Bookbuilders of Boston is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing together people involved in book publishing and manufacturing throughout New England. Our blog describes industry events that we sponsor or attend.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Opening Ceremonies, DBW 2011

Braving some cold temps, Bookbuilders of Boston was represented at Digital Book World's opening ceremonies in NYC tonight. The program included the conference's Publishing Innovation Awards, a 7x20x21 variety presentation, and Name that Audiobook (sponsored by Audible.Com). Some highlights:

The Innovation Awards was an inaugural event, with selections made in Fiction, Nonfiction, Children's, Reference, and Comics. One standout was the Children's winner, A Story Before Bed. More a concept than a particular title, A Story Before Bed works with publishers to make available select children's books with the ability for friends and family to read aloud to the recipient (both audio and video accompaniment). The company has given away over 75,000 stories to military parents spending time away from their children, a natural application of the technology that is also memorable.

The 7x20x21 presentation (7 speakers, 20 slides each, 21 seconds per slide) guaranteed diversity of thought, and speakers included authors, publishers, and readers. The first speaker was the most timely: Evan Ratliff from The Atavist, with iPhone and iPad apps launching Wednesday. This is a journalistic venture with a multi-platform app supporting long-form nonfiction at $2.99 per story.

The Atavist was striking to me in light of some recent personal reading--namely, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Carr develops the hypothesis that our ability to comprehend and retain information decreases as hyperlinks and supplemental related info are introduced in the main content stream. The Atavist app blows this concept up in some respects: though stories can be read "clean," the attraction of the experience is access to video, maps, music, etc. connected with the story, all linked at the contextually relevant moments (shown in markup at right). The idea of having access to more of the journalist's reference and fact-checking material is intriguing, though even Ratliff acknowledged the challenge in absorbing it all.

The evening ended with Name That Audiobook, a game-show themed contest featuring two very recognizable audiobook narrators. I don't know their names, but I'm certain they've ridden in my car many times! Attendees were also pretty jazzed to receive two free audiobook downloads from Audible.Com. Giveaways have become very scarce in recent years, so we appreciated this one.

No comments:

Post a Comment