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Tell Me A Tall Tale: Creating A Travel Ebook About The Mongol Rally

Tell Me A Tall Tale - Mongol Rally EbookSo there has been some progress with our plan to try and turn our Mongolian odyssey into some sort of interactive book type thingy.

We, and I can now include my fellow team mates from Back Man! Turn Her Over, Drive! (thanks for keeping it under your hat until I had a chance to talk to them), have agreed that the world is in need of, in fact could be desperate for, an interactive book describing the fun,

arguments, unexpected bowel movements and the Mongolian diet (not 5 fruit and veg a day, but 5 items a day of anything) we developed in the course of our 6 weeks of stupidity.

The plan is simple but very cunning, like a fox that has finished a cryptic crossword.  The book will be based on an interactive map, in fact the map created by our satellite phone, thanks Iridium satellite phone makers of distinction.  During our trip we used the phone to record our position every couple of hours and as a result we have a very clear idea of where we were and when.

Therefore, the idea is to present the book in the form of an interactive map linking the relevant media to the appropriate points on that map.  By clicking on those points the reader will access video clips, photos, blogs written at the time, as well as new material written by each team member.  We could also add other information about the places we visited giving a further depth and dimension to the book.

Now all we need to do is start collating the information we already have, write the new material and find a way of integrating everything into a sexy, streamlined, user-friendly experience.  Did I really just write that phrase?  Hmmm, well you know what I’m getting at.

Although the whole electronic publishing scene is moving along at a cracking pace the art of seamlessly integrating different media is still a little bit of a toddler, there are moments of definite walking mixed in with tumbles, false steps and petulant tears.

Amazon recently started issuing Kindles that work with enhanced software and iPads also have that capacity.  To get an idea of what I’m talking about check out Richard House’s quartet of novels “The Kills” to see what can be achieved, unfortunately you’d need an iPad.

The main limitation really is the size of the files we’ll be creating, the larger the files the greater the cost and so there is a limit to the size of the files that service providers are prepared to download.  The obvious way to avoid this issue is to break the book down into separate, downloadable chapters.

As the technology catches up hopefully it will make the experience of reading our Mongol Rally memoirs as smooth as a baby’s bottom or the face of a botoxed Hollywood star, though the book will have a greater range of expression.

We are also looking at the possibility of having the book delivered as an app.  As an example here is some interesting work being done by James Attlee and Charlotte Quickenden who is using NFC (Near Field Communication) to provide content.

How does this plan grab you?  Are you waiting with barely suppressed excitement for the all singing and dancing memoir, or does it leave you colder than my feet after sleeping in a tent on the Mongolian plains?  Let me know what you think.

About Mark At The Word...

Once upon a time, when Mark was 8, he was asked to read a story he'd written about robots destroying the world to the whole school. He read that story, everyone laughed in the right places and a writer was born.

When not writing Mark reads to escape the many frustrations that life has created for him.

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  • Steve Pierce January 21, 2014, 2:34 pm

    Hi Mark, I’ve just read you’re article and followed the links to James and Charlotte. Given that this technology is in it’s infancy, where on earth will it finish up? I think that an approach to your book using this type of technology will be very interesting and I can’t wait to see more.

    • Mark at the Word January 22, 2014, 10:12 am

      The technology is starting to roll and really what is limiting its’ widespread inclusion is broadband speed and capacity. However, as these increase the only limitation will be a lack of imagination. I think we’re starting to get beyond ebooks simply being more than just a very efficient and effective way of accessing words, the intelligent integration of other elements such as audio and visual elements will hopefully allow electronic publishing to fulfill its true potential.

      • Kate January 29, 2014, 4:16 pm

        I believe the possibilities will be quite exciting. The story can truly come alive. Not to say that words aren’t powerful enough, but once you have the picture or video along with the words and sound, you can’t ask for a more immersive experience.