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kickstarter-kamps.jpegEver thought about putting something on Kickstarter? Getting your page done is easy enough, but getting people to view it another matter. Help might soon be at hand for a Kickstarter veteran - who has funded two separate campaigns - is hoping to launch a book that tells you how to get going on Kickstarter. and he is launching it on, you guessed it, Kickstarter.

It sounds like he knows what he is talking about for the bloke in question, Haje Jan Kamps, has run two hugely successful Kickstarter projects into a business with a million dollar turnover. His latest Kickstarter campaign was fully funded in under 12 hours.

The book, "Kickstarter: succeed first time" will apparently be 'a comprehensive guide to everything readers need to know about running their own Kickstarter project.' Kamps says it is split into two main parts. 'What it takes to create a successful Kickstarter project and a series of master classes, walking readers through some of the skills they will invariably need in the course of running a Kickstarter project. An eBook edition will be available.

Kamps, who is founder and CEO of Triggertrap added: "Throwing yourself into your first Kickstarter project is no easy task, not least because running a Kickstarter campaign places some pretty heavy demands on you. A successful Kickstarter campaign is dependent on a good idea, great marketing, fantastic storytelling, and a compelling overall package. In the process of putting the project together, a project owner will have to do budgeting, PR, put together a video, get some high-quality photos shot, plan for a load of different backer levels, and ultimately figure out what happens if a project fails to reach funding, only just hits its threshold, or perhaps over-funds by 10 or 100 times the original funding goal."

Last time we looked Kamps was about an eight of the way to funding his project

More here.


Paper book publishers Random House have teamed up with game-makers THQ - to start collaborating on products that bridge the gap between books and games..

Ebooks, graphic novels and online/console/phone games are expected to come out of the partnership, which will see books spinning out of successful game titles according to Gizmodo.

Much of the collaboration will be about immersing readers in fiction regardless of the medium they're experiencing it on. Scenarios, characters and stories will take form across across different platforms...

"The Random House Publishing Group and THQ announced today a pioneering step in transmedia - the establishment of a joint team to create and develop original intellectual properties ("IP") for publication across multiple mediums." Random house announced in a press release.

They continued:

"This collaboration is a shining example of how we can generate interesting and exciting publishing opportunities as our various media continue to converge.
The team expects the new IP to first appear as a collection of games and books, while they further develop a rich IP universe that will allow for ongoing shelf life through other media. Drawing on rich skills and expertise in transmedia production, the team aims to bring a new level of quality to mutually created properties, expanding IP creation in ways that will immerse fans more fully in the fiction regardless of media."

"We truly think that this is the new direction for entertainment, and we're proud to be leading the way as we provide a platform for storytellers to have their visions realized across multiple mediums." said Keith Clayton, director of creative development at Random House in a press release.

As well as new books being played out across multiple mediums - we'd like to see some movement the other way too though - with great books being adapted to the game world. How about these five?

1) Pride and Prejudice - you have to type in small talk and get points for the wittiness of your repartee.

2) Oliver Twist Can your urchin be top of the urchin pile while still remaining cute and morally strong?

3) The Bible - this would be amazing. The goal is salvation of course and you have to spend hours at the beginning begetting descendents.

4) Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace's crazy tome about tennis academies, Quebecois separatism and drug addiction would be great as a game.

5) 1984 - how good would you be as a surveillance state? This game would get you repressing your citizens.

Related: If famous novels were iPhone apps, what would they do?


Last week I wrote about the emerging online trend of Social Studying. This growing trend seeks to bring together social networks and more academic pursuits together.

The latest site to throw it's hat into the ring is Figment. The site which launched yesterday, was founded by the former managing editor of The New Yorker, Jacob Lewis and staff writer Dana Goodyear.

The site is being viewed as an experiment in online literature. A free platform for teens where they can read and write fiction, both on their computers and on their cellphones. They are encouraged to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate with other writers and give and receive feedback on work posted to the site.

Lewis stated that they "wanted people to be able to write whatever they wanted in whatever form they wanted...We give them a piece of paper and say, 'Go.'" Contributions to the site so far include everything from fantasy and science fiction, to biographical work and long serial novels.

