Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest Post: David Farland on the Future of Reading

We'd like to welcome author David Farland back to the Scribblers Cove as he celebrates the release of his new book, Nightingale. Many of us here at the Cove have taken workshops with Dave, and we know him to be a wily old pirate with a heart of gold. We wish him all the best as he ventures out into the uncharted seas of enhanced e-book publishing.

David Farland’s Vision: Reading in the Future

You put on your “reading glasses.”  The dark glasses are fitted with lasers and high-quality stereo earbuds.  As you put them on, your entire field of vision is captured.  A laser inside the glasses flashes a novel title on the interior surface of your eye—on a field of view so wide, it’s like watching a movie in high definition. 
Of course, the book you see is Dave Farland’s book (why not, it's his fantasy). The letters start small, in the distance and they quickly wash right over you.  Just when it seems they're all around you, they explode in a burst of light, “Nightingale, by David Farland.” 
You can hardly imagine what life was like before 3D.  As soon as you read the last word, a laser with a computer link that tracks your eye movement cues the background music, and images begin to flash in your eye—a holographic video-clip of the character of Bron, as an infant, being abandoned outside the door of a cheap hotel in the Utah desert.  The camera pans up to the face of his mother, Sommer, bitter and broken, with tears in her eyes.  We flash to the prologue, where Sommer runs through a forest at night, her breathing deep, while dogs snarl and bark as they give pursuit.  Fireflies swarm up around her.
Words to the story appear as background music continues, and you read.  As Sommer twists her foot, lasers pace your reading and insert a sound-effect—the thud of a body falling, the hiss of breath knocked from Sommer.  The dogs bay more excitedly.  A man’s heavy footsteps can be heard tromping through the brush behind the reader, and a startled mewling cry escapes Sommer’s throat. . . .
And all of this—text, images, and sound can be fitted to conform to your own individual tastes.
Welcome to the future of reading, where text, images, sounds and music forge a collage.  That’s the vision that led Dave to become a co-founder of East India Press.
“We don’t want to replace reading,” Dave says.  “Novels have a unique ability to let us achieve deep penetration into the minds and emotions of a character, much more so than with a film.”  With his most recent novel, Dave—an award-winning, New York Times Bestselling author, is taking a first step toward creating a more-engaging medium for the novel.  “This is the first big advance in reading technology in 500 years,” he says.
Nightingale tells the story of a young man, abandoned at birth, rejected from foster home after foster home for being too “strange.”  He’s the ultimate loner until he meets Olivia, a marvelously gifted teacher, who recognizes that Bron is something special, something that her people call a “Nightingale,” a creature not quite human.  Suddenly, epic forces combine to claim Bron, and he’s forced to risk everything he loves—home, family, and the only girl he’s ever cared about to find the answer to the questions, “What am I?  Where did I come from?”
“I was excited to see how it would be received,” Dave says.  “I was even more excited when the first reviewer said, ‘I devoured the novel.  It was absolutely incredible! . . . I struggled to explain just how much I enjoyed it in my review. . . . After reading Nightingale, I don't think I will even be able to go back to reading regular e-books again. .  . . . enhanced e-books are actually a real deal.’”
The future of books is beginning now.  Nightingale is available in several forms—as an e-book, audiobook, hardcover and enhanced book.
Best of all, East India Press has created a new web simulation technology that mimics how the book appears on the iPad, and invites you to enjoy it for yourself for free at


  1. It looks awesome, Dave!

    Great post, Rebecca. :)

  2. I'm about halfway through Nightingale and anyone I talk to lately is getting the lowdown on the new enhanced ebook format- I LOVE it! I always wish that authors would include musical playlists for their novels because music has such an emotional effect on the listener. I am loving the haunting musical accompaniments for Nightingale. If 3D glasses are the next wave, then count me in on that too! :-)

  3. Wow, sounds awesome! I'm looking forward to experiencing it.

  4. I think Dave's ideas are intriguing, but I've got some reservations about adding a soundtrack to books. If you rely on music to convey emotions, then do you need to make your prose do it too? All of these enhanced book effects can be really awesome if they're done well, but on the other hand if they're NOT... it's like bad cover design taken to the tenth power.

  5. Not that I wouldn't want to see MY book dolled up with a stunning soundtrack, soaring animated sequences, and an author interview that makes me look like a genius.

  6. As long as one can turn sound and/or images "off", I think it can appeal to both purists and progressives.

    The aspect that's weird to me is that if you self-publish an enhanced e-book, you need to enlist a whole team to get er done well. It becomes more a collaborative, like a play or film; hard for those hermit writers we all are-- I mean, love. Writers we all LOVE.

    I'm inspired, though. Maybe my fam can be like the Jackson Five of enhanced books. My hub is quite the guitar player, and my daughter an artist. My sons can sell anything, so there we go. :)

  7. Now you've got me thinking, Amber. I have a sister who illustrates, a brother who runs his own music academy, another brother who works at Pixar, another brother who is a programmer at Livermore Lab... we could probably put together a pretty decent enhanced e-book. If we all decided to do it, that is.

    I've had some experience with do-it-yourself projects. Like that bathroom tile I didn't lay for two years.


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