Storytelling Meets Coding in this Ebook App
Richard Mason is yet another publishing type whose creativity was inspired in new directions by the advent of the iPad. When he first saw what the iPad could do for ebooks, he was inspired to create an electronic version of his own novel, History of a Pleasure Seeker. Determined to control the process himself in order to obtain the visually pleasing result he envisioned, Mason began what he calls a “two year adventure into the world of coders.”
I had the chance to meet with Richard Mason while in San Francisco last month and to take a personally guided tour through the beautiful App that is the result of this journey, available for sale as of yesterday as what Mason calls his “eLuminated” manuscript, or “eLume.” Sitting in a charming French café on the corner of Grant and Bush, we paged through the eLume as he proudly showed me the “sensuous page curl,” the pull-down navigational ribbon, the line drawings that turn into historic photos at a touch, and the author interview videos in the back. The author’s enthusiasm for and pride in his creation was evident.
The collaborative effort that went into creating this product represents to Mason something that has been made possible by what he calls an exciting moment in time with a “confluence of art and technology.”
Mason’s desire to give books an “aesthetic individualism” led to the development of this application, which has in turn morphed in Orson & Co., the entity he has created to put the work of other authors into this format as well in his now-proprietary software. It has shaped Mason into author/entrepreneur, orchestrating the work of writers, software developers, even actors (Dan Stevens of “Downton Abbey” does the audio for the app). Mason used his own money in the early stages of the project, and took “one small round” of investment; he is currently seeking additional partners.
The print version of History of a Pleasure Seeker was published by Knopf in February of this year, and the paperback has just this week come out from Vintage.