Tightrope has hooked up with the Strategic Innovation Lab at OCAD on a new project called the sBook. It combines the best of both worlds of print and ebooks, so there will be a printed book and a dedicated website with video, audio, and lots of conversation. Our book will be a collection of short stories on the theme of “art meets science,” and we’ll be sending out a call for submissions in the fall. We’re super excited to be the first trade book publisher to make the intrepid foray into this new genre! Look for this innovative project in the fall of 2011. Check out the article from Quill & Quire for more info:
E-books get smart
A Toronto-based author and academic has developed a prototype that combines the best of both the codex book (i.e., printed book) and the e-book. The new platform, called the sBook or SmartBook, is essentially a standard printed book that has been “smart tagged” so that readers are directed, through the book’s barcode, to a website containing a digital, searchable version of the book, as well as a forum for reader comments and author updates.
The project is the brainchild of retired University of Toronto professor Robert Logan and a group of researchers at the Strategic Innovation Lab at the Ontario College of Art and Design. In a summary paper about the project, Logan explains that the sBook is “readable, searchable, networkable, updatable, smart, and promotes ‘active reading.’” In other words, Logan believes the sBook will combine the readability of ink-on-paper books with the value-added features of e-books.
Many of the sBook’s features will be particularly useful for academic books, Logan claims. In fact, Logan will be testing the first sBook prototype with his bookUnderstanding New Media: Extending Marshall McLuhan, which is being published by Hampton Press later this summer. Logan is planning to use the digital version of the book to post regular updates. “The day that [the book] is distributed to bookstores it will be out of date,” Logan says. “So in some sense, this project grew out of my frustration with the slow pace of the printed book.”
While Logan did not initially foresee many applications for fiction, he is now in discussions with Toronto-based independent press Tightrope Books to produce an sBook version of a short-story collection to be published in fall 2011. According to Logan, the book’s digital copy will include multimedia such as audio and video clips.