The Atavist

Last month I saw journalist turned boutique publisher Evan Ratliff give a live talk/presentation of his impressive new venture  The Atavist:

“The Atavist is a boutique publishing house producing original nonfiction stories for digital, mobile reading devices. We created a new genre of nonfiction, a digital form that lies in the space between long narrative magazine articles and traditional books and e-books.”

So, yeah, long form non-fiction published digitally. The hook (besides well-written, well-researched, thoughtful pieces) is–if you have an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad–their unique digital platform. The multi-media that accompanies each piece truly enhances the stories. Embedded pop-ups include maps, personality histories, side bars, audio clips, images related to the story, video, and on and on. Watch the youtube video below for a demo. It’s impressive stuff, and for the first time, I feel like I’m seeing digital reading taking full advantage of the medium’s possibilities. (The publisher app is free, then each story costs $2.99 ; you chose whether or not to purchase)

Thus far, I’ve read Lifted, a story about an elaborate government bank heist in Sweeden (the story includes, as it’s stunning prologue, actual surveillance footage from the break in–clips included in the youtube clip below) and Baghdad Country Club (animated prologue included below), a story about a bar set up in the Green Zone during the height of the Iraq war.

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