One of the most popular and accessible versions of Shakespeare’s work is now available in e-book format. According to The New York Times, Folger Shakespeare just converted the collection a few weeks ago, featuring scene summaries and notes in the e-books.
Simon & Schuster collaborated with Folger Shakespeare to put plays like Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and The Merchant of Venice for $5.99 each.
I’m sure Shakespeare himself never expected people to be taking notes and studying his work, let alone reading it in a digital format. I would love to see how the notes and summaries play out in e-book format. Though I’ve never thought of Shakespeare in such a modern format, I think the interactivity of an e-book would only further encourage students — adults for that matter — to read his work.
In case you ever wanted to see a classic book or Shakespeare played out in cartoon form, you can now. That’s right. CliffsNotes is coming to the web.
According to this article from Entertainment Weekly, Producer Mark Burnett has teamed up with CliffsNotes, AOL, and Coalition Films to create web videos of all the classic novels and plays, mostly read by high school and college students.
Producers say they don’t want to replace the books by any means. But for the students who won’t read the books anyway and already plan to read the CliffsNotes, now they can just watch them instead. Not to mention, they’ll also be funny, which could pull people in more than the original book might. Stephan Lee explains.
Burnett got involved in the project after seeing a need for this sort of content. “There’s no question that there’s no replacement for reading the actual books,” he told EW. “But kids do use CliffsNotes worldwide, no question about it. It amazed me that there was no digital version of these CliffsNotes.” In addition to being quick and informative, the series aims to engage its audience with humor.
Only six Shakespearean plays are currently available, including Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Julius Caesar, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But Burnett hopes to eventually have hundreds of shorts on his site.
I can’t decide if I think this is good for the industry — because more people will likely learn the stories — or bad — because they won’t be reading the originals. What do you guys think?