Alexander McCall Smith: audio + print, chapter at a time

Publishing times, they are a-changin’

Whether it’s a novel published by cell phone, as a podiobook, via Twitter, or a poem from Booker Prize winner Ben Okri tweeted line-by-line, literature has made the jump from printed page to computer cloud. Alexander McCall Smith, author of the marvelous No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series, offers his newest book in a novel fashion. Readers who discover Smith through HBO’s television adaptation of No. 1 Ladies premiering on March 29th will be thrilled to learn about his no-cost digital novel.

The Telegraph, a daily newspaper in London, serialized McCall’s The Corduroy Mansions by posting a chapter a day on their website, along with clickable brief character sketches. This project was Smith’s second serialization effort – read his introduction to the novel here. Readers were able to leave comments, which Smith incorporated into the plot as he wrote. Along with the print segments, available online as a daily email or feed, all 100 chapters were also available as a daily podcast. Audiobook narrator extraordinaire Andrew Sachs (yes, Manuel from Faulty Towers) recorded each chapter, which appeared online simultaneously with the print chapter on the Telegraph site and as an iTunes podcast. These recordings will be later released as an audiobook by Little, Brown with minimal editing or changes. Combine the Telegraph’s Corduroy Mansion Facebook page, widgets, feeds, online videos, podcasts, and a challenge to readers to create their own online work (even a Google Maps layout!) – this event has all the attributes of the ultimate toggle experience!



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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