Recently my son spouted off a number of interesting details about a certain subject. I asked him how he knew so much and he said by looking up a Wikipedia page about the general subject and then following the links. Then he asked if I ever did that, just kept following the trail of links? Immediately the term came to mind, one that describes what he means: Wikipedia wandering.
Later that day in PW Daily I read about what Brooklyn-based independent publisher Melville House is calling a HybridBook Project. The idea is to publish 5 famous novellas in print form and then offering a lot of extra material — enhanced features — in digital form:
Each book in the HybridBook program features not only the core text of the novel, but extensive additional material rendered in digital form—the Melville House Illuminations. The Illuminations consist of highly curated text, maps, photographs and illustrations related to the original book.
The idea seems to be to keep print books competitive with enhanced e-books, which offer extra material by clicking on links for further information.
Like the movie industry, which has been offering extra material for years via actor/director commentaries, outtakes, information about how the movie was made, etc., the publishing industry seems to have picked up on the fact that when we humans find something interesting, we'll be happy to learn more when the information is conveniently offered.
That last notion and my son's comment got me to thinking that the way we read has already shifted. Rather than reading continuously, we're already used to jumping from one link to the next. Therefore, maybe stories will soon change to reflect that, so that instead of seeing a story flow from one page to another — either physically or virtually — maybe tales will be told through a series of clicks.
While some might find that idea distressing, for those of us who like to experiment, the time seems ripe to do so. Is anybody taking the leap?