If you will allow me to make a general statement, I will say that we all know paper as a means of communication has seen its golden years. The frail letters presented on Antiques Roadshow found in someone’s great-great-great-great-grand-uncle’s attic which reveal secrets of the Civil War are truly a thing of the past. In the future, appraisers will be searching thumb drives for ancient family e-mails.
This conundrum extends to novels. However, the issue of the waning paper books has presented an opportunity for innovation, and novelist Marisha Pessl is taking a chance on using digital media to enhance her latest work. Pessl explains in a recent interview on NPR’s All Things Considered:
“There are screen shots of hidden websites, there are blog postings and anonymous user comments, and sprinkled throughout these illustrations there is a secret, very discreet bird symbol, and if you download the app and scan the illustration that has this bird symbol, you will get extra content on your tablet or phone.”
So what happens when the app is no longer updated and when online content is forgotten? Pessl and her publishers have that covered.
Instead of going purely digital for her new release, Pessl has preserved the paper novel and only used new media to expand readers’ experiences. Bottom line—you don’t have to access additional media in order to enjoy the original written work.
“Ideally you will read the book, and if you want to continue the experience, that’s when you find out about the app, and you can get additional content in that way. But it is certainly not something that you need to do while you’re reading, because I love the immersive reading experience, and I did not want to interrupt that in any way with technology.”
This makes a paper book-loving person like me very happy.
Do you miss paper books?