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Orson & Co Debuts History of a Pleasure Seeker: the eLuminated App for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch

Ground-Breaking App Expands Imaginative Horizons in a Sumptuous Production Inspired by Acclaimed Work from Author Richard Mason

NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Orson & Co has announced the launch of History of Pleasure Seeker, Volume 1, an eLuminated™ app for the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch® that transforms the act of reading into an imaginative journey of unprecedented richness.  Created by author Richard Mason during the writing process, and built using Orson & Co's eLumination™ platform, the eLuminated app (eLumeTM) offers a new way to experience a "gorgeous confection" of a novel (The New York Times). 

Orson & Co's eLumination platform puts technology at the service of the imagination, using sound, video, photography and music to take readers further into the text than ever before.  The interface, inspired by an illuminated manuscript, avoids gimmicky distractions. Orson's philosophy is that the tech should be invisible. The story is what matters.

In the eLuminated app, treasures to see and hear lie behind decorative details, allowing readers to sink deep into the characters' world – if and when they wish.

An experience designed by a storyteller, for story lovers, the eLuminated app marks a major step forward in digital reading.

Based on History of a Pleasure Seeker, which the Washington Post called the "best new work of fiction in many moons," the eLuminated app ushers readers into the Gilded Age with Piet Barol, a gifted young adventurer who enters the employ of a wealthy family at the dawn of the 20th century.  From the outside, all is enviable.  But the wheels are coming off the family's hotel empire, and the dysfunctions of this glittering world are more alluring than Piet bargained for.  In this "provocative joy" of a story (O Magazine, Find of the Month), he must walk a tight rope between delight and danger as he changes lives forever.  

Mason was deeply inspired when he saw the original iPad.  With a team of artists, actors, musicians and coders, he spent two years exploring what a digital reading experience could be. 

"The eLuminated app is an unbelievable format ... a very exciting one that sets the bar," said Dan Stevens (Mr. Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey), who narrates the eLume. 

With History of Pleasure Seeker, Volume 1, readers can: 

  • Read the story as a beautifully illuminated volume, with each page laid out and illustrated in the finest tradition
  • Step between hearing and reading at will, by tapping any paragraph to hear Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens read to them from that moment
  • Hear the characters sing and play the music of Chopin, Bizet, Bach, Mozart and Puccini as they seduce each other and battle their demons
  • Tap page illustrations to open windows into scenes of Amsterdam and New York in the early 20th century.  The sights revealed can be moved by finger, allowing readers to explore the world within the page
  • See inside the 17th century mansion where the action takes place
  • Learn about the story's historical context from essays on many topics, including the banking panic of 1907, the history of Holland and Amsterdam, and the pleasures of the Belle Époque
  • Make notes in the eLume which can be shared on Facebook or Twitter
  • Ask author Richard Mason questions about the creation of the book and app and watch as he answers them
  • Share opinions with friends via email, Twitter or Facebook

Designed by a writer and an artist, the eLuminated app lights the way to a new art form and publishing model:  a story experience that allows readers to stimulate their imaginations if they choose, and interact directly with the writer as they read.  

"Orson & Co has made the most beautiful and amazing feat of technology and art," said Amanda Foreman, author of the award-winning best seller, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided

"Orson & Co's eLumination platform allows writers to be creative in new ways," said Mason.  "eBooks are convenient, but they don't replace the uniqueness of a real book.  eLumes offer a new imaginative experience – one that honors the individuality of reading while celebrating the possibilities of touchscreen devices."

"An eLume shouldn't be confused with an enhanced eBook -- it is a different form that presents a new way for readers to lose themselves in a story," continued Mason. "eLumes are individual, unlike eBooks, and the reader is in charge of how, and when, to fire their imaginations."

History of Pleasure Seeker, Volume 1 is available for $12.99 from the App StoreSM for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch at  A "Lite Edition" that includes the first 17 pages of the app as a free download is available at

Headquartered in Manhattan, New York, Orson & Co is building a curated list of superb eLuminated apps (eLumes) across popular genres that include fiction, history, biography, how-to and classics.  Orson & Co's proprietary software platform allows for minute aesthetic customization within a recognizable eLume format, meaning that each eLume will look like itself and nothing else.  For more information, visit

eLume, eLumes, eLuminated and eLumination are trademarks of Orson & Company.  iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple, Inc. 

Media Contacts:
Jim Hughes | Carol Lee
Rogers & Cowan
310-854-8275 | 310-854-8168
[email protected]
[email protected]

SOURCE Orson & Co

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