Penguin goes online with World's 1st Wiki Novel

Penguin_1Penguin Books, publishers of bestsellers Tom Clancy, Stephen King, and Patricia Cornwell has gone online the first Web-based, collaborative novel that can be written, edited or read by anyone anywhere on a 'wiki' platform, the software behind Web the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (The first ever wiki site was created for the Portland Pattern Repository in 1995. That site now hosts tens of thousands of pages).

The novel, A Million Penguins, went live on Thursday and its first lines are already being written, edited and rewritten by enthusiasts on

Penguin says it is using the novel as a test of whether a group of disparate and diverse people can create a "believable fictional voice" or a bowl of alphabet spaghetti or, like the proverbial thousand monkeys, a world masterpiece.

The first chapter includes Carlo, a troubled man walking his dog, and "on the other side of the globe" a seductive murderer, Tom Morouse, known as the "Tango poisoner".

The experimental novel, which Penguin says is the first 'wiki novel' to be started from scratch by a major publishing house, will be online for at least six weeks.

Posted by Jason McManus.


Google Unbound - Creating "iTunes" for Books

Menander Google and some of the world’s top publishers are working on plans that they hope could do for books what Apple’s iTunes has done for music.

With 380 million people using Google each month, the move would give a significant boost to the development of e-books and have a serious impact on the publishing industry and book retailers.

According to Jens Redmer, director of Google Book Search in Europe, after many years of setbacks the electronic book looked poised to go main-stream. Commuters in Japan are already reading entire novels on their mobile phones.

Sony recently launched its Reader, a digital book device with an online book store stocking 10,000 titles. Amazon, the world’s largest online book seller, is also planning to launch an e-book service.

Google Book-Search users can search the book and see snippets relevant to their search; web links then guide readers to sites such as Amazon where they can buy a physical copy of the book. Major publishers such as Penguin, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster are among those involved in the project.

E-book advocate and science-fiction author, Cory Doctorow of web-directory Boing Boing, said, in effect, that publishers should send Google fruitbaskets for vastly expanding their market.