"Book trailers" have been all the rage as a promotional tool lately; the vignettes for Charles Bock's characters in Beautiful Children are particularly cinematic. Now Newsweek reports that Penguin Books UK and Six to Start have a new project to tell the stories of books online — using new media, get it? While the digital retelling of these stories still uses words, those words are on Twitter and Google Maps.

But getting away from Twitter is exactly the reason we read books!

The six-week-long project [called 'We Tell Stories']... debuts a new story every week, each loosely based on a different classic novel and taking a different form. In the second story, for example, Toby Litt's "Slice," the main character uses blog entries and Twitter text messages to convey her discoveries about a haunted house. The third story, which will be released this week, is a customizable fairy tale, and future stories could utilize anything from Flickr photosets to online calendars (the publishers won't say exactly what form the unreleased stories will take).
Here's an example of the Google-map novel, Charles Cumming's The 21 Steps :

While it's ambitious and great for publicity, the process of reading a Google Map novel involves a whole lot of pointing and clicking and makes me feel like I'm at work. There's got to be a better way for publishers to get people to read more books... using actual books. Um, right?


[We Tell Stories]