Transmedia publishing – how do YOU want your stories?

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez wrote a great post about The iPad, Transmedia & The Future of Publishers which gave me the chance to make some comments about Transmedia and how it can only work if supported by a strong architecture of strategy.

Guy mentions the Producers Guild of America and how they’re now crediting ‘Transmedia Producers’ which is a huge badge of recognition for transmedia.

He also mentions his initial experiences with the iPad, “While iBooks, Kindle and Kobo (the three eBook apps I tested) are all solid readers with varying appeal, replicating the reading experience of a print book via static EPUB files (on a device that weighs twice as much an average book!) is like driving a Porsche to the corner store for a six-pack of Old Milwaukee. While test-driving eBooks on the iPad, I limited myself to free books, samples, and in the case of Kindle, ebooks my wife and I have already purchased for her Gen 1 device (which she loves, BTW, despite the limited inventory of books she actually wants to read), and I wasn’t terribly impressed by any of them.  I also downloaded a variety of other apps, all free, and NPR, Epicurious and Disney’s Toy Story each demonstrated the real potential for delivering a truly engaging, innovative reading experience that leverages the iPad’s strengths and comes close to aligning with Apple’s marketing of it as a “magical and revolutionary” device.”

Being UK-based I haven’t had the chance to get my hands on an iPad yet (and now MORE delays!), but I don’t see that it is so much about the iPad, the Kindle, Kobo, Stanza or e-readers, as ‘one-size-fits-all’ won’t work when looking at something as personal as a reading experience. It also isn’t so much about focussing on the device, as the platform – and how that platform can enhance and drive the story focus. There will always be relentless arguments about the future of publishing and dedicated ‘serious readers’ will always complain about new technologies or shifting sands. There will also be legions of readers who want bite-sized chunks of story, options to watch video content supported by text and perhaps even to tweet about it as a participant afterwards. They’re the ones that will love transmedia novels!

Readers habits and accessibility for consumers is something that I’ll be expanding on further at the London Book Fair 3rd Annual Digital Conference: Strategies for Transformation on Sunday 18th April.  I’ll be speaking on a panel chaired by Harper Collins’ David Roth-Ey entitled Readers of Today & Tomorrow.

Publishing and transmedia needs more people like Guy – Chief Executive Optimist, Digital Book World and like Guy, I prefer the definition of transmedia that focuses on storyworld first and feel that a truly credible transmedia project will herald storyworld as its primary focus. Without that focus, it shifts from a viable transmedia rollout to one of those ‘cross-media marketing initiatives and/or brand extensions’.

To quote a ‘modern day Aristotle’ of STORY, Robert McKee says, of story….

Mr McKee says here, “The medium they choose or the technology they use is their problem because in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter,” so from a storytelling perspective he’s spot on – storyworld FIRST – from a transmedia perspective however, the strategy, medium and finely-tuned implementation are EXTREMELY important in that ‘grand scheme of things.’…

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