Lithomobilus Ebook Platform Enables Multi-Threaded Narratives
Ebook platform Lithomobilus provides rich reading experiences through multi-threaded narratives (which can be read through one or more characters' perspectives) and embedded commentary. Here founder Lise Quintana describes the platform's recent app launch and why she thinks there's nothing quite like it on the market.
What is Litomobilus and how does it work?
I founded Narrative Technologies in order to develop the ereading platform Lithomobilus to tell stories with multiple points of view and multiple timelines. Zoetic Press was created to showcase the platform with its first out-of-copyright title, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Within this classic narrative, the reader has access to related add-on content: new original writing and previously published commentary.
What problem are you solving? How are you disruptive and innovative?
Here's what we're making possible: a) a platform for authors who create multi-threaded narratives, b) an app for readers who consume rich literary stories and want to delve deeper, and c) direct contact for publishers with readers when new content is available. Add-on content in a book or narrative -- much like DVD extras -- might include commentary, author notes, or other relevant annotations. The reader is offered the expanded content and does not buy the entire book again.
How did you come up with this idea?
As a writer, I found no existing platform that could display multiple narrative threads and allow the reader control over the story's direction. I went to a Genghis Khan exhibit in which you could follow the timeline from different characters' viewpoints. Six touchscreens throughout the exhibit showed icons for a farmer, a politician, a woman, a soldier, a bureaucrat, and a priest; and visitors could see how Genghis Khan's reforms affected different strata of society. This nonlinear experience resonated with me and how I write. I basically developed that non-linear style for my own needs and discovered a broader audience.
How do publishers benefit?
Publishers with great vision are exploring and experimenting with all forms of digital publishing and evaluating on a case-by-case situation. They are looking for innovation that goes beyond simply transforming a print book into faithful digital copy.
The Lithomobilus platform gives publishers the ability to include new or revised information to a book in real time. No need to wait for an updated or paper edition to be published. Readers are notified when new content is available as an in-app purchase. This gives publishers a means to transact directly with readers.
Using Lithomobilus to monetize the backlist is another asset. When branding the app, the publisher is able to focus on grouping books by author, series, or other category.
Who is your competition?
While Lithomobilus is interactive, it is meant to engage and not to distract the reader away from the text. Many options exist for multi-media enhanced books. We don't consider those companies as competitors.
Slicebooks is a company that allows readers to customize their own ebooks from specific titles and publishers, with the idea of monetizing chapters or sections from published books. One big difference is the navigational experience that Lithomobilus provides and the ability to do content within content. Also, we are focused on helping the publisher create a unique reading experience rather than the reader.
What's next for Lithomobilus?
Our first priority is to adapt the platform for iPhone; we know this is critical for the ebook market. Zoetic Press is now working with two small publishers to leverage our platform to offer new reading experiences not possible using current ebook solutions. We are continually approaching small publishers to partner with Zoetic Press.
At the same time, we are approaching literary agents and larger publishers to license the Lithomobilus platform and customize it to suit their particular needs. Lithomobilus has great potential for education and academic markets as well. For example, footnotes can be added in line with the text, making them accessible to the reader; and specific chapters can be culled from various texts to comprise a reading assignment relevant to a course. The content within content model presents ongoing creative possibilities.
Related story: Lithomobilus Startup Launches New Ebook Platform