Xerox Recruits Lee Child, Aimee Mann And Others For Digital Literary Project

Xerox
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Best-selling authors, an indie singer-songwriter and a former U.S. Poet Laureate have all contributed to an online-only book-in-progress from Xerox that explores the future of work.

The company this week launched the first phase of SetThePageFree.com, which features original stories with Lee Child (author of the “Jack Reacher” thrillers), musician Aimee Mann and poet Billy Collins, among others. Alongside each story is a video in which the various creators demonstrate how technology from Xerox helped in their process. Child, for example, uses Docushare Flex, which acts as a content management system for small business owners to store and manage information. In another chapter, Super Sad True Love Story author Gary Shteyngart uses voice commands to have his story print via Xerox ConnectKey.

“The target here is that business decision maker. But the reality is that those business decision makers are people too,” Barbara Basney, Xerox’s vice-president of Global Brand, Advertising and Media told B2B News Network. “The idea was, we’re showcasing these contributors and enabling how they connect and work on this project, and it’s through the technology, the software, the apps. It shows that unexpected relevance of Xerox and how we’re playing a role in doing all this.”

Barbara Basney, Xerox

SetThePageFree.com comes not long after Xerox formally spun off its business process services business, Conduent, so it could provide more focus on its core areas in the communication space. Basney says the project — which was developed with Xerox’s longtime ad agency Y&R New York, with media strategy and execution provided by MEC Global — will be launched in 22 countries over the next four months.

Promotional activities will include story excerpts, podcasts and other assets. Visitors to the site will also be able to sign up for updates to be notified when new creators add their work to the site. A downloadable PDF of the finished product will be available in late October.

Of course, many of the literary A-listers involved might not have been Xerox users prior to SetThePageFree.com, which is why the team provided a little ad-hoc consulting.

“We did interviews to understand for each of these people and what is their workflow, what is their process,” Basney said. “It really did cover a very interesting array of approaches, and that’s how we found the right tool, software or app.”

SetThePageFree.com will also offer readers an opportunity to donate to literacy-oriented non-profits such as 92nd Street Y and Worldreader.

“It’s transcending paid, owned and earned media,” Basney said.

Forthcoming additions to the project include stories from Jonathan Safran Foer, Joyce Carol Oates and more.

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.