A Framework for Authoring Interactive, Tablet-based Books: Multimedia Textbooks and Multiplatform Storytelling

By Jennifer A. George-Palilonis and Brad King.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The tablet computing environment offers authors a rich interactive palette for telling stories that combines the best of the written word, visual design, cinematic storytelling, and game mechanics. This emergent storytelling form has taken root in places such as The Atavist, a digital storytelling company that focuses on long-form, cinematic stories rooted in journalism. While the opportunities for authors are great, this new paradigm for publishing presents significant problems, as the technological acumen to produce such a book likely falls outside the skill set of any single author. Instead, small teams will need to work together to produce a single narrative. For instance: when developing a narrative, teams will need to determine the media best suited for particular elements of a story (e.g. video versus text) and weave those seamlessly into the narrative and the production cycle. The authors have explored this phenomenon through the creation of a tablet-based interactive textbook written to teach students the basics of transmedia storytelling. In this paper, the authors explore the intersection of the written word, visual design, cinematic storytelling, educational multimedia, and game mechanics, describe the inherent problems associated with multiplatform and multi-authored pieces, and offer a framework for authoring an interactive tablet-based book.

Keywords: Transmedia, Tablet, Multimedia, Digital Textbooks, Storytelling, Interactive Book

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.19-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.389MB).

Jennifer A. George-Palilonis

Journalism Graphics Sequence Coordinator, Assistant Professor, Journalism, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA

Jennifer A. George-Palilonis teaches courses in graphics reporting, multimedia storytelling, and media convergence. She began her career as a news designer for the Detroit Free Press in 1996 and went on to be the deputy news design director at the Chicago Sun Times in 1999. She has been teaching since 2001, and has spoken at more than 30 conferences and seminars. Her research interests include visual rhetoric, multimedia storytelling, media convergence, and digital publishing. She has a Masters degree from Ball State in composition and rhetoric, and a Bachelor in journalism. She is also the author of two books: A Practical Guide to Graphics Reporting (Focal Press 2006); and Design Interactive, an electronic textbook on basic design principles.

Brad King

Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA


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