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New Concept eBook Format TREEbook Introduces Time as a Story Telling Element

What luck. On a day when I posted about an old innovation in ebooks I also get to post about a new innovation which is coming next year.

Medallion Media has just unveiled Treebook, their revolutionary new ebook format. If you’ve tried the various choose your own adventure ebooks (like Coliloquy) then you’re probably familiar with the idea of making decisions which affect the outcome of the story.

With the new Treebook format decisions are made for you based on your reading habits, how long it takes to finish a passage, and so on.

The word Treebook stands for Timed Reading Experience eBook, and Medallion sees it as going far beyond simply adding video, audio, or animation to an ebook.  The new Treebook format will enable publishers and authors to build a network of storylines into an ebook with readers switching from one story to the next based on their behavior or even lack of action.

“The Treebook is a time sensitive e-book with multiple story branches and the beauty is the passivity of the technology,” said Medallion president Adam Mock . “There aren’t active decisions to be made—its not a choose your own ending approach—you can read the book without being aware that the story is changing. The time triggers are not in your face.”

I wouldn’t expect to see it any time soon. Medallion doesn’t plan to have their reading app out until this fall with their first ebook coming next year. Medallion’s first release will be Gregory Lamberson’s The Julian Years, a murder mystery. The base story line should be readable on any Epub compatible ereader, but the more sophisticated features will only work on Medallion’s reading app.

They also plan to release a suite of tools in October so authors and publishers can developer their own titles, though there are no plans yet on how much the tools will cost.

As interesting as the technology might be, I can already tell that this is something I won’t use more that twice. The mysterious nature of having the ebook change the plotline would put me off the second or third time I picked up the ebook. Also, I have enough other things to read that I don’t need to be confounded for something to keep my attention.




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