Regan Arts is launching its line of hybrid book/technology products on Oct. 28 with The Virtual Reality Beginners Guide and VR Smartphone Toolkit. The kit contains a 40-page book coauthored by TechCrunch writer Frederic Lardinois and DODOcase founder Patrick Buckley—the novelty is the Google-designed viewer it comes with, which readers will use in conjunction with their smartphone to create a virtual-reality headset. “This title is not just a book, it’s an experience,” a press release states.
Regan Arts, a venture between publisher Phaidon and former HarperCollins executive Judith Regan, says the cardboard head-mount and lenses in the kit will provide a “constantly expanding trove of immersive 3-D virtual experiences” to anybody with a smartphone and $25.95 to spend. “For millions, virtual reality is now accessible at a ridiculously low price,” Buckley said. Regan Arts will make iPhone apps available to power the experience. “Books are the oldest version of virtual reality,” says Regan, and The Virtual Reality Beginners Guide will “bring us beyond the book or screen, and past 3D.” [Publishers Weekly]
On Saturday, Hachette sponsored a lunch organized by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) in honor of author James Patterson. Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch’s remarks to the crowd at the Sheraton Hotel in Norfolk, Virginia. The luncheon took place amid the ongoing Hachette-Amazon negotiations, and Pietsch told the crowd (a collection of independent booksellers and authors), “Thank you for your support during this time. In difficult times you find out who your friends are.” He also noted, “Our sales of print books are up over 2013.”
When Patterson took the floor, he spoke to the issue more directly, chanting, “Go Amazon, Go Amazon. And I mean, Go!” to laughter from the crowd. On a more serious note, he asked, “Why can’t we have more American companies who are also ethical about how they do [business]?” [Publishers Weekly]
Brooklyn-based poet Casey Rocheteau, 29, is the first winner of the Write a House Project, an initiative started to encourage writers to live and work in Detroit. In November, Rocheteau will move into her new home in the recently bankrupt city, where she will live and write as its first official writer-in-residence. The property was in foreclosure until the Write a House Project fixed bought and fixed it up with the help of another local nonprofit. After two years, Rocheteau will receive the deed. “I’m thinking of a city that is currently undergoing this regeneration,” the poet says of Detroit. “It’s a city that’s seen a lot and taken a lot of abuse.” [The Los Angeles Times]
The Rona Jaffe Foundation awarded six writers a $30,000 cash prize at their 2014 Writers’ Award ceremonies in New York City last week. The winning authors are Olivia Clare (fiction), Karen Hays (nonfiction), Danielle Jones-Pruett (poetry), T.L. Khleif (fiction), Mara Naselli (nonfiction), and Solmaz Sharif (poetry). [GalleyCat]