“Crime Scene Investigation” – The Diginovel That Symbolizes Convergence!

Books have been so much a part of my growing up years and a friend I go to when I need to get away from the rest of the world.  All my pocket money went into buying books I found appealing.  I wouldn’t part with my book collection for anything.  It is through those books that I had a chance to delve deep into the souls of many great writers, like Tolstoy.

Tolstoy was not considered a great writer by many but his characters were living beings that explained the meaning of life.  I shared many personal moments with him and others, in the intimacy of my bedroom, before drifting off to sleep dreaming of the tall, dark and handsome Mills & Boon heroes.

I don’t remember when my love affair with books began, but I’m sure it must have been the very first time I held a book in my hand as a child.

For someone like me, the new concept of reading books online still does not seem realistic, as the only form of text I’ve enjoyed reading is in the books that you can hold in your hands. But there is a change taking place behind our backs, by creative writers who understand the pulse of today’s computer-savvy youngsters.

We have to accept that the internet era is all about convergence. Even a diehard “book” addict like me cannot help appreciating the innovative thinking that the print, television and computers could all come together to create a beautiful transmedia experience.

I’m sure there cannot be many who haven’t watched the famous “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” television series.  It is a new-age crime drama that has been the number one series in the Neilson ratings for four consecutive years. In 2007, it was the most watched show in the world and continues to attract all generations of people.

Anthony Zulker, the creator of CSI is making the dream of combining all forms of media come true, with his new novel.”  In his own words, it is a “digi-novel.”

Level 26: Dark Origins, the world’s first digi-novel is a crime novel that can be read, seen and heard.  It combines words with video footage. This interactive Web extension of the book also offers readers the option to log into a website after every 20 pages, and watch a three-minute video related to the story that acts as a “cyber-bridge” to carry them to the next chapter effortlessly.

In Zulker’s own words, “About every twenty pages of this crime novel, I will provide the reader with the option of logging in to www.level26.com to watch 2-3 minutes of motion picture footage which will bridge the story from one chapter to another.  Before your eyes, the characters will come alive.”

He also created a highly interactive setting, where readers can discuss the story and perhaps contribute to a sequel.

This novel is the first in a series of crime thrillers on Steve Dark, who is on a quest to track down a serial killer.

This modernistic writer says Americans are infatuated with technology and more choices of entertainment were needed, and he did just that – gave a shot in the arm to something that has been trumpeted for a long time.

Right now, this digi-novel can be read by downloading an application on to iPhones and iPods. But with increasing number of people taking to e-book readers today, we are sure to see future e-book readers fully equipped to stream motion pictures, to enable seamless consumption of a product such as this digi-novel.

Is this a jolt to traditional book publishing?  It is one thing to visualize images in our minds when reading a book and another to be able to see grisly crimes being committed in Technicolor. But as far as I’m concerned and I’m sure many of you book lovers would agree, that nothing can diminish the powerful impact books have on us.  Nothing can compensate the feel of paper on the fingers and the images conjured in our minds while reading a book in the quiet of our rooms.  But innovation is an essential part of our lives, we have to learn appreciate it.

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