In the long term Lewis hopes that Figment will not only attract a wealth of user, but create opportunities for publishers to find fresh young talent, or promote their own authors by running book excerpts. "For publishers this is an amazing opportunity to not only reach your consumers but to find out really valuable information about how they are reading," he said.

A number of publishers have already signed up to work with Figment, seeing it as an opportunity to get the their content in front of teenagers and constantly shifting youth culture.

Sure, she's a lycra-suited 16 year old with the cup-size of a comic book woman. But we like her. And hey as the Guardian points out.. Spiderman wears tights all the time anyway. We always dig a power-woman especially if she can swing between buildings. So here are a couple of snaps of Spider-Girl.

Spider-Girl - aka Anya Corazon - is a 16-year-old high-school student of Latino descent who lives in New York. She is a trained martial artist and likes to bust the ass of baddies by kicking and punching them.

A previous incarnation of Spider Girl was the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane, first published back in 1969 called May Mayday Parker. Anya is a different character, with her own comic on sale for the first time today.

Marvel Comics say they introduced her because of the numbers of young women reading comics who wanted to see some strong female characters.

SpiderGirl is on sale in US shops from today, there's more info on it on the Marvel site

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The new book from Phillip Pullman out from Wednesday is getting a lot of attention for two reasons: 1) The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is a retelling of the story of the world-famous Bible story, 2) it's also being released as an iPhone app.

Only one of those features is making it unpopular with the religious establishment.

Phillip Pullman's stance on religion is well-known. His famous Northern Lights triology is an intentional satire on the bureaucracy of the church and his new story is proving to be pretty controversial, garnering him a few threats of eternal damnation.

The gist of Pullman's retelling of the Bible story is that Jesus had a manipulative twin brother, Christ, who tempted him in the wilderness and betrayed him to the authorities. The Guardian sketches out the book's story:

Using the four Gospels as its source, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ has the naive young Mary giving birth to twins after a visit by a mysterious stranger claiming to be an angel. The babies grow up into the physically robust, straight-talking, straightforward Jesus and the bookish, calculating, often morally tortured Christ.

His take on app-making is a bit less revolutionary. The app of the book is multimedia, but it's not pushing any boundaries. It includes a full ebook, the unabridged audiobook read by the author and synchronised to the text, as well as exclusive video interviews.

The best feature seems to be the audio/text swap over. Say you tire of peering at your screen you can just plug the earphones in, sit back and listen to the story from exactly where you left off.

It's a good idea to actively enrich the content available on iPhone apps. And giving the film video interviews available after the book is a nice touch. Only catch might be the price. At £9.99 it is comparable to the price of a book, but significantly more than the average app.

£9.99 from iTunes

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413 books-pile thumb.jpgTen years ago, self-publishing was a bit embarassing, it was like you couldn't get a traditional publisher interested so you just lumped along to somewhere you knew they'd have you. But with a bit of perspective on the phenomenon, and a pile of sucess stories, self-publishing through a website makes a lot of sense. You go through fewer hoops, the book is definitely published, you retain the rights and you get a bigger share of the royalties.

Perhaps you've just got something really niche and only want to publish a 1000 odd copies, (too small for a big publisher) or you just want to have a book as supplement to your business. You can lose money as well as making it and there's a great article on the pitfalls of self-publishing here (there seem to be a lot), but whatever the reason, self-publishing is definitely a viable option.

We do a quick run-down of five of the best self-publishing sites
nb: it seems if you pay for a publishing package, covering the initial costs, you get a greater share of the royalties.

1. Lulu
One of the earliest and best-regarded self-publishing sites, it has published some of the most successful self-published books.
Ease of use: 4/5 good website, simple to understand
Presentation of the book: 3/5 you choose and make your own cover, or, you can pay them to do it for you.
Money: 2/5 buy a publishing package ranging from £299 to £999 which includes publishing and some support, you can bolt on extra services like copy-editing, a promo campaign for extra.
Distribution: 3/5 They say: "Lulu gives you access to the fastest and most extensive distribution system available anywhere." It's sold on Amazon and other online retailers and in Lulu's own nicely designed book store. It can also be made into an eBook readable on iPhone or elsewhere. Bricks and mortar book shops will be able to order a hard copy in if requested.

