Serial Box is the publishing company looking to reinvent the way we read

Serialised fiction is an old idea, but it could have some new tricks

Calling themselves ‘a new kind of publishing company for a new age’, Serial Box is a company looking to change up the way we read. They claim that although storytelling on television has developed and become more sophisticated, books haven’t really changed at all; we have ebooks and although they’ve made the platform on which we read more portable, the experience of reading itself is not necessarily any more fun or social.

Taking a leaf from television’s script book, Serial Box intend to take long stories, break them into smaller parts and release these parts with podcasts with readers able to follow along on any device they can, be it ereader, web reader, or iOS. Each story will be the collaborative effort of award-winning writers, who will build up the larger narrative with each short instalment. With each episode taking around 40 minutes to read or listen to, and being released weekly, the experience is much like watching your favourite television show. The episodes will cost around £1.20 for text or audio, and £2.20 for both. The best option, though, is to sign up for a subscription which will get you both text and audio for around £1 each episode, as well as having the episodes delivered straight to your device upon release.

If you’re interested in having a look, a pilot of the first story, Bookburners, has already been released with a summary:

‘Magic is real, and hungry — trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor. Her brother wasn’t so lucky. Freshly awake to just what dangers are lurking, she joins a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad — but the demons she’s hunting may be hunting her in turn.’

Bookburners is set to have 16 parts and is written by Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, and Brian Francis Slattery.

Although the idea of serialisation is not original (see the Victorians) this is an interesting time to bring it back, what with the popularity of podcasts. The combination of audio and print release not only makes the stories more accessible, the episodic format means that audiences will be reading the same stories at the same pace allowing for discussion, speculation, and communal anticipation of the next release. It’s an opportunity to create a much more social reading experience than we’re used to, and that definitely seems like a good thing.

If you want to get involved, you can head to Serial Box’s website and subscribe for the first season.


Main Image: © Serial Box