Melcher Media was faced with an unparalleled opportunity when director J. J. Abrams and his team at Bad Robot approached us about bringing his first book project, titled S., to life. Envisioned by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst, this interactive, multilayered tale centers around a 1949 novel, The Ship of Theseus, and its enigmatic author, V. M. Straka, whose secrets are revealed when two students find the book and begin unraveling its mysteries via notes they write back and forth to each other in the margins.

S. is a tour de force in the art of immersive storytelling and the craft of bookmaking. To produce it, we worked with an all-star team consisting of Abrams, Dorst, designer Paul Kepple of Headcase Design, and our publishing partner, Mulholland Books. In addition to the handwriting—all of which was done by hand in our office—S. includes twenty tactile, meticulously designed pieces of ephemera tucked within its pages, from a map scrawled on a napkin to old journal and newspaper clippings to letters and even a decoder wheel that reveals a message hidden within the book’s text. The result is a New York Times best-selling book that fully immerses the reader into a world of thrills and intrigue.

Reaction to S. was extremely enthusiastic, with an entire media campaign launched around its release that included teaser trailers and various websites related to the book’s content. Following publication of the book, Melcher Media also had the opportunity to produce an e-book version of the story, which gave readers the ability to turn the handwriting on or off, so they could read the novel on its own or with the added notes in the margins. We also made the ephemera interactive—tapping on an item allows you to move it on the page or turn it over to examine it in detail.


Available at Amazon and the iTunes Store.


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