Scarlet Oak Press provides enhanced editions of classic titles and supports libraries

Here is an interesting example of enhanced ebooks from two Princeton writers.  I’m impressed with their generosity.   Sales benefit U.S. libraries and literacy projects.  The first Scarlet Oak donations will go to three libraries they especially admire: Seattle Public, the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois, and Sinte Gleska University, located on the Rosebud Reservation in Mission, South Dakota.

Here’s more from their press release:

Two Princeton writers have launched Scarlet Oak Press, publishing enhanced e-editions of the classic public-domain texts behind major new films. Designed for book club, library, classroom and family enjoyment, all Scarlet Oak titles are $0.99 via Kindle, and available for lending. Sales benefit U.S. libraries and literacy projects.

Scarlet Oak’s “Page to Screen” booklist includes:

  • “The Three Musketeers” (film version opened October 2011)
  • “The Best of Sherlock Holmes: Stories and Novels” (“Game of Shadows,” starring Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr., opens December 2011)
  • “The Mysterious Island” (the Jules Verne adventure, with Michael Caine, opens February 2012)
  • “A Princess of Mars” (the source for Disney’s “John Carter,” opens March 2012)
  • “Raven: Dark Tales from Poe” (“The Raven,” starring John Cusack; March 2012.)
  • Forthcoming titles include What Maisie Knew, Great Expectations, The Wizard of Oz, and Les Miserables.

“See the movie, enjoy the e-book, start a conversation,” say Will Howarth and Anne Matthews, who also collaborate on fiction and film as “Dana Hand.”

For each Scarlet Oak e-book, they create a professionally-edited text, craft a special introduction and page-to-screen history, offer an annotated study/discussion guide, and add live links, maps or illustrations.   They also take questions. E-mail queries and comments on any Scarlet Oak title are always welcome, whether from book clubs, teachers, parents or grandparents.

“Digital classics, personal attention,” say Scarlet Oak’s publishers, who have jointly spent over eight decades helping students and alumni investigate the power of story via page and screen. Anne Matthews is a Pulitzer finalist in nonfiction and has long taught popular literature and media history; she writes the “Commonplace Book” column for The American Scholar. Will Howarth has taught at Princeton for over 40 years, in courses ranging from pre-colonial America to postmodern film, and has been a pioneer in the digital humanities; he also served as Editor-in-Chief of The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau.

Scarlet Oak Press takes its name from Henry Thoreau’s favorite tree, whose colors are last to ripen, last to fade. Each leaf is “borrowed fire…a late and unexpected glory worth waiting for.”

Howarth and Matthews decided to launch their venture while in the midst of publicizing “Deep Creek,” their debut novel (named by the Washington Post a Best Novel of 2010.) In working with libraries and librarians across the U.S., they saw first-hand how drastic budget cuts have been, and how heroically libraries work to serve their communities nonetheless. What better way, they decided, to learn the e-book revolution than to join it, for a good cause?

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