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  • Marble Hornets, a new kind of storytelling

    I hesitate to bring this project to wider public attention—both because I don’t want anyone to steal it and because I fear its creators might find some of way of afflicting the sinister, malevolent force at its center on me. But it’s just too blood-curdling a yarn not to share — though you wouldn’t guess it from the title: Marble Hornets.

    What is Marble Hornets? It appears to be some combination of ARG (Alternate Reality Game) and Blair Witch-esque horror narrative, all told through Twitter, YouTube, and a Wiki page started by those who find themselves a little obsessed with the story.

    You can visit the Twitter page to learn about the sequence of events up till now, but here’s the basic summary: A young man named Alex Kralie was making a film. In the process of making the film, he found himself haunted by a strange and sinister figure known as “the Slender Man,” a tall, blank faced apparition that began to appear mysteriously in the background of his footage. After a series of strange events, Alex transferred to another college, leaving all of his tapes with his friend J. J reviewed the tapes and began to post key moments of Alex’s footage on YouTube, moments that he found particularly disturbing or inexplicable. Many of them feature the sinister character of the Slender Man. J also posts comments to Twitter about how he doesn’t know where Alex is now, how he himself has begun to experience weird occurrences, and how he’s beginning to suspect that Alex was caught up in something truly dark and otherworldly. It’s a totally convincing, hair-raising story, and it’s told entirely through YouTube videos, some Twitter posts, and a wide ranging Internet back-story.

    What does this have to do with Vook? Marble Hornets is a new kind of narrative, a new kind of story, but it’s just as horribly, horrifically effective and frightening as an ancient ghost story. Whoever is behind Marble Hornets has figured out how to tell the perfect tale for our fractured digital lives. If you think storytelling is being destroyed by hyper connectivity and short attention spans you haven’t experienced Marble Hornets.

    Of course I’d love to see this story become a vook. The potential to really crank up the horror and the dark history and the strange coincidences are unlimited on the Vook platform. For now, I’ll have to be content waiting with everyone else for a new Twitter or YouTube post.

    Which, I’m beginning to suspect, is exactly what the Slender Man wants.

    Brad Inman presents at BISG’s Annual Meeting

    Vook founder Brad Inman gave a presentation at the Book Industry Study Group’s (BISG) Annual Meeting in Manhattan on Wednesday. BISG is the leading book industry association in the U.S.—the perfect audience for Vook. Brad discussed the new trends in the way people engage with media and how Vook integrates those different forms of media into one complete experience.

    Brad stressed that reading is evolving. From scrolls to Gutenberg to the Kindle, reading changes with technology. The digital revolution doesn’t mean the end of books—it means books will evolve and adapt. eBooks are the fastest growing segment of book publishing today with an average growth of 58% per year, versus an overall industry growth rate of 1.6% In June 2024 alone, eBook sales were up 136% from May 2024.

    While you might not see people carrying books in public, that doesn’t mean they don’t have them: Books are exploding on mobile devices. Ebooks are the fastest growing category on the iPhone with 1 million + book-related applications accounting for 11% of all downloads.

    When people aren’t reading websites and text online, they’re probably watching videos. From YouTube to online television, 77.8 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video. The average online video viewer watched 327 minutes of video, or nearly 5.5 hours. People have become accustomed to watching videos online — and they love doing it.

    And while people are enjoying online videos, they’re probably chatting with their friends. Social Networking growth has been huge.  In 2024, 44.2% of all Internet users will visit social networks at least once per month. Overall, there will be 88.1 million social network users in the US, a 10.8% increase from 2024. Book related social media is growing at the same pace: Visual Bookshelf has over 6 million users who have cataloged over 108 million books. WeRead on Facebook has nearly 2 million users who have cataloged over 45 million books.

    People live more and more of their lives on the Web. They’re reading online, watching videos, and chatting with their friends. A vook blends those experiences into one complete story. And you can do it all in the same place, in the same application, without the disruption of switching between mediums

    Brad went into more detail than we’re able to convey here, but this summary helps explain why what we’re doing at Vook taps in to how people experience media today–and why we’re going to make that experience richer, easier to access and more engaging.

    ePublishing Made Easy

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