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From ‘Inanimate Alice’ to ‘The Fantastic Flying Books’: How Transmedia and Digital Books Are Transforming School Libraries

What is a book, anyway? If players of the brooding computer game Dear Esther can consume a full-blown ghost story simply by wandering at will through a deserted island in Scotland’s Hebrides (finding fragments of letters, music, and clues as they walk), shouldn’t that be called a book? Critics can’t seem to agree on a name for this new genre reflected in Inanimate Alice: multimedia online novels, ebooks, touchable TV, paratext, or technotext have all been used. Someone has even suggested “Franken-novel.” Most often, though, “transmedia” has stuck. Kevin Kelly, the co-founder of Wired magazine, has called them “books we watch or television we read.”Fleming doesn’t much care what new terms people come up with for whatever Alice is. “It’s a book,” she said. Her students read it. They like it. The lines between different media “are so blurred for them” that there’s nothing to discuss. Alice’s world, she said, “is the world the kids are growing up in.”

Source: From ‘Inanimate Alice’ to ‘The Fantastic Flying Books’: How Transmedia and Digital Books Are Transforming School Libraries – The Atlantic