Archive for the ‘The Great eBook Debate’ Category


Paper Traces

Recently my boyfriend and I broke up. When the recriminations and the laments were done, my parting request was that he return my copy of Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem. He’d borrowed it months earlier, promising to return it swiftly but instead inching through each essay with painful protraction. In the weeks that we’d been falling apart, I had hinted how much I wanted it back, but he kept insisting that he only had one chapter to go; ‘Goodbye to All That’, the final, my favourite, and as lonely as I felt I couldn’t refuse him that. But when he left I demanded the book like a madwoman, as if him keeping it any longer was an intimacy I couldn’t bear.

That morning I sat on my front stoop under grey skies, sobbing and chain-smoking and reading ‘Goodbye to All That’ over and over. In the throws of that narcissistic grief which wells in a broken heart, Didion’s wistful account of losing it in her late 20s was the only thing that seemed to make sense. But as much as I was seeking comfort in that familiar narrative — what Didion calls “the stories we tell ourselves in order to live” — I also needed the battered book that contained it; its creased pages, its peeling cover, its manically underlined sentences. It felt just as important to retrieve the object itself, as much as the beloved words inside, as some sentimental icon of what I would no longer allow that … continue reading


The Lost Art

I am a reader.  I don’t mind how or where I read a book as long as I can lose myself in a story. Reading allows me to escape to another time and place; makes me gasp, cry or laugh; makes me think about how I would act in a similar situation; or takes me on a journey that otherwise I would never have experienced.  Books in all their methods of delivery inform and excite, propel us to action, take us to places we might not otherwise reach and give us insights into other cultures and ways of living.

I come from a family of readers and I’ve always treasured books. My grandfather was a printer and the first thing he’d do when he picked up a book was look at the imprint page and see where it had been printed. Old habits die hard and this quirk of behaviour was passed down to my father and now to me! A lively discussion would often ensue about the printer and whether he, my grandfather, thought they had done a good job or not – usually he thought not!

Books punctuate our lives and shape our view of the world and the books I read when I was young were anchored in the area I grew up in (north of the Lake District in the North of England). I’d spend afternoons looking for Mrs Tiggywinkle and Lucie at Little-Farm and go on adventures inspired by Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons.  … continue reading


The shape of books to come

My name is Nick and I’m a gamer. I enjoy playing games, and I enjoy making them. I’ve spent the last 15 years working as a video game developer and now myself, and two of my long-time collaborators, have started a new venture taking our lessons from games development and applying them to digital books. If you’re not a gamer and have no interest in gaming culture, then you might be interested to know that digital games have come a long way since they crawled out of the arcades and started ruining the fabric of society. If you can look beyond the killing fields of current generation violent blockbusters, there are plenty of games out there which speak to a thinking and reflective audience. I believe that games have a lot to offer when it comes to methods of narrative delivery. When game developers seamlessly pair elegant storytelling with compelling game-play, then the medium transcends itself and becomes greater than the sum of its parts. We think that some of the ideas from modern video games can be used to create a new kind of digital book.

I’d like to share with you three games which have helped to shape the ways we are thinking about a new form of digital book.

Journey (2012)

Challenging our preconceptions of what defines a game, Journey is an experience which speaks directly to our vision for new forms of story telling. Journey asks very little of the player, your only requirement is to … continue reading