This is sort of outside my research into non-linear books, but I thought this was an interesting publication platform. Booktrack allows authors to create sound tracks for their books and then publish them on the Booktrack website. Readers can set their reading speed, put on some headphones, and read the book. It’s an interesting experiment and all the books are free so go try it out!
A sub-section of a non-linear novel was developed to test and demonstrate the non-linear eBook reader Adventurous Reader. The sections of this novel and how they connect together are shown in the networks below. It’s easy to see that this graph is going to get very messy, which is problematic because an interactive network will be the reader’s navigational tool as opposed to a table of contents. Considering that network visualization is a difficult problem to solve, I began research on how to better dynamically generate networks for Adventurous Reader.
Before visualizing non-linear book networks though, I needed a way to represent them. Adventurous Reader is being developed in Python, so I began by researching Python’s network/graph libraries and found networkx. This library stores networks as nested dictionary objects. Each node can store multiple attributes, including complex objects, and graphs can be directed or undirected. networkx also can write networks to files and read from files of various formats, which is important when it comes to saving the reader’s progress. It also has very basic node layout and visualization methods, but these are not powerful enough to create usable networks for complex non-linear novels.
As part of the development of the non-linear ePub Reader Adventurous Reader, a story that takes advantage of how it will be viewed within it will be developed. This story should demonstrate that reading non-linear content within Adventurous Reader is significantly different from viewing it in a traditional linear reader and serve as an example of the types of non-linear and interactive books that can be written to engage readers in today’s world of fast-paced, short, various, and vast entertainments.
The story in development makes use of optional sections and storylines to create an experience that allows the reader to consume a short story but encourages them to explore the concepts discussed within it. In this way, the reader can have an experience that is as long or as short as desired. While there is enough material to make this story book length, developing a subset of the book’s content will suffice in testing the Adventurous Reader concept.