BTS puts wind in its sails

Digital development agency Beyond the Story is to release an interactive version of Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows narrated by Stephen Fry, as it seeks to showcase its platform and extend its client base.

The company is also working with New Zealand production company South Pacific Pictures over a novelisation of television series "The Almighty Johnsons". The enhanced e-book will be released in 13 parts with each part only available after the matching episode has aired—the novelisation has been written by Kirk Bowe, BTS' chief creative officer.

Jen Porter, co-founder and chief executive, said the moves marked the beginnings of a transformation of the company. Until now the business has tended to work with book publishers, most recently on The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, which it published with Penguin, and the David Starkey app, Kings and Queens, which was built in partnership with HarperCollins and Sky Television.

But Porter said: "We're starting producing +books from books and now screenplays and manuscripts, turning TV and films into books." The company also produced a novelisation of "After Earth", entitled After Earth: Kitai's Journal, which it developed for Sony Pictures Entertainment/Overbrook Entertainment.

Wind in the Willows launches on 11th July as an app for Nook Android devices and iOS, and will be given away free over the weekend as part of the Get Reading initiative, supported by Barnes & Noble and the London Evening Standard. It will then retail for £2.49. A second classic, Treasure Island, will also be produced, with Porter using the products as a showcase for the platform that built them. The company is also planning an update of the Starkey app timed to coincide with the birth of the Queen's great grandchild.

Beyond the Story plans to make its platform available to publishers to produce their own apps, with a beta version of this expected to be available in four months. Porter said: "I don't want 500 developers sitting in Croydon making apps. We'll continue to work on our showcase products, but ultimately we'd like publishers to license the technology off us."