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U of M Press to publish serialized books online

The U of M Press is bringing serialized books back.
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The U of M Press is bringing serialized books back.

A Michigan book publisher is using social media to update a popular 19th century publishing method made famous by Charles Dickens.

The University of Michigan Press will serialize two new novels using Facebook, beginning July 18.

The first two books are "Faithful Unto Death" by Becky Thacker, and "A Spell on the Water" by Marjorie Kowalski Cole. The former is a murder mystery based on real events, the other takes place in northern Michigan during the 1950s.

Mike Kehoe is with U of M Press. He hopes readers will use Facebook to post comments and create buzz about the book. Kehoe says word of mouth is what every publisher aims for, it's "the gold standard of what makes books, fiction most especially, work in the long run."

Each week a new chapter will appear on Facebook, and the previous week’s installment will be deleted.

Kehoe doesn’t think publishing the book online, in installments, will hurt sales. In fact, he thinks it’ll help:

“If you really hook a reader, the need to finish, to get to that last chapter and see how everything turned out...we hope that desire, that need will be so great. Why wait for those weekly chapters when you can just buy the book and read it over the next couple days?”

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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