Monday, October 25, 2010

Blurring the Line Between Apps and Books

By Noam Cohen

Published New York Times: October 24, 2010

STEPHEN ELLIOTT, a 38-year-old from San Francisco, just introduced his first piece of software for sale: an app for the iPad and iPhone called “The Adderall Diaries.”

Photo of Stephen Elliott by Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Readers of an app version of Stephen Elliott’s memoir can comment and see his responses.
He’s not exactly a programmer — better to call him a writer. And the app that he conceived looks a lot like an electronic book. That is, most people who buy the app will do so to read the text of “The Adderall Diaries,” his “memoir of moods, masochism and murder” based on his childhood in Chicago group homes, which was published in hardcover last year by Graywolf Press.

But Mr. Elliott says he has good reasons for producing his own iPad app, separate and apart from the e-book version of “Adderall Diaries” that is for sale, say, for the Kindle or the iPad reader from Apple. But those reasons are not the artistic, meta-fictional ones you might suspect — you know, so that when characters enter a bar, you suddenly hear music and a glass dropped by the waiter, or more fancifully, you can make them turn around and go somewhere else.

Rather than exploit the multimedia potential of an app book, Mr. Elliott said he wanted to include tools that cater to a special group: Stephen Elliott readers.
“As an author, I want you to have the best experience,” he said. “People want to talk about the books they are reading with other people. Why, with everything we know, wouldn’t you include a chat room with your e-book?”
The full story at NYT.

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