Hybrid and non-traditional Books

1 minute read

One of the topics at the upcoming CODEX Hackathon (which The Hawaii Project is sponsoring and helping organize) is the future of books.

With the advent of ebooks, there’s been a surprising lack of hybrid literature developed that takes advantage of the potential interaction of literature and technology? Where are the (e)books with embedded Google maps? Location is central to many books but I’ve not seen it really explored. Wouldn’t it be cool to a “location dictionary” embedded in ebooks, similar to a regular dictionary? The closest thing I’ve seen was the app made for Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.


The New York Times Snow Fall story was intriguing exploration of semi-digital storytelling, but it was apparently expensive and complicated to make, and hasn’t generated much in the way of other articles of similar format.


There is a history of something like “hyperlinked” or non-linear text in literature. Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves is a dizzying, non-linear text with a cool storyline and almost impenetrable textual/visual design. Really fun.

Melville House is producing a series of so-called Hybrid Books that “combine print and digital media into an enhanced reading experience by including with each title additional curated material called Illuminations— maps, photographs, illustrations, and further writing about the author and the book.


And Twitter Fiction is an interesting new form of storytelling.

Finally, here’s a list of so-called ergodic books for your consideration, including S, by Doug Dorst and JJ Abrams, Night Film, by Marisha Pessl, and other books by Mark Danielewski.


What kinds of new media or innovations would you like to see in cross-media “books”?