A collaborative book-writing project launched in April by independent press Perseus Books will come to fruition this weekend at BookExpo America (BEA) in New York City. From Friday to Sunday, the press will publish Book: The Sequel, a compilation of first lines of imagined sequels to existing books submitted by the public, in as many formats as possible, including print, audiobook, and e-book—with most of the production done live at their BEA booth.
Along with readers around the world who, according to the Shelf Awareness newsletter, have submitted the first lines of nearly six hundred imagined books, Perseus is collaborating with a handful of literary ventures to realize the project. Among the publishing partners are Daily Lit, which serializes books via e-mail or RSS feed; ReadHowYouWant, which sells books in a variety of formats including Braille and large type; and audiobook purveyor Audible, Inc.
By initiating the Book: The Sequel project, Perseus "wanted to suggest that book publishing is not the quiet, slow, gentlemanly industry that it used to be many years ago—it’s actually very active," Clive Priddle, vice president of Perseus imprint PublicAffairs, said yesterday on New York City public radio’s Brian Lehrer Show. Priddle added that public response to the project proves that "people love books in the traditional form, but that they’re prepared to have fun with them in all kinds of new ways as well."
PublicAffairs marketing manager Lindsay Goodman told Shelf Awareness that the most parodied books in the project have been Pride and Prejudice, the Bible, The Great Gatsby, Moby-Dick, and 1984, along with titles from the Harry Potter series. The most popular authors have been Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Orwell, William Shakespeare, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Entrants will find out on May 30 whether their lines have been selected for publication.
Editing, printing, jacket design, binding, and sale of the book will take place this weekend at the Perseus Books booth, number 4227, at the Javits Center in New York City. More information about the project is available on the Book: The Sequel Web site.