|Target Users||Digital natives (male and female users from the age of 17), but also people who want to be entertained by gaming and videos while reading|
|Nature of the initiative||Public|
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Apocalypsis is a serial novel designed and developed for digital devices. It was simultaneously released as an app, an e-book, in a read & listen version and as an audio book. Apocalypsis is published in weekly installments. The app includes text, illustrations, videos, audio, and interactive content that merge in a multimedia reading experience. Written by award-winning screenwriter and author Mario Giordano, Apocalypsis is gripping and explosive: what starts out as a sophisticated Vatican conspiracy soon develops into a uniquely intense and spectacular thriller.
As a traditional publishing house, Bastei Lübbe needed people with skills in programming apps, new sales channels (App Store), a different form of project management, new ways of marketing to reach this new audience.
Monetarizing complex and expensive to develop digital products is hard. Bastei Entertainment therefore tried to use the model of printed novel series it had published in the past: single 'issues' can be offered for a less expensive price ('no-brainer' to buy), the threshold for trying to get unsolicited access to the content using illegal measures raises, there are more anchors (at least the publication of each issue) for marketing/communication measures, etc. Moreover, the distribution of the products is 'more direct' - and does not necessarily mean using licenses in a process of internationalization, either. A problematic aspect of the situation was the fact that the availability of platforms to run (book) apps is by far not as wide as the target group for the gripping story, therefore the product had be made available on different media / platforms.
With the beginning of Apocalypsis, Bastei Lübbe founded its own digital department, Bastei Entertainment, with the objective of focusing on projects like Apocalypsis.
Bastei Entertainment worked together with an extern company which wrote the software program for Apocalypsis. Four app developers are working since in the Bastei Entertainment department so that we can afford an in-house production. From beginning of Bastei Entertainment we have an own sales department which concentrates exclusively on digital distribution – national and international.
There are different products of Apocalypsis: e-book, Audiodownload, Read&Listen (e-Book including Audiobook), Audiobook, App (iOS and Android) and the paperback. Bastei Entertainment publishes these different types for a wider distribution.
The role of technology
Apocalypsis is a combination of a narrative text with illustrations, videos, animations, and interactive content, natively programmed for iOS and Android tablet devices and a combination of text and audio where the reader/hearer may switch between media on a sentence-by-sentencs basis.
The rights were sold to Czech Republic, Slovakia and Spain.In Germany, the prologue was downloaded 100,000 times, while in China it was downloaded 1,000,000 times. 60,000 copies of the paperback edition were sold − even though the title was primarily marketed digitally.
Apocalypsis is a religious conspiracy thriller; this genre is popular in other countries (e.g., the novels of Dan Brown).