Stephen Fry released his memoirs today, and he has done something remarkable with them. In addition to the book, “The Fry Chronicles” (buy it here at Amazon.co.uk), he has released a smart phone version called myFry (download the iPhone App here).
I am a huge Stephen Fry fan. I like his style – it is intelligent humour, with striking insights into the world around us. I like how he thinks. And I think he’s great. So, I cannot be an objective reviewer. I have to admit I couldn’t care what his app costs (it’s £ 7.99, so not cheap as apps go, and nearly the price of the hardcover book) – I bought it! I bought it because it’s Stephen Fry, and because I can now forever say that I bought the future of books on the very first day it became available. Because that’s what Stephen has done here. He has shown the way to a new way of creating book content.
It’s not perfect (of course not, it’s the first time it’s been done). But it is the future. What “my Fry” does is not just dump the text of the book into digital form (ala Kindle). Rather he has created an interactive menu and app-type experience for the reader. Here are some screen shots:
Of course this won’t work for every type of book. Stephen has deliberately written a book that is not designed to be read sequentially, so one can dip in and out of it. But this might be the first text truly designed for the Internet – which is precisely what you’d expect from the man.
Here is the YouTube video advert that promotes the book:
The concept he has grasped is that digital media is a different type of media. You therefore do not need to simply take the old style product (in this case, a book) and dump into the digital platform with very little format change. He’s shown that a new platform should give rise to a new format. my Fry is the future of books. And you saw it here first.