Penguin Books has launched an ambitious web project to promote and accompany Khaled Hosseini’s novel And The Mountains Echoed, which will be released in paperback in the spring. A page-for-page ‘digital companion’ to the book, the site features 402 different mini experiences for fans to explore…
Created by Dare Toronto for Penguin Canada, The Echo Project (echoproject.ca) is a mix of videos, illustrations, audio recordings and interactive puzzles, and aims to allow readers to explore the themes contained within the novel in more detail. Watch the film below for more info on the project:
The Echo Project is the latest example of how publishers are experimenting with digital technology to reach out to new readers or launch books in an unusual way. Penguin previously collaborated with the London office of Dare to create the MyFry app to accompany Stephen Fry’s second autobiography, which allowed readers to enjoy Fry’s book in a non-linear fashion via mobiles.
The team at Dare Toronto was inspired by the way that newspapers and other mainstream media outlets are now incorporating music, video, maps and interviews to tell news stories in a rich and dynamic way. “A similar thinking was behind The Echo Project,” says Dare Toronto ECD Paul Little. “The difference for publishing is, and what we were concerned with, was to not ruin mental pictures or to take away from what’s great about reading. This is a companion to the reading experience.”
Khaled Hosseini has contributed to the website himself, alongside other authors and artists, and Canadian editors and TV personalities. Each contributor was invited to choose a page from the novel that inspired them and suggest what could appear on the corresponding page on the website. Some contributors actually provided a finished page for the site, but most simply told the creative team at Dare how they felt when they read the page in the book, and the agency then developed the web page on their behalf.
The site includes historical information about some of the scenes included in the novel, which journeys from Kabul to Paris, to San Francisco and to the Greek island of Tinos. It also references items intrinsic to Afghani culture, including wedding traditions and recipes. Some pages of the site are also deliberately left blank, with readers invited to propose ideas for what should appear on these.
Visit The Echo Project at echoproject.ca.
Agency: Dare Toronto
ECD: Paul Little
Associate creative director: Chris Obergfell
Art director: Craig Ferguson
Writer: Tal Wagman
Illustrators: Melissa Bashura, Leah Vlemmiks