By on

Welcome to English 487/687, Multi-Touch, Interactive eBooks and the Future of Publishing

So that we can get to know each other a little better, please post a reply to this message in which you

  • describe where you are from
  • give your course of study and year in your graduate or undergraduate program
  • talk about your areas of interest and career goals
  • tell what you would like to get out of this course
  • describe one of your favorite books and what you like about it

I'll start. I've lived in the Clemson area for two years now, having arrived as the new Campbell Chair in Technical Communication at Clemson in Fall 2010. I came here from Purdue University, where I was the Director of Professional Writing and Professor of English for ten years. I earned my PhD from the University of Southern California in "Rhetoric, Linguistics, and Literature." My areas of specialization include rhetorical theory, digital and visual rhetorics, print and digital publishing, information architecture and content management, and film theory and production. In 2002 I founded Parlor Press, an independent scholarly press that has now published about 140 titles. Parlor Press also manages production and editorial operations for a number of journals, including WAC Journal, WPA: Writing Program Administration, Composition Studies, JAEPL, and PRE/TEXT. Clemson is the new institutional home of the WAC Journal (see for a story about it or the journal site, Clemson now also hosts KB Journal and The Writing Instructor, both of which are open access scholarly journals. One of my current projects is the development of the (new) Production and Design Studio in the 1941 Studio for Student Communication.

I'm excited for this course because of our focus on the future of the book, a topic interesting in its own right these days, and especially so because of our stress on the future of book design, production, and dissemination. The future of multi-touch, interactive digital books is yet to be written, and one of my goals for the course is that the future begins here and now (!). One of the most recent books I've read and liked is Neal Stephenson's REAMDE, which is about an international pursuit, both virtual and real, of hackers, terrorists, and game developers. The virtual pursuit is in the game world of T'Rain, an MMORPG, but the adventure there leaks into the "meatscape" (as Stephenson might have put it in his cyper-punk novel, Snow Crash).


chelsiemess's picture


Hello! I am originally from Minneapolis, MN, but I have lived in Easley, SC, for four years. Previously, I taught high school English for three years.

Currently, I am a second-year student in the MA in Professional Communication program. My career goals include the fields of textbook and trade publishing and e-learning implementation and development.

From this class, I would like to get a stronger foundation in EPUB and gain experience with multi-touch, interactive books.

On of my favorite books is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. My husband just bought me my 10th copy--a beautiful cloth-bound edition from Penguin Classics. So excited.


I'm from Summerville, SC and I am a senior English-WPS major. I want to be a fiction author eventually, but when I first graduate I plan on substitute teaching until I can get a couple of books written. I want to learn more about the publishing world through this class and maybe even publish some things electronically. My favorite book is actually a series of books, Harry Potter (I've been a fan since third grade and don't intend to stop liking them). Second to Harry, though, would probably be a three-way tie between The Giver, The Hobbit, and The Help.

Abby's picture


I grew up in Findlay, Ohio. It's in Northwest Ohio, about an hour south of Toledo. I attended Miami University (in Ohio) and graduated with a B.S. in Marketing. From there, I moved to Charlotte to teach 7th grade math through Teach For America. Teaching got me interested in curriculum, text(book) development, and information design. That brought me to Clemson's MAPC Program, where I've just started my second year. I hope to pursue a job in usability and information design, ideally in the publishing industry, when I graduate.

The goals of this class fit perfectly with my interests in information design and publishing. Factor in the research I'm doing this year, and this class serves as an excellent counterpart. I'll be comparing the effectiveness of printed texts to interactive, electronic texts.

I've found I don't have a favorite book. It's whether the story being told strikes a chord. Is it relevant and poignant? The most recent book to have that effect on me was Cutting for Stone. Others include: East of Eden, Memoirs of a Geisha, and The God of Animals. I believe if I'd read them at a different time, they may not have had the effect they did. It's a case of right time, right book.

laura8's picture


I'm originally from Charleston, WV but I've lived in multiple places over the last six years. I attended Miami University of Ohio for a few years before graduating from the University of Dayton. I've also lived in London and Galway, Ireland through study abroad stints. Most recently, I've lived in Pittsburgh, PA for the past two years where I worked as an executive assistant for a small indoor cycling company. I just moved to Clemson and started my first year in the MAPC program.

