I was looking up author, David Carr, after using a quote from him in my previous post. His is a fascinating story captured in his book, The Night of the Gun.
Since every book today has a companion web site, I nearly skipped it, assuming it was another content dump with blurbs and links. I was wrong! It’s a trove of context, not content.
- One of the tabs opens a page laid out in a grid of 60-squares. Click on each square and it takes you deeper into Carr’s story by way of candid interviews, photos, scanned documents etc.
- Another tab has a timeline, which takes you on an online experience you couldn’t even come close to in the pages of a book.
The publisher, Simon and Schuster, notes that it created a database of content because Carr ended up with a large stack of material, recording his thoughts and interviews using many formats – video, audio, notes etc.
With help from the New York Times‘ digital guy, (a ‘User Interface Specialist!) they built a site as a multi-media backdrop, or more precisely, a back-story, to his memoir.
While it makes for a novel way to market a book, we could learn some important lessons in how to surround any other form of communication with rich, contextual information.
In the end The Night of the Gun is more than a book -a living story that cannot be contained within templates, hard covers or style sheets.