Tag Archives: reading

3D Printing Brings Picture Books to All

4 Jul

One of the important issues people in publishing often discuss is access: access to published materials despite the technology gap, wealth disparity, occasionally something called being “print-disabled,” and being actually disabled. This modern world of ours is increasingly ruled by touch-enabled, smooth, flat screens, but we don’t always think about the fact that these mediums are excluding the blind or sight-impaired. Traditional books are intrinsically exclusive in the same way, but braille has allowed words to transcend that sight-specific medium.

But what of picture books?

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3D printing is poised to be a huge part of redesigning these books into tactile experiences for the blind and sight-impaired. Right now, 3D printing lends itself to children’s books, allowing kids to follow the pictures along with their fingers as the story is read to them aloud. Sometimes formed as shapes and pictures those with sight can easily recognize, and sometimes assembled as a string of geometric shapes kids can assemble in their minds, these tactile stories are a lovely way to be more inclusive, in an increasing exclusive and siloed publishing industry.

I can’t predict how intricate or in-depth this 3D story-printing can get, but I figure there’s someone out there trying hard to make this technology work for graphic novels. Perhaps dual panels, one set up much like a script, with the braille text attributed to certain characters, the other panel with the tactile representation of pictures. Or something like that. I’m going to keep my ear to the ground about developments on this front, and please feel free to float some knowledge my way if you’ve got an insider scoop.

You can peek back at another of my posts about 3D printing in publishing, and read more about its role in kids’ picture books and the current research being done below:

1. http://mashable.com/2014/07/03/3d-printed-book/

2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2679393/Now-FEEL-Cat-Hat-Researchers-use-3D-printing-help-blind-children-enjoy-classic-bedtime-stories.html

3. The Tactile Books Project: http://www.tactilepicturebooks.org/

4. The very science-y nitty gritty of creating tactile picture books: http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/gadget/newsid=36363.php

5. Research at CU-Boulder: http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2014/06/23/picture-books-visually-impaired-kids-go-3d-thanks-cu-boulder-research-team

 

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Desert Nights is HERE!!!

4 Jul

Hey friends! My brand new suspense book Desert Nights is here! It’s got sex, drugs, punk rock and psychos. I literally don’t know what else you’d want in a book.

You can get the book in paperback from at the Createspace store, or on the big online retailer websites, and in all sortsa e-versions on Smashwords. Please pick it up, and if you like it, tell a friend!

More information on my website www.stackhousebooks.com. Just check the books section.

Happy reading!

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Social Media and Reading

28 Oct

Many will say reading happens in a vacuum. That it’s a singular, solitary exercise. Any effort to make it particularly social will ruin the reading experience, which is an internally transformative experience (when done right) that makes a person want to speak to others after reading.

Well, some readers can’t wait that long. They want to talk about what they’re reading, as they’re reading it, with as many people as possible.  There are myriad ways to do this, including engaging in awkward conversations with strangers on the subway, and way better methods, like Wattpad.

While sites like Goodreads and Shelfari do an adequate job of joining a social community and book information together, they feel like little more than ways to tack up a picture of the book you’re reading and offer opinions (sometimes while reading) and maybe a review when you’re done. Basically, an online version of what you do with books in real life: pick, read, talk about them.

There are great efforts from traditional publishers to create and sustain buzz for books coming out next year, engaging potential readers on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, etc., etc., but there is still a passivity inherent in this approach. The world is a frantic, overly-connected place that has shifted from passive input (antenna and cable TV, radio, best-seller lists) to deliberate choices (person-picked music on iPods, Netflix, word-of-mouth book picks). Reading as a passive input system must be challenged.

Wattpad does what any online version of literature should do: it enhances the experience. Wattpad allows readers to make a real, tangible difference in how a story turns out through their questions and constructive criticism as an author builds a story out (providing the author would like to change some aspects). And as some readers become writers, they discover which kinds of comments are helpful, and which are harsh or unhelpful firsthand.  Readers can get directly in touch with the author of their favorite stories, and move their stories to the top of the site’s reader lists. Somewhere around 18 million readers/writers are on Wattpad, and I think it’s a bit more popular in the UK than it is in the US…it took me a while to jump onboard the Wattpad train. But now that I spend a good deal more time on the subway, I am really enjoying the loads of free, mobile stories I get with having the app. And of course I’m thinking of writing a story on the site as well.

As an added bonus, Wattpad introduced a fan-funding component to their awesome online community a couple months ago. What a concept! An online community of people who watched a story built from the ground-up coming together to see it finished, polished, and set free for the rest of the world to read. It’s amazing what a site that fully integrates reading, writing and online social components can create.

I’m well and truly excited to see what Wattpad wants to do next. Having already partnered with legendary novelist/poet Margaret Atwood, I figure the sky is the limit.

More info:

How Storytelling Has Made Social Networking Interesting Again: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/27/ebooks-new-reading-wattpad-atwood