Has the iPad made "pageramming" the future of iBooks?
The first pageramming site, pageram.net - fiction becomes reality, has been launched.
With the arrival of the iPad and its clones, is pageramming the future of iBooks and online-publishing in general?
A pageram is a novel that is enriched by the opportunities that browser-based publishing provides. As the story unfolds, not only do you get to know the characters, but you can listen to their music, see their neighbourhoods, and hear their thoughts. This multi-senses approach also includes a fully-integrated “ramaudio” that is read by the author.
The new site is the result of collaboration between Oxford-based innovator, Will Flavin, and writer Rob Mumford.
“I had the idea 18 months ago, and straightaway I knew it was likely to divide opinion,” says Will. “Books are a perfect medium, and if you play around with them then you are going to get feedback whether you want it or not. What has surprised me is that the division is not as clear as I expected. There is a group that loves what we have done. And, whilst the other group may not be quite as enthusiastic, they really want to discuss the concept. I find this even more exciting because some of the suggestions have been very exciting and positive – particularly regarding possible new applications.”
Pageramming gives an author tools to enrich a story, such as elegant solutions to include material from YouTube, Facebook, StreetView and other favorite sites.
“I wrote the story in 2009, and Will thought it was ideal for ramming,” says Rob. “For an author, this new approach is very liberating. It lets you include so much more material, and it makes you think in new ways. The additional content – known as rams and ramlets – can be very straight forward, or very subtle. For example, during one passage, the mother of the main character is able to comment wistfully on her son’s behaviour, despite the fact that she does not appear in the main story.”
The first site is designed for fiction, but early feedback has revealed that the underlying principles could be applied to academic, or to children’s publishing.
The site will welcome submissions from authors in October, with the aim to test the concept further, and to introduce new features.
“A pageram is genuinely different from a conventional book or a current eBook,” adds Rob. “Will and I have been excited about it for a while, but then we saw it on an iPad, and we nearly cried. It just looked so good. It came to life. If pageramming has a future, then it will be because of the iPad and its spinoffs.”
Pageram.net is where fiction becomes reality.
Will and Rob welcome all feedback – both friendly and brutal.