2. Amazon's Digital Text Platform
Yes everyone's heard of that little site called Amazon and lots of people go there to buy books, consequently it's a good brand name. They have launched a self-publishing platform for the Kindle (their eReader) which lets you upload text in ebook form to the Kindle shop, from where people can buy it.
Ease of use: 2/5 looks pretty straightforward, though making sure it ends up in a usable form on Kindle is more complicated than just sending off a word document and there are lots of how-to documents to read about publishing.
Presentation of the book: 3/5 it's a eBook so comes in standard Kindle format.
Money: 1/5 set your own price between $0.99 and $200, you get a slightly measly 35% royalties
Distribution: 1/5 well this is the catch, it's only available for Kindle, so your readers are restricted to people with those devices.

3. Zoe's Books
A small British self-publishing site that comes with editorial advice from its founder Zoe. Good for non-fiction, societies, small buisnesses or gurus who want a book behind them. Sounds like a small publishers might be a little more helpful than some of the off-the-peg juggernauts on offer.
Ease of use: 3/5 phone and email support and they take care of the publishing.
Presentation of the book: 3/5 looks fine, can do this yourself or ask them to arrange it.
Money: 3/5 Zoe's quote you a price depending on what services you require.
Distribution: 2/5 Either do this yourself: she suggests self-promoting it through groups or workshops, or they have a marketing arm which can do promotion for a price.

4. Writersworld
I am not impressed by the user interface for this site, but the editors seem to know what they're talking about when it comes to book publishing.
Ease of use: 2/5 not great. The site is not well designed and it's hard to find out information. It may be easier when you start writing. They provide qualified freelance sub-contractors to edit your work.
Presentation of the book: 3/5 They say "Our book covers are all custom-designed in full colour and at no time do we use templates." Judging from the covers on show, I give them a decent 3 stars.
Money: 3/5 You pay a fixed price up front for the copy-edit, design and publishing and then you get 100% of royalties
Distribution: 3/5 Your book will be made available through every major internet bookshop, including Amazon, Waterstone's, WHSmith, Blackwell etc. Not as a physical copy in actual bookshops. They ship worldwide.

5. IUniverse
An American site that might be worth a look if you don't mind selling liasing remotely and doing the money side in dollars.
Ease of use: 4/5 looks pretty straightforward
Presentation of the book: 3/5 custom-designed cover included in the upfront price. They claim they don't use templates.
Money: 2/5 quite pricey: buy a package ranging from $599 to $4200
Distribution: 3/5 Offers editor's awards which hilight strong books and give them some extra publicity. Otherwise sold through Amazon and other online stores. Publicity packages available.

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239 grand-theft-auto NOVEL.jpg

We've heard of the book of the film, but the book of the video game? Yes that exists. Looking to new media for fresh ways to turn a profit, publishers Random House have commissioned two books tied into video game stories. Details are vague but one story is described as being in the "adventure" genre, while the other is built around a horror tale.

Anyone got any good suggestions? I'm imagining... "The Sex Life of a Tetris Block". It would start like this: "looking to my right there was a cute t-shaped collection of blocks, but the bitches! they were heading for exactly the same inviting gap that I was aiming myself towards. I shifted indescively from side to side in agony. Would I ever form a lasting connection with four other tetris blocks or just be left hanging over a gaping space..".

Yeah, you can email me if you want the rest of that Random House.

[via Paid Content]

6 ebook.jpgOkay we've all seen eBooks before, but Samsung's first foray into the field has produced some pretty desirable devices. Their eBook duo: the E60 and E100 are little treats.

Both have pleasant e-ink displays with the E60's screen 6inches across (600 by 800 pixel resolution) and the E100 10 inch (825 by 1200). There's a touchscreen QWERTY keyboard and a stylus, plus speakers offering audio if desired.

For me the sweetest feature was the notes function where you could scribble on with a stylus and it would either convert it to type or store it as an image. "We want to make it as much like the experience of paper as possible" the Samson demonstrator told me.

This was surprising pleasurable and the eBook table was crowded with tech journos practising the uncustomed art of handwriting. Big thumbs up for the user experience with these devices.

