September 2, 2009

“˜Digi-Novel’ Will Include Book, Video, Web

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" series creator Anthony Zuiker is releasing a new "digi-novel" that will be a combination of three different types of media "“ a book, a Web site and a movie.

Zuiker's "Level 26" crime novel invites readers to log on to a Web site about every 20 pages using a special code to watch a "cyber-bridge" -- a three-minute video tied to the story.

"Just doing one thing great is not going to sustain business," Zuiker told Reuters.

"The future of business in terms of entertainment will have to be the convergence of different mediums. So we did that -- publishing, movies and a website."

The new digi-novel, which brings a new twist to traditional book publishing, will be available next Tuesday, when readers can purchase the book, view the online "cyber-bridges," and read, discuss and contribute to the story.

Although Zuiker said he did not believe his creation would ever replace traditional publishing, he acknowledged the publishing sector could use a boost.

"They need content creators like myself to come in the industry and say, 'Hey, let's try things this way,'" he said.

Zuiker assembled a 60-page outline for the novel, which was written by Duane Swierczynski, and authored and directed the "cyber-bridges."  However, the book can be read without watching the "cyber-bridges," Zuiker said.

U.S. consumers are smitten with technology, which has grown to become such a ubiquitous part of people's lives that more entertainment choices are needed. 
Indeed, people are increasingly reading books on electronic readers like Amazon.com's Kindle and Sony Corp's Reader, he said.

However, since those devices don't play videos, "Level 26" readers still need to access the Web on a different device.

Apple Inc. is rumored to be developing a touchscreen tablet, which some believe could be a multimedia device capable of playing videos.

Zuiker said it is important to offer people more options for entertainment and books as attention spans grow increasingly short.

"Every TV show in the next five, 10 years will have a comprehensive microsite or website that continue the experience beyond the one-hour television to keep engaging viewers 24/7," he said.

"Just watching television for one specific hour a week ... that's not going to be a sustainable model going forward."

"I wanted to bring all the best in publishing, in a motion picture, in a website and converge all three into one experience."

"And when the book finished and the bridges finished, I wanted the experience to continue online and in a social community."

Zuiker said the idea for the "digi-novel" first came to him during a three-month TV writers strike in 2007/08.


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