CSI Creator Launches Interactive iPad Book

CSI Creator and author of the Level 26 trilogy Anthony Zuiker has a new interactive book available on the iPad. The Dark Prophecy app, which was previously released as a hardcover book, brings the book to life through sound, touch and visual elements to the book. eBookNewser caught up with Zuiker to discuss the new format.

EBN: Why are you releasing this book as an iPad app?

AZ: Years ago, when I first started working on the digi-novel, there wasn’t a device available to combine all of the elements into one place. You had to buy the hardcover, log-in online to watch the videos, go back to the book. It was all a bit clunky (and still is). When we released Dark Origins, we created an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It did okay and is still selling well. However, reading a 400 page book on a tiny screen like that is less than ideal and it was still not the best device for a digi-novel. Then, the iPad was released, and I was like ‘Finally!’

It came out right when we started shooting the cyber-bridges for book two, Dark Prophecy, so we immediately started soliciting bids from various developers and finally went with Hooray Society. There was a never a version where I didn’t create an app for the iPad. It just offers too much to say. Dark Prophecy for iPad is truly the ultimate version of the digi-novel, fulfilling my original vision for what this thing can be.

EBN: How are you taking advantage of the iPad’s capabilities to help tell the story?

AZ: I’ve always thought of the Digi-novel as an interactive experience. It’s not just a book, it’s not just a book and a movie, but it’s all that combined with interactive elements. Prior to the iPad, that meant logging into a website. Now, it’s all contained within the read. Since an app is essentially a computer program, there are so many things you can do. It’s almost limitless.

Within Dark Prophecy for iPad, the reader can choose three different reading modes: regular eBooks, Digi-novel, which is both the book and cyber-bridges, and the ultimate Digi-novel, which has all the additional interactive elements.

Readers can collect evidence as they consume the book, listen to Steve Dark’s analysis of the evidence, view character bios and gather suspects. We have 10 interactive Tarot cards that are not only fun to play with but provide the meaning of the cards. Music and sound effects are incorporated into the read. Page effects pop up as you read, timed to certain parts in the story. You may be reading about blood dripping down a character’s leg and all of the sudden blood starts dripping your screen. A gunshot breaks your screen right as a character fires in the book.

In the end, the story is all contained within the book. The videos, the page effects, the bios and evidence are all elements that enhance the reader’s experience. That’s really what we were aiming for when we created the app.

EBN: Will it be released in other digital formats and readable on other devices like Kindle, Nook Color, etc.?

AZ: Since the hardcover launched in October 2010, it has always been available on those devices. However, those are all text only, traditional eBooks. The app, obviously, goes several steps further, including the cyber-bridges, audio, music, and many more interactive elements, to create an interactive experience never before experienced. As the eBook is currently available on those devices (and since they don’t offer the numerous capabilities of the iPad) we will probably not be offer an enhanced version for the Kindle, Nook Color, or Sony eReader.