Content is downloaded via wifi from Google's Books store (prints out-of-copyright texts and some new ones) and Samsung are in discussion with other publishers about getting more content. Check back on this before purchasing, could be annoying if the book range is limited. Newspapers are also available.

Both have 2gb memory and a micro SD slot.

Again prices are rough but we're looking at 299-349 euros.

Related: Samsung's OmniPro - hands-on with the clever microwave
Samsung NaviBot - hands on with the robotic vacuum cleaner

124 QBook_Penguin Image.jpgSoon bed-time stories will be able to read themselves to your kids. Penguin's new digital Qbooks for kids bring touch and voice technology to popular children's picture books.
So you may not need to be there for their bedtime - but you'd better make sure the iPad is.

These digital picture books or Qbooks from Penguin and Kiwa Media are designed to be interactive. Using the Swipe-to-Read function on the story, children will be able to run their fingers across the words and letters and hear the story read aloud as the graphics pop and change color.

Other function Touch-to-Hear allows children to hear the individual word spoken and Touch-to-Spell enables the child to actually hear the word being spelt.
Children and parents can customize each QBook by recording their own voice and coloring in every picture in the book

Penguin first Qbooks are compatible with the iPhone and iPod touch, but I can imagine that it will be on a book-sized device like ooo say the the iPad that this will really be interesting.

This sounds pretty entrancing and though the current examples are quite simple (see video below) the possibility are really interesting. It's almost a new thing - it's not really a film, not really an audio tape, not really book.. I guess this is one of the new sorts of media product that we'll start to see on tablet computers.

QBook available on Windows 7, Symbian & Android in May 2010
QBook launches on iTunes with Sebastian's Tail (Penguin) and Milly, Molly and the Tree Hut. Coming soon - Flick, The Red Fire Engine, Wheelbarrow Wilbur, That's Not Junk (Penguin), Oh Hogwash Sweet Pea, Barnaby Bennett (Huia Publishing) and the Milly, Molly series.

Good god, people like to write books about technology. Do you know there are 246 books on about Twitter? (based on results in a books search). There are 399 results on amazon for books about Facebook, 405 books about iPhones and a frankly stunning 848 book results for blackberry. I suspect some of those Blackberry results are about the soft fruit, but anyway, that's a lot.

Books about phones are often developer's guides, though there are a few funny ones chucked in there... check out Blackberry Fool, billed as a "comic look at the obsessive Blackberry user".

It's the ones about Twitter that interest me. Surely writing a print book about a web service is like dancing about architecture, or however that old saying goes. Anyway, I can't deny that some of them look quite amusing and that I quite want to read them.
From a rough survey, about of that 246 are mostly about Twitter the rest just reference it. (Judging by whether Twitter is on the cover of the book.) A significant bunch are guides for businesses and marketing companies, Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time, for example.

Here are five that look interesting.
Click on the image below to start the gallery:

twit book.jpg

Twitter is the buzzword of the moment with everyone getting involved, from numerous guides, campaigns and even accessories getting in on the act. It's the word at the top of every D list celebs agenda, and numerous professionals are discovering that this is the new way of communicating and building a brand.

But some people (and I won't name names here) don't really seem to understand proper Tweetiquette, using it to spam people and annoy them with the kind of garbage that makes me write long angry posts about etiquette...

cooler ebook.jpg

I've been flying the flag for eBooks for some time now so was excited to learn about a new model we're going to get on our shores. Sure it's no Amazon Kindle DX, but it does play a variety of files- JPEG, PDF, EPUB, TXT. Sadly there's no compatibility for LIT files, but hey, you can't have everything.

watchmen gibbons.jpg

Intel is sponsoring the Digital Artist awards, and who better than to run their masterclass in the art of drawing comics than the delightful Dave Gibbons from Watchmen fame. I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend a session with him, and grabbed some alone time with the man himself afterwards.

In person he's surprisingly easy to talk to, and though I may have come across as a slightly addled fan, we managed to talk through his favourite comics, how technology advances aid his work nowadays, and of course, his relationship with Alan Moore...


