I was sitting in class during the first week of my new program when the topic of innovative technology in the digital formats of books continuously came up, and all I could think to myself was, where have I seen an example of this before? Luckily, my memory soon gave me the answer: Georgetown Academy by Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz.
Back in 2013, I was using a website called Figment.com. The website offered various contests promising publication, and I was one of those aspiring writers that checked the site every day, eagerly awaiting the next once in a lifetime contest. So you can imagine my excitement when a brand new summertime contest was announced. Etting and Schwartz were about to release the third installment of their Georgetown Academy series, and they promised to publish the winning entry at the back of the new eBook. All you had to do was read the first book and write a five hundred word story inspired by it.
Within seconds, I had downloaded the Kindle app onto my 4th generation iPod Touch (I didn’t yet own my child Kobo Aura). Now, I should note that I wrote a pretty decent story that didn’t end up winning, but my experience reading that first book of the series really changed the way I looked at eBook technology.
In brief, Georgetown Academy is a series of eBooks that follows four characters attending an elite school in the D.C. district: Ellie, Brinley, Evan, and Taryn. It’s a decent YA series that features many gripping and surprising storylines. The catch? The reader gets to choose which character’s story they want to follow!
The series was developed by a now non-existent digital publishing company called Coliloquy, which was dedicated to producing innovative stories. Georgetown Academy had been developed using technology that allowed users to follow the storylines of their favourite characters by selecting hyperlinks that would jump to the pages of the eBook containing that character’s storyline. In other words, they put out digital choose-your-own-adventure novels. The simple makeup of these eBooks allowed the novels to work correctly on all devices, showing smart thinking on Coliloquy’s part.
Despite Coliloquy’s demise, Georgetown Academy’s innovative storytelling continues to be praised by the reading community. One Goodreads user said:
This is pretty much four stories in one, and each character brings something different to the story. The reader … has the option to follow only one or two or all four stories at once … From chapter six you can choose which character’s story you want to follow, or, like me, you can follow all four story lines. I didn’t want to miss out on a single thing.
Thinking back, I feel really optimistic for the future of technology in publishing. If an eBook series can achieve this much success, then that proves that innovative technology very well belongs in the publishing industry.
You can purchase Georgetown Academy, Season One here!