Posted on August 5, 2013 in Archive

Penguin launches Australian digital story platform


Late last month, the Australian branch of Penguin launched True Stories, a website dedicated to the real life memoirs of Australians. What does the launch of this Australia digital story platform mean for the industry?

The stories featured on the site are delivered in a uniquely digital format: a combination of text, audio, and visual.

The first story featured on the site is that of Father Bob Maguire, a 79-year-old priest renowned for his work with underprivileged Australians and his recent forced retirement.

Titled, Father Bob the Larrikin Priest, the immersive text is based on the book of the same name by Sue Williams, and readers have the option of buying a print or digital edition of the book through the website.

True Stories tells Father Bob’s tale in the form of an interactive portrait containing four separate chapters that correspond to four periods in his life.

Each chapter introduces new layers to the story, in an attempt to engage the reader and make them feel connected to the enigmatic priest.

Readers can progress through the story in a linear fashion, or investigate individual chapters one at a time – and all for free.

Father Bob’s past comes alive onscreen through the use of video, audio, interviews with family and friends, photographs, social media feeds and interactive maps.

Readers don’t need to wade through pages and pages of text… instead, they can listen to important characters from Father Bob’s life tell the story to them.

In short, it is a perfect example of what digital publishing can produce.

Australian digital story platform - Photo of True Stories website

Penguin Australia – applying a digital formula to storytelling

Penguin’s creative director – digital, Kylie Robertson, said the platform is for next generation reading experiences: “stories that lift off the page and onto screens with an elegant mix of interactivity and layered content”.

Penguin are marketing the website as, “a reading experience beyond words” and on that note, they’re not wrong.

The engaging reading experience offered by Penguin is exciting because not only is it a commendable example of digital publishing, but also it is quintessentially Australian.

I can’t wait to see who will star in True Stories’ next visual documentary.