It’s A Book. It’s An App. It’s Do or Die And It’s Innovative.

It took me nearly a year to finally get my book ready to publish on Amazon, so it was interesting to hear the backstory behind Do or Die, the new app/e-book/something by Clark Kokich, the Chairman of Razorfish. Co-written with Larry Asher of Worker Bees, Do or Die looks at the way advertising and marketing is changing.

Those changing forces affected the final product. As mentioned on the book’s website, Kokich talks about what happened as he was working out the book’s title with the publisher:

Two days before I hit the “send” button on that email with the 39 titles, something a bit more earthshaking happened in the world of publishing: The first Apple iPad went on sale. Many people — including more than a few book publishers — failed to realize at the time just how transformative this news was…

As we brainstormed, we began to imagine a book optimized for the iPad and other tablets — one that would include videos of interviews with CMOs, plus ways to view case histories by allowing readers to access live websites and Twitter feeds embedded into the stories, and then give readers a way to comment and share ideas with each other. In short, it would be the ultimate expression of practicing what we preach.

So the book was nearly two years in the making. The result is anything but a traditional, linear book experience. You can read the narrative, listen to audio of the narrative, read case studies (from many different agencies and brands) see and play embedded videos and ad samples, watch interviews, make comments at the end of each chapter that get added to an ongoing discussion, and jump off to Facebook and Twitter or email directly from the app. And that’s all for starters.

The format takes some getting used to, and it’s easy for an attention span-challenged person like me to go down a side path. Which will mean publishers who work on projects like this will have to consider the effect: that readers may simply skip whole parts of the book altogether, quite possibly not knowing where all of the content is.

But Do or Die is quite an innovative work, even if it promotes Kokich and Razorfish as much as it advocates new ways of thinking. For AdPulp, I get way too many “the whole world is changing” books by new media types that come in an old-school hardcover edition. I like books you can hold, but Do or Die brings the experience to a heightened level.

Is this the future of publishing? Possibly. As rich as the content is, it truly takes a large group of people to pull this off, as reflected in the credits. It seems to me we’ll see a great chasm in the publishing world—folks like me who can publish books as a one-person show, and people like Kokich and his team who can produce multi-layered, content-rich experiences that take books to a whole new level.

Do or Die is available starting today in the iTunes App Store.

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About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • Larry Asher

    Dan – thanks so much for the kind words about Do or Die. We certainly did think about the possibility that the content won’t always be consumed in a linear fashion — or as whole cloth. That meant we had to write it as modules, and then stitch things together. I hope this works well for our readers.

  • Clark Kokich

    It’s true it took a lot of people to create Do or Die, but only because it was a one-off custom project.  There’s no reason smart publishers can’t create their own platform to easily deliver content with the same degree of flexibility and immersion.