Electric Bookshop

The Electric Bookshop birthday party

November 5th, 2014 by Paula De Lucas Gudiel | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Electric Bookshop birthday party
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B0F7SsXCQAAz8GZOn Thursday, October 16th was the 4th birthday of the Electric Bookshop. They celebrated it with an event in Edinburgh in which attendants could enjoy wine, cupcakes and three wonderful speakers. At the beginning of the evening, the members of the organisation of the Electric bookshop, Claire Stewart, Peggy Hughes and Padmini Ray Murray, discussed what their favourite moments of the year were. Primarely, for new comers as me, this was very helpful to know more about what they focus on. The organisation holds events to congregate people from various fields: technology, publishing, design and literature. As intimidating as this mixture might sound, they can be proud for having a big participation in their debates.

B0F80beIcAEWLOxThe first speaker to participate was Kate Ho, Managing Director of Interface3, which designs and exciting customer branded experiences using innovative technologies (such as Augmented Reality, Mobile Games). At the moment, Kate Ho is focusing on educational games, and she spoke about her project Stobhill, a 3D interactive experience based on Edwin Morgan’s poem with the same name. The game is set in a scary abandoned hospital that shares the name with the title. The players are supposed to use the audio of three people and their stories related to the building to work on their achievements in the game, and so find about the disturbing plot and terrorific resolution.

B0GG7KPCUAAsKGMThe second speaker who took part in the event was Alan Trotter. He is a writer from Aberdeen, winner of the Sceptre Prize for emerging writers and currently studying his PhD in University of Glasgow, researching for his project called Bodies of work: unusual uses of the physical form of the book. His work is characteristic for his study on the difference between printed text and text on the screen (HTML). In his participation, he talked about the play with form and this web-experiment he is working on.

The last speaker in the evening was Rob Morgan. Unfortunately, he couldn’t attend the event physically, but when the venue is organised by technology geeks, there’s always a way to sort out difficulties, so we could enjoy of his participation through Skype. Rob Morgan is a game writer, narrative designer and voice director. His participation was about the control and content of the player in a videogame, since this is very different from those in books. Fielectric-logo2rst, he discussed how the player interacts in the game, how he can control the story and the plot, but also how some games don’t give the player any choices to develop the plot in the game. Regarding the content of a game, he also explained how to create characters that the players can be identified with, how to make it exciting and interesting so the player can work on the development of the character, since he is the one in control of the storyline in the videogame.

This event clearly brought together different fields that, actually, work together most of the times. At the same time, it also was enlightening to learn more about how technology, set in the modern world, and literature, existing since ancient ages, come along so well together.

The Electric Bookshop, the October edition

November 18th, 2012 by Verena Bauer | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Electric Bookshop, the October edition
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After hearing in class about the Electric Bookshop, the 10th of October saw me heading to Edinburgh, excited about the new digital developments I was going to be introduced to.

The first guest of the night was writer Gavin Inglis, who is known for his work with Writers’ Bloc and who now presented to us his new interactive game which is called Eerie Estate Agent. We were first introduced to his childhood memories that had inspired him for his latest work – adventure books like Sugarcane Island and The Black Dragon that gave the reader the possibility to make their own choices, leading to different endings instead of a linear story. This idea was later followed by role-playing games such as “Dungeons & Dragons”. Adventure books and games were usually branded as being made exclusively for children, while there were only parodies available for adults – a situation that displeased Inglis. In the 1980s, video games like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy appeared as the forerunner of today’s games and apps – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has recently been published as an interactive app that includes the original text but also introduces reader’s choices. This led Inglis to write his own interactive fiction, focusing on the reader’s decisions that “have to be meaningful” and have to matter as an integral part of his Eerie Estate Agent game. The app is very trendy as several adventure series have recently been reissued. Customers can play a trial chapter before buying the app on www.choiceofgames.com.

The next guests of the night were Henry Volans, Head of Digital Publishing at Faber and Faber, and Max Whitby from Touch Press (via Skype). They introduced T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, which they published as an app, allowing the reader not only to access the text but also the original manuscript, often with notes by Ezra Pound, as well as notes on references and historical allusions. The highlight, however, is the option to watch a video performance of the poem or listen to six different audio readings. The speakers’ next collaboration (together with Illuminations and The Arden Shakespeare) was on Shakespeare’s Sonnets, which is for them a new and “better way to present literature than the e-book market.” It is thus not just an enhanced e-book, but an app that contains all the 154 sonnets, in the modern edition as well as in a facsimile of the 1609 Quarto edition; a commentary by Don Paterson; and the Arden notes on language, historical facts, and vocabulary, synchronized with the lines you are reading. In addition to that, you can take your own notes or watch the sonnets being performed by one of 42 people, such as Sir Patrick Stewart, David Tennant, or Fiona Shaw. It even has a sharing function for social media such as Facebook or Twitter.