Through my recent employment, I had the opportunity to work on the company's website and became interested in website design and usability. I'm also very interested in the publishing industry and would like to learn more about the move to digital publishing. I hope this course will help me better understand the future of the publishing industry and will grant me the skills and knowledge that will be profitable for working in the field.

My favorite book (and movie) would have to be Jurassic Park. Michael Crichton has a way of making the unbelievable seem believable. The scientific basis for the book is well thought out and designed and it helps to give a certain credibility to the novel. This, and his exceptional story-telling, draws me into the story every time I read it.

Will's picture


Hello everyone! I was born and raised in Spartanburg, SC, but I've been living in Clemson for the past 5 years. I earned my undergraduate degree at Clemson in economics, and I am currently pursuing an MA in Professional Communications. In the communications field, I am interested in hyper-textual design and digital publishing. I'm also interested in working as an actor and filmmaker after graduation. In this class, I would love to be able to expand my knowledge of the Adobe Creative Suite, while applying this new knowledge in practical situations. This class overlaps with my interests in the field by providing an opportunity to create a hyper-textual, interactive e-book.

It is difficult for me to choose a favorite book, but I thoroughly enjoy The Hobbit and Fahrenheit 451. The Hobbit appeals to my sense of whimsy and adventure (it is also quite lyrical), while Fahrenheit 451 deals with themes very important to me, those of censorship and the effects of easily accessible mass media on society.

carsonk's picture


I've lived in St. Petersburg, Florida my whole life until I came to Clemson. St. Petersburg is like Tampa's little tail. I live on the Tampa Bay, and I love going out in the boat and being on the water in general. I live in a neighborhood five minutes from downtown. Though downtown St. Petersburg isn't huge like Tampa, it is definitely bigger than downtown Clemson. The waterfront is lined with various parks with open green grass and palm trees. In the evenings they're full of soccer teams, yoga classes, and people walking their dogs. There are condos that overlook the water and parks and tall office buildings behind these condos. Central Avenue is lined with unique restaurants and shops. Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, is also a focal point for downtown. It is a dome that looks as though it has slowly sunk into mud on one side.

This is the third year I have been at Clemson. I am a junior English major with an emphasis in Writing and Publication Studies. I am not completely sure what I would like to do career-wise, but I know I want to go to graduate school or law school. I love writing and reading so that is how I fell into this major.

I am really excited to take this course. When I signed up I wasn't sure what it would be covering, but I love the technology facet of it. My grandparents (of all people) give me a Kindle for Christmas last year, and ever since I have been hooked. I am excited to learn about the publishing side of ebooks. This is the first writing and publication class I've managed to enroll in so I'm looking forward to see what I'm getting myself into! I want to gain some experience in this up-and-coming field of ebooks.

One of my favorite books is The Great Gatsby. It is such a classic American novel, and I love the setting of the Roaring Twenties. Fitzgerald is a great author and the symbolism is genius. There is actually a new movie adaptation with Leonardo DiCaprio coming out in December. I can't wait to go see it!

Robert's Introduction

Hello everybody, I am Robert DiBenedetto. I am from Greenwood, S.C but I attended high school at Christ Church in Greenville, S.C. It is a bit confusing telling people where I am from because I feel like I am from both. I am now a Junior at Clemson majoring in English WPS with a minor in Business Administration.

This summer I was lucky enough to land an internship in Charleston, S.C. with a magazine called Garden & Gun. I really wish I would have taken this class a semester earlier because it would have undoubtedly been beneficial to the department I worked in. Nevertheless, I was able to write my own blog which was actually published on the G&G website! Check it out if you would like.

My favorite book is The Hobbit which some of you may know they are making a movie out of soon. I am very excited to see the director's version of it compared to my interpretation of the book.

I hope to become more technologically savvy through this class which I feel will not be a problem. See everyone in class tomorrow.


