz, said, “this application will be a model for such cross-media partnerships and is a terrific showcase for the more than 3 million iPad users in the marketplace1.”
What might not be an “as apparent” move is the metafiction weather app created to promote literary saga and new HBO series Game of Thrones. This app tells consumers bits of pieces of the story according to whether changes on an iPad. Okay…let me explain. When consumers open the Game of Thrones: Ice and Fire app, they are prompted to choose a location. Based on that location’s current weather, the app will open a set of story clips from the show as a kind of metafiction.
It’s a bit surreal to think that as consumers are walking down Manhattan, their iPads will tell them they’re walking down a certain area in Westeros (the Game of Thrones weather-driven world). Though it’s not directly a reading experience, this app shows how multimedia apps are becoming more complimentary and much more interactive.
Game of Thrones also has a companion app like The Pillars of the Earth although this one serves more as a compendium. The app collects character bios, family trees and maps that is (unbelievably) spoiler-free. The app settings allow readers to designate how far they are into the books, so that the app can adjust itself accordingly, revealing more and more information as readers enjoy the saga. If you’ve ever checked out the Fire and Ice Saga (of which Game of Thrones is the first installment) you know how dense the series is. There are too many characters, places and events to keep track of. This app makes it a bit easier.
All the above mentioned apps are great examples of how transmedia can enhance a reading experience. It also shows how publishing companies could better monetize the app market by selling these companions in the app market. Publishers such as Penguin are tapping into these new technological capabilities and creating an unparalleled reading experience that consumers won’t find in eReaders. That is why it is so important for Amazon and Barnes & Noble to get a move on because publishers show obvious signs that they’re investing in tablet technology. To stay away from tablets is to lose money.
I’m going to enjoy some tablet awesomeness, now. See you there.