Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Upcoming Scholastic Series Could Be Paperless, NY Times excerpt

Will a game help children's books?

  • Article by: JULIE BOSMAN , New York Times
  • Updated: December 26, 2011
Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of the "Harry Potter" novels, is set to introduce another major series.

"Infinity Ring," a seven-book series on time travel with an online game component, will begin its rollout in September, the publisher announced. The first book, "A Mutiny in Time," will be written by James Dashner, the bestselling author of "The Maze Runner."

As it did with "The 39 Clues," a multimedia series first released in 2008, Scholastic will promote "Infinity Ring" to try to continue the momentum it started more than a decade ago when it released the first of J.K. Rowling's books in the United States.

Like "The 39 Clues," the new series is intended for ages 8 to 12 and will explore historical events in the print books and online game.

"I would never put anything in the same category as 'Harry Potter,'" said David Levithan, a publisher and editorial director of the trade division of Scholastic. "But certainly we think that it's on the same level as '39 Clues.' "

There will be at least one major difference: Unlike "Harry Potter" and "The 39 Clues," the new series will be released at a time when children reading "Infinity Ring" could skip paper entirely, reading the books and playing the online game on a smartphone or tablet.

The series will be about best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste, who have found the key to time travel, a handheld device called the Infinity Ring. Once they discover the device, the pair are swept into a secret war over the future of mankind and are sent to travel back in time to change the events when history went off course.

Along the way, Dak and Sera encounter historical figures like Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Louis XVI and Harriet Tubman. Children reading the books and playing the online game can interact with the characters and press them for historical information.

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