As several of the guests remarked, the app is quite expensive at the price of £9.99; a further drawback is that it can only be used on iPads. However, as a graduate of English Literature, I would love to get the app (if only I was one of the proud owners of an iPad) and I am sure it is very useful to students and academics.

The 8th Electric Bookshop introduced me to exciting new developments and interesting people, so I can only recommend to everyone to go to their next session in January 2013 – I definitely will!

The Book Unbound at the Electric Bookshop

August 7th, 2012 by prm | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Book Unbound at the Electric Bookshop
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As regular readers of this blog might be aware, some of the staff and students at the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication have been busy this summer, working on an AHRC-funded research project entitled ‘The Book Unbound: Disruption and disintermediation in the digital age.’ The iPad app which forms part of this project is going to be showcased at the Electric Bookshop, a quarterly event that brings together people from the worlds of publishing, technology and design and is hosted at Inspace in Edinburgh. We’re looking forward to discussing the editorial, creative and production processes that went into the making of the app, and demonstrating how we’ve worked with new technologies to create our own publication. If you would like to attend this free event, please do book a place here.

The Electric Bookshop

November 19th, 2010 by SCIPC | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Electric Bookshop
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Padmini, Peggy and Claire at the Electric Bookshop.

Padmini, Peggy and Claire at the Electric Bookshop. Photo credit: Chris Scott

On the evening of Wednesday 27th October I travelled to Edinburgh to attend the first Electric Bookshop event along with three other classmates who had also managed to secure free tickets in advance. We were all looking forward to an online Skype interview with McSweeney’s Managing Director, Eli Horowitz, and a presentation by Sophie Rochester of Fiction Uncovered and The Literary Platform, as well as the opportunity to meet and mingle with publishers and others in the book industry. We weren’t disappointed!

The venue was Inspace, on the ground floor of University of Edinburgh’s Informatics building, a beautiful, sleek and modern glass building on Crichton Street, and, arriving there early, we were immediately welcomed by our Publishing Dynamics lecturer, Padmini Ray Murray and Peggy Hughes (Communications Officer at the Scottish Poetry Library) who, along with Claire Stewart from the Scottish Book Trust, are the minds behind the Electric Bookshop. It was still quite early when we arrived so we were kindly told to make ourselves comfortable and help ourselves to some yummy sparkling wine. In keeping with the ultra modern setting, the place boasted state of the art Mac equipment and fantastically hypnotic visual lights graphics streaming on the walls. As we watched Padmini test the Skype connections from the amphitheatre style seating, the place started to fill up with Edinburgh’s trendy bookish people. There were a couple of little glitches (isn’t there always with Skype!), but before long we were listening to Eli Horowitz all the way from San Francisco!

I have to admit I was a little surprised. From what I knew about McSweeney’s publishing house, I don’t think I had been expecting a corporate suited businessman, but I hadn’t been expecting a rather young bearded man in a hoodie either! Mr Horowitz was insouciant, very affable, and I definitely got the impression that he loved his job. His easy manner and clothes made me think of how I’ve heard google.com employees work, and I wondered if perhaps McSweeney’s have the same innovative yet relaxed attitude towards the workplace. Maybe America’s the place to be!

Padmini asked him some questions she had prepared and then took some questions from the audience. Unsurprisingly many of the questions centred around new technology and aspects of digital publishing, a subject that Sophie Rochester would pick up on during her talk. When asked why McSweeney’s website had stayed so simple and had had no redesigns since its conception, in contrast with all of the fancy flash-driven sites that its competitors boast, Horowitz explained that McSweeney’s had purposefully gone against the grain when designing their site, making it different from the norm in its simplicity, although he hinted that it may be getting a little out of date and that there could be significant developments in the not so distant future.

Next up was The Literary Platform’s Sophie Rochester who gave a fascinating presentation on her career, as well as addressing issues surrounding digital publishing in particular. It was especially interesting to learn about lots of new platforms emerging in this world, developments within ebooks, and conversely the reverting trend for big, beautiful, high quality books – and would this lead to even more beautifully designed and ornate ebooks? Again we had a broad range of questions from the audience, and issues ranging from piracy to the future of the ebook were discussed.

Afterwards we had the chance to mingle, and this was particularly advantageous for Meredith and Ina, who seized the opportunity to quiz a publisher at Canongate on issues that they hoped to discuss in their upcoming presentation on Canongate’s marketing strategies. What was especially interesting about this event was that it was primarily concerned with the issues surrounding new technology and the ramifications of its developments on the publishing world. All in all it was a very thought provoking and entertaining night and I’m very much looking forward to Electric Bookshop’s next event!

Christina O Brien

More pictures from the event can be found on Chris Scott’s photostream here.