The digital versions of the Slabscape novels are designed as webbacks – eBook files with embedded links to an online wiki called Slabscapedia which acts as a glossary, reference facility and repository for back-stories and tangentially linked information along with completely unrelated madness – all of which is dynamically updated (or never finished, depending on your point of view).
Unfortunately, most eBook readers are not yet equipped to easily access web-links from within the reader program. Some don’t work at all, others work but launch a separate browser that requires a relaunch of the reader program to get back to the main story which is all rather tedious. However, these restrictions are not going to hold back the ‘pedia development – eReader technology will catch up sooner or later and when it does, Slabscapedia will be ready and filled with linktrigues.
The image at the top is a screenshot of how the webback version of Reset looks on an iPad using the Stanza eBook reader software (but since Amazon bought the company that developed Stanza, it’s closed down*). This has been the best way of enjoying the webback to date and we had made an ePub file available through this site for those keen fans who like to delve deeper into the Slabscape universe while reading the stories. Our latest favourite eReader for mobile platforms is called Marvin (hopefully, due to the late, great Douglas Adams) and that’s available here – it looks great, has a lot of customisable options, renders Slabscapedia pages nicely and you can get straight back to your page in the book with one touch of a button. There is also a way to add the Slabscapedia as a look-up option that appears in the menubar when a word is highlighted.
We embrace digital publishing and are interested in exploring the creative possibilities that each new development in technology offers. The emergence of lightweight tablet computers with high-resolution screens means we’re only just scratching the surface of these possibilities. We are currently working on versions of the poetry books with author narrations embedded in the pages. They’ll probably be perceived as beautifully designed audiobooks – yet another hybrid platform. Please add your name to our mailing list if you would like to be kept informed of these and other new publications.
If anyone has any relevant feedback on different eReaders or can recommend suitable eReader software for mobile operating systems, please leave a comment below.
UPDATE: we have suspended sales of Slabscape: Reset ePub through this site and have also temporarily withdrawn the eBook from our partner sites with the exception of Kindle from Amazon. The reason for this is we wanted to enrol the book in the Amazon Lending Library and are planning on running some special promotions during the lead-up to the publication of Dammit and can only do these things if we give Amazon exclusive rights for digital distribution for three-month periods. Exclusive means we can’t even sell it through our own site*.
* We rely on Amazon and we couldn’t sell our books all over the world without them. Their distribution system empowers all independent publishers and self-publishers, but between them buying out then closing down their competitors, making indie bookstore owners weep with frustration and forcing publishers not to sell their own eBooks directly, they’re really hard to love. We do agree with Amazon on one important issue however: eBooks should be priced considerably lower than printed books. [/rant]