I'm a huge fan of eBooks as they're an easy way to transport a huge library around with you, but should you be trying to view a newspaper of textbook, the screen size tends to be distinctly lacking. Sure you could get the iRex Digital Reader, but you want he whole functionality of the kindle, and the backing of Amazon now, don't you?

Well in response to the (slight) demand for a larger sized eBook, Amazon have just confirmed the rumours of a super-sized eBook with the launch of the Kindle DX.

So what do you get for the rather inflated price of $489? First off, the screen size is an obvious change, clocking in at a rather considerable 9.7 inches, meaning that it's a lot easier to download and read a variety of newspaper and magazine articles, as they'll be displayed in the correct resolution. Textbooks should be a lot easier on the eyes as well- and the Kindle DX now accepts PDF files.

It wasn't so long ago I told you about the Raymond Chandler novel being turned into a computer game. It's a common trend to create a game off the back of successful book/movie mashups, but for every creation that's an astounding success there are those that flop heavier than Oprah in a fat suit. There's no perfect key to creating a winning game, but I think it would be great if companies started using some lesser known books for plot inspiration. Here's my guide to the top ten fantasy books that deserve to get the multi-player treatment- and I'm only including those that HAVEN'T ever had this, before you start moaning that I didn't mention Neil Gaiman's Coraline or Pratchett's Discworld.


Shiny Review: Amusement RFID magazine

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Not so long ago we told you all about Amusement, the French magazine that contains an RFID chip. The idea behind it is that when you purchase said magazine, you not only get physical content, but also virtual access to a variety of video and music feeds created specially for the mag. We test it out with the help of the trusty mir:ror RFID reader, but as I don't speak French I can only report on the ease of use, rather than the entrainment angle.

Amusement and mir:ror

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What do lads mags and Barack Obama have in common? They're both available on the Mi-Vox portable audiobooks!

I've never been a big fan of audio books, as they tend to be overpriced, uninspiring and commentated by the kind of person who tends to be stuck reading the weather as their part time job. Mi-Vox Audio books may make me reconsider this idea though, as not only are they rather stylish, but they're actually read by people you might want to listen to.

samsung-debut-touchscreen-ebook-9.jpgSo, the Amazon Kindle may or may not make it over here. Quite frankly I'm getting bored of the whole will it/won't it scenario. But it turns out I'm not the only one who's fed up of playing the waiting game - so is Samsung. Joining the eBook party and bringing with it some touchscreen goodness is Samsung with its Papyrus eBook. Similarly to Fujitsu's FLEPia, the Papyrus is initially Korea-bound (in June), but there are plans to bring it to the UK and US (typically) at a later date.

The A5 eBook will come sans SD card slot, but will feature a stylus and 512MB of onboard storage, a leatherette case, as well as being available in a variety of colours. Reading capabilities aside, the Papyrus will also house notetaking capabilities, a world clock, calculator, and contacts, giving you a modern day Filofax with added abilities.

Amusement magazine is an RFID marvel

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amusement mag.jpg

When is a magazine not a magazine? When it's trying to be part website, part DVD and contains an RFID chip to hook you straight up to dedicated Internet sites (with use of a violet mir:ror)

It's a strange idea but it does have a couple of great concepts built in. How many times do you read a magazine and make a mental note to Google/check out the various websites and products mentioned? Generally you'll forget them, and go home none the wiser, but not so with Amusement.

This 700g magazine combines paper and ink with electronic components to allow you access to a wealth of cyber information when you place the mag on the RFID reader.

fujitsu.jpgJust when you thought eBooks couldn't get any more attractive, Fujitsu goes and gives its eReader a colour injection, putting all other eReaders to black and white shame. As long as you don't mind travelling to Japan to get one, you can take pleasure in its 8-inch colour screen - ideal for reading both magazines and extensive text. There's also Bluetooth, WiFi and a USB and SD card slot to get the best out of your eReading experience.

According to Stuff, who got the low down from Electric Pig, Japan's inhabitants will be able to order one from the 20th April. However, getting a dose of colour also means its price tag will not be recession friendly. And at £725 it certainly isn't! This basically means if you don't eat, sleep and breathe reading, I'd opt for a cheaper option and forgo the colour, unless reading is all you're prepared to do for a while seeing as you won't be able to afford to much else.

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