There’s nothing like a decent product giveaway to light up Twitter screens. Seriously, search for #LEVEL26 on Twitter lately and it’s a near constant stream of entries into a daily drawing for custom Level 26 HD Flip cams. Apparently despite all the backlash over so-called sponsored tweets, that eager young tweeters are still pushovers when it comes to giving away a decent gadget.
The 7-day contest, which runs through the 15th, is a promotion tied into the launch of Level 26: Dark Origins this week. The crime novel hit shelves on Tuesday and the eighteen corresponding 3-5 minute “cyberbridges” went live on the Level26.com site. From the mind of CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, the whole project is being called the world’s first Digi-Novel, essentially a combination of novel and web series woven together. This is the first of three novels in the Level 26 series as part of a million dollar deal from Dutton publishing, all of which are said to be following this same model.
I had a chance to dive into this earlier this summer after a sneak preview release of the book and series at Comic-Con, and this isn’t your parents’ CSI in book form. Sqweegel, the salacious killer on which the story centers, only becomes creepier when firing up the cyberbridge episodes and seeing human contortion you didn’t know was possible.
The 400-page book itselfcould be read on its own, though the same can’t be said about the web series, which despite needing the unlock codes from the novel, jumps around too much to follow independently. And some have noted that the process of moving from physical novel to laptop screen can be a bit tedious. Curiously, the most engaging method of experiencing both components, an all-in-one iPhone app, isn’t due out until mid-October.
There’s also the community site itself, built by the lonelygirl15 creators at EQAL with their new Umbrella platform. Zuiker hasn’t been shy about posting candid blog entries and videos and so far the active community seems to be along for the ride. The site even has tracking of which members are at what chapter in the book based on who has unlocked the various cyberbridges. As EQAL’s Greg Goodfried put it at Comic-con, “Books are an amazing medium of connection, and with the web, the world is now your book club.”