I was born in Fort Worth, Texas, but I moved to Aiken, South Carolina with my family when I was 9 years old. I still call both home when people ask me where I am from.
I am currently a second semester senior majoring in business management with a minor in business writing. I want to become an event coordinator at a hospital or a nonprofit origination. I hope this class gives me new ways and ideas that will help me to promote events with today's technology. I have always enjoyed creative publications, and I think this class will help me learn how to use the new materials that will be used in years to come.
I really enjoy reading. I love to read book series, but my favorite book is Pride and Prejudice. It is a novel about a young woman during the 19th century learning to deal with life and her society. Jane Austen's writing style really make me feel like I know the characters personally and that I am experiencing their lives with them.

Jex's picture

'allo - Jesse

Clemson is home to me, however I fought it for a while. I moved to Upstate, New York when I was 18, pet snake in tow, and managed a nonprofit ( Then I trained as a nurse and worked for patients and their families as they dealt with Alzheimer's, dementia, and terminal illness.

Since I returned in '08 to attend university, I've earned an A.A. in Humanities (Writing focus) and graduate this December from Clemson (B.A. English). My last two years at Clemson I've facilitated dialogues for new students and taught undergraduate HEHD courses. Now I pay my bills as a floral designer/office manager. I'm currently weighing my next step. Likely I will study City Planning/Sustainable Design at the graduate level so I can write poetry and feed my dog.

I'm a (somewhat rabid) Android/Linux fan and would love to learn more about app development and e-book formatting in this flavor. Creating children's apps/e-books for iPad with multi-touch sounds like fun. Such is my love for print culture that tediously turning artifacts into CTRL-F-able documents would make for an enjoyable full-time job.

And for "favorite book?" I must answer temporally: right now, Glass, Irony, and God by Anne Carson. But my pleasure-reads at the moment do tug on my heartstrings: Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. The latter of which's first chapter ought-be devoured in creative writing seminars. And the former because everyone should read an adolescent fantasy novel from time to time. But Carson tickles me with her poetry informed by the Classics, yet certainly contemporary and usually genre-bending.

Thanks for reading. I'm excited for our hands-on work this semester. :)

cmmayberry's picture

Caroline's Intro

Hello Hello fellow Eng 487 peeps,

I'm Caroline Mayberry, a current English major and Film Studies minor from Charlotte, NC. Looking ahead to graduation in May, I anticipate moving to Chicago, IL to pursue my passion comedy and writing where I will write copy while taking classes at Second City comedy club on the weekends/weeknights.

This summer I was honored to work as an apprentice at Enventys, a holistic design group in the heart of Charlotte that works to integrate product concepts and brands into one dynamic form. Enventys also owns Inventors Digest, a magazine geared towards benefiting the inventor community and those who support it. Knowing very little about innovative design, the ID publisher and I worked closely to produce a magazine every three weeks and (ironically enough) discussed moving ID to the web via ebooks, Ipad pdf, nooks, etc this winter. This semester, I will begin working freelance for ID and hope to get an issue into digital form. I am thankful this class will give me the skills and tools needed to do so!

I enjoying blogging, running, and pilates/yoga

The book I'm most interested in today is Cheryl Strayed's Wild. I'm only swimming in the shallow end of this book but can already tell it has a very good chance of living up to its hype. After losing her mother at 22, Cheryl hikes the Pacific Crest Trail in hopes of piecing herself together in the midst of a very vulnerable time. While it may not seem applicable to all, this book does a sufficient job at teaching us that whether we be moving forward or backwards, sometime we just need to keep moving.

Mr. F's picture

Hey y'all

My name is Sam (Mr. Fuller to my 103 students); I am from Greenville, SC. I am a second year MAPC student, having gotten my Bachelor's in English from USC. My academic interests include digital publishing, content management, online communities, prosumerism, multimedia rhetorics, and composition education. I'd like to be an editor/content manager for a major publication, or at least a majorly awesome one-- mostly I just enjoy working with other writers, which is one reason why I am looking forward to this course. I also hope to improve my understanding of the publishing industry in general.

