Narrative Maps for ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Books

 

Maps like the ones Chooseco created can reveal the structure of a book that gives readers choices, but though the multiple story lines are part of what makes the series so fun, they’re not the only thing that defines it. The meat of “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories are gender-neutral romps in worlds where there are no obviously right or wrong moral choices. There’s danger around bend, usually in the form of something like space monkeys, malicious ghosts, or conniving grown-ups. Even with a map, there’s no way to find out what really comes next without making a choice and flipping to another page.

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How real books have trumped ebooks

 

Book covers looked very different a decade ago when the appearance of e-readers seemed to flummox a publishing industry reeling from the financial crisis and Amazon’s rampant colonisation of the market. Publishers responded to the threat of digitisation by making physical books that were as grey and forgettable as ebooks. It was an era of flimsy paperbacks and Photoshop covers, the publishers’ lack of confidence manifest in the shonkiness of the objects they were producing. But after reaching a peak in 2014, sales of e-readers and ebooks have slowed and hardback sales have surged. The latest figures from the Publishing Association showed ebook sales falling 17% in 2016, with an 8% rise in their physical counterparts. At the same time, publishers’ production values have soared and bookshops have begun to fill up with books with covers of jewel-like beauty, often with gorgeously textured pages. As the great American cover designer Peter Mendelsund put it to me, books have “more cloth, more foil, more embossing, page staining, sewn bindings, deckled edges”.

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You can’t judge a book by its cover – if you’re a robot

 

Back in September, a report suggested that robots will have eliminated 6% of jobs in the US by 2021. Fortunately for book designers, it doesn’t look as if androids are about to take over cover design any time soon. MIT Technology Review points us towards a new machine-vision algorithm dreamed up by academics at Kyushu University in Japan. In a new paper, Brian Kenji Iwana and Seiichi Uchida explain how they trained a deep neural network “to predict the genre of a book based on the visual clues provided by its cover”.

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You can’t judge a book by its cover – if you’re a robot

 

Back in September, a report suggested that robots will have eliminated 6% of jobs in the US by 2021. Fortunately for book designers, it doesn’t look as if androids are about to take over cover design any time soon. MIT Technology Review points us towards a new machine-vision algorithm dreamed up by academics at Kyushu University in Japan. In a new paper, Brian Kenji Iwana and Seiichi Uchida explain how they trained a deep neural network “to predict the genre of a book based on the visual clues provided by its cover”.

Read the full story here

You can’t judge a book by its cover – if you’re a robot

 

Back in September, a report suggested that robots will have eliminated 6% of jobs in the US by 2021. Fortunately for book designers, it doesn’t look as if androids are about to take over cover design any time soon. MIT Technology Review points us towards a new machine-vision algorithm dreamed up by academics at Kyushu University in Japan. In a new paper, Brian Kenji Iwana and Seiichi Uchida explain how they trained a deep neural network “to predict the genre of a book based on the visual clues provided by its cover”.

Read the full story here

You can’t judge a book by its cover – if you’re a robot

 

Back in September, a report suggested that robots will have eliminated 6% of jobs in the US by 2021. Fortunately for book designers, it doesn’t look as if androids are about to take over cover design any time soon. MIT Technology Review points us towards a new machine-vision algorithm dreamed up by academics at Kyushu University in Japan. In a new paper, Brian Kenji Iwana and Seiichi Uchida explain how they trained a deep neural network “to predict the genre of a book based on the visual clues provided by its cover”.

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This website recommends novels by making sure you can’t judge a book by its cover

 

There’s an old adage that says “don’t judge a book by its cover.” And while that’s usually used metaphorically to discourage making judgements of a person or situation based on initial impressions, there’s no reason why you couldn’t interpret it literally to refer to actually judging works of literature. That’s the idea behind recommendmeabook.com, which takes the idea of not judging a book by its cover and takes it to the natural conclusion.

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You can’t judge a book by its cover – if you’re a robot

 

Back in September, a report suggested that robots will have eliminated 6% of jobs in the US by 2021. Fortunately for book designers, it doesn’t look as if androids are about to take over cover design any time soon. MIT Technology Review points us towards a new machine-vision algorithm dreamed up by academics at Kyushu University in Japan. In a new paper, Brian Kenji Iwana and Seiichi Uchida explain how they trained a deep neural network “to predict the genre of a book based on the visual clues provided by its cover”.

Read the full story here

Old book, new look: why the classics are flying off the shelves

 

This autumn, though, they’re offering something new: a range of hardbacks offering “unique content” – a collection of an author’s works that hasn’t been presented this way before, or a new translation of a classic. Their design is flamboyantly simple: no dust jacket but a cloth binding, a cream background on which title and author are printed vertically with a single tiny image on the top. Gothic Tales by Arthur Conan Doyle features a descending crow, Homer’s Odyssey shows an image of Odysseus dwarfed by the cyclops Polyphemus, Poems of the First World War offers a soldier’s helmet. They look fantastic – but who are they for? “We’re working a lot with the production team to make them look very collectible and tactile, to appeal to the gift market,” says Gough.

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Review of Design Sprint: A Practical Guidebook for Building Great Digital Products

Design Sprint: A Practical Guidebook for Building Great Digital Products by Richard Banfield
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s a lot of evidence to suggest the book wasn’t even proofed before it was published. There are spelling mistakes all over it and even an entire paragraph repeated on pages 158 and 162. 

It’s a short book padded out with irrelevant or uselessly vague anecdotes and photos that don’t relate to the topic under discussion. 
For example page 168 discusses how to use a 2×2 matrix. The text says ‘draw a Cartesian coordinate “+” on a board. A what? How big? Frustratingly there’s a large image on the opposite page… But it’s not a 2×2 matrix. I don’t know what it is, it seems to be random scribbling. It has nothing to do with the text and anyone who has never seen a 2×2 matrix or knows what a Cartesian coordinate + is, will not be enlightened. Opportunity missed. 

It could have been much better – ‘show don’t tell’ is one of the key lessons we get drummed into us at school and if the authors had followed that advice this would have been a fantastic book. As it is it’s frustrating. The ideas are good. The suggested agendas are useful. The execution is poor. 

A particular issue is that the book is clearly focused on digital design. But that clarity is only apparent when you start reading it. This makes it even more frustrating for anyone designing communications, services or other things – there’s a lot of translation needed to make it useful. 
I want to recommend this book as it’s potentially beneficial. But it’s a good example of what’s missing in the literature on design sprints rather than a long-lasting contribution to it. 

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