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CSI creator’s digital novel to be sold via mobile

November 2, 2009

Print alive on the iPhone

Print alive on the iPhone

Anthony E. Zuiker, the creator of CBS’ hit drama “CSI” has written what he is claiming to be the first-ever digital novel available in the Apple App Store.

After every 20 pages of written word, consumers are served a video that provides expanded visual features to bring the story to life where the written part of the book leaves off. The novel, “Level 26: Dark Origins,” is also available in print.

“The idea is to create the ultimate reading experience for mobile and PC users,” said Mr. Zuiker, author of Level 26: Dark Origins, Los Angeles. “The digi-novel is tailor made for a device in which you can read the book and watch the movie theater quality cyber-bridges seamlessly.

“We have created the mobile version for the iPhone and iTouch, and the desktop version for the consumer’s personal computer and those who don’t own the Apple devices,” he said. We wanted to cater to our culture’s obsession with convergence and mobility.

“The beauty of the app is that there’s no putting the book down, getting up, logging in, watching the video,” he said. “Everything is contained within this app on one screen.

As consumers flip through the pages,  they will be prompted to watch the video without any sort of distraction or interruption.

Mr. Zuiker said that the idea is to create a seamless experience that takes the ereader concept a step beyond where it is now.

The novel, part one in a trilogy, was written by Mr. Zuiker and crime novelist and comic book scribe Duane Swierczynski.

Level 26: Dark Origins tells the tale of a forensic proof serial killer who’s existence has been concealed from the public.

Consumers can download the book from the App Store for $12.99.

The videos in the application version feature actors, crime scene documents and special interactive features. 

In addition to the videos in the digital space, the book’s Web site at includes a full social network, Mr. Zuiker’s blog and other bonus material.

On the site, fans will be able to create their own storylines, ask the author questions, and offer input on upcoming books in the Level 26 series.

Mr. Zuiker said that this multiplatform strategy was designed to reach a very wide demographic.

“We believe that both males and females anywhere from 18-49 would not only enjoy, but benefit from this multiplatform approach,” Mr. Zuiker said.

EQAL, the creative Web team behind the “lonelygirl15” hoax on YouTube, partnered with Mr. Zuiker to create the book’s Web site.

The application was built by 23 Divide.
The novel was published by Dutton, a division of Penguin Group, in September.

Mr. Zuiker said that the application addressed several key issues for him and the publisher.

“Our biggest challenge was finding the best medium for the book,” Mr. Zuiker said. “People enjoy the book and the cyber-bridges on their own, but having to put down the book to log in and watch the bridges seems to be a hurdle for our readers. 

“With the app and iTunes Extras, we do not face that issue, it seems to be the best outlet for the digi-novel,” he said. “When creating a new medium, there are always challenges. 

“We’re ready to take them on and make sure that this project is the best that it can be.

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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