My favorite book is The Dark Tower series by Stephen King because it has my favorite opening sentence of anything ever: "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." SK once said that "all writing is recovery from the first line," which is pretty true if you think about it. Right now I'm reading House of Leaves, or rather am being defeated in my attempt to read it. It's an ergodic text, which is a concept I'd be interested in discussing in class, particularly in regards to multi-touch capable eBooks.

That's all you get for free-- I look forward to getting to know you all in person~

If you really want to hear about it...

Gosh, I hate to do things in the order I'm told, especially in this case because starting off with where you're from sounds all David Copperfield-like. (Hope you got that reference.) But, anyway, they say where you're from is the starting point in determining who you are, so here goes: I'm from Spartanburg, South Carolina, which is the epitome of a small Southern city: un-talked of crime, sweet tea, wealthy judgmental churchgoers who look at you down their noses and all.

I developed a passion for writing fiction at the age of eleven and was encouraged throughout middle school and high school by teachers, friends, everybody but family members to pursue a career as a writer. Nine years down the road, I'm a sophomore here at Clemson studying English Writing and Publication Studies, bent on that same dream I had as a fifth grader who wouldn't accept a reality check. I signed up for this class hoping to get a better understanding of the publishing world as well as ways to tailor my writing for the modern-day market, and was along for the ride if this class was, indeed, about the history of the book too...which I guess it's not.

Describe my favorite book? ooh... There are so many things that I like and I like them all for completely different reasons. How about Great Expectations by Charles Dickens? I wrote about him in my post earlier. The falling action of Great Expectations is kind of mehhh but I think the beginning is some of the finest quality stuff I've ever read. There is a scene at the very beginning where Pip gets picked up by his feet and thinks that the world has turned upside down. Really he's the one who's been turned upside down but because he's such a young child, he isn't able to figure that out. I read that line in tenth grade and it was the first time I'd ever seen (probably just noticed) how an author had gotten into their character's head, you know, really become that character. I decided I wanted to do that too. That passage has stuck with me ever since.


Greetings. My name is Mike Mansmann, and I live in Anderson, SC but I have lived in Atlanta, New Jersey, Florida and most recently Texas, where I was stationed in the Army. I am a senior Business Management student planning on graduating from Clemson with my Bachelor's degree this December.

My areas of interest are Sales and Marketing, because I enjoy talking to someone and changing their opinion using different tactics and techniques. I am also the President of the Clemson Student Veteran's Association and spent a great deal of time managing the organization and the people within it in order to reach and help more students coming to Clemson from the military.

My professional goals are to work with a large corporation or firm in Sales or Marketing in order to make both the company and myself a great deal of money. I am applying to a multitude of places this semester, with the hopes of landing a job in the Upstate of SC, because my wife and I bought a house last year and I would like to stay here for atleast 5 years.

I am not sure what I hope to get out of this course because I am still not entirely sure what this course is all about. I am intrigued by the fact that we will be working with ebooks, because I think it is the future of books in general. Also, any new technology I can learn will help me in the future if I happen to come across it again.

My favorite book was "The Killing Floor" by Lee Child. It is the first book in a series about the character Jack Reacher, an ex-Army military police officer who attempts to spend his life as a low key, quiet traveler but seems to find trouble in every town he visits. I like the novel because I can relate to his past experience in the Army, and the book is loaded with action, intriguing plots, and dark humor.

Meagan757's picture

Introducing Meagan

I'm Meagan, I'm from Virginia Beach, Virginia. I live on the water and less then 5 minutes from the ocean! I'm a senior set to graduate this spring with a BA in architecture, with a minor in business and technical writing. I'm interested in design of all kinds and would like to pursue a career in industrial design with a focus in packaging design. I'm also passionate about photography and love going to concerts and shows of all genres. I'm excited to learn how to create my own eBook for iPad and iPhone and I want to integrate these skills into my architectural portfolio to make my work more accessible.

One of my favorite books is "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky. I first read the book sophomore year of high school and have read it countless times since. I love the way the author portrays an honest representation of the main characters and more specifically of the main character, Charlie. I also enjoy the format of the book- Charlie writing letters "Dear Friend."