Penguin Group (USA) and Starz launch groundbreaking Amplified Edition of Ken Follett's no.1 bestseller "The Pillars of the Earth"

Multimedia app available today brings Follett's beloved novel alive in advance of epic TV event on Starz beginning this Friday July 23, 10pm

New York, NY - July 20, 2010 - Penguin Group (USA), one of the leading U.S. consumer book publishers, and Starz, LLC, launched today the Amplified Edition of Ken Follett’s international bestselling novel “The Pillars of the Earth.” The Amplified Edition of “The Pillars of the Earth” showcases striking video clips, beautiful art and original music from the upcoming, critically acclaimed Starz Originals 8-hour epic television event based on the book.

This visually stunning Amplified Edition of “The Pillars of the Earth” offers a rich and immersive way to read, watch and listen to Ken Follett’s beloved story. The Amplified Edition showcases exclusive videos with the author about his research and the process of bringing his book to the screen, and an innovative Character Tree that provides a remarkable aid to keeping the story’s myriad characters straight, yet prevents plot spoilers.

Available today for $12.99, this Amplified Edition of “The Pillars of the Earth” gives iPad users the opportunity to read the novel and watch key scenes and images from the event series in tandem over the course of Starz’ U.S. broadcast of the star-filled program.

Updates will occur repeatedly while the TV series airs so that consumers who purchase the Amplified Edition will have a dynamic user experience that complements the story and the viewing experience of the 8-part series.

The Amplified Edition of “The Pillars of the Earth,” optimized for the iPhone and iPod Touch, will also be available later this week.

Unique and exclusive features and content to “The Pillars of the Earth” amplified electronic book include:

  • An interactive Character Tree, housed in a virtual stained glass window, grows as characters are introduced in the book, allowing the reader to learn more about the selected characters and their corresponding relationships. As the story progresses, the stained glass window becomes more intricate and reveals more and more about the characters.
  • Contextual video footage and still images are carefully blended into the eBook from the corresponding section of the Starz series, so readers can choose to watch beautiful clips of cathedrals, horses and men in shining armor while inside the eBook. Or if they prefer, they can watch clips as well as longer scenes in another section of the Amplified Edition.
  • Ken Follett’s Multimedia Diary, which is the author’s on-set impressions of the process of bringing “The Pillars of the Earth” from page to screen.
  • Behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the event series, looking at how the filmmakers captured Follett’s vision and created the medieval world of “The Pillars of the Earth,” including interviews with the actors, director and producers. 
  • A Listening Lounge features music – including hymns, soundtrack themes, and battlefield scene scores – from the Starz Originals series.
  • A sneak preview of Ken Follett’s next book coming this fall.

“Starz approached Penguin with the idea of leveraging Starz Digital Media division’s capabilities and jointly developing an iPad application that would both highlight the upcoming epic original with a terrific new business opportunity for selling more books electronically,” Ferrell McDonald, senior vice president, marketing for Starz Entertainment said. “We believe that this application will be a model for such cross-media partnerships and is a terrific showcase for the more than 3 million iPad users in the marketplace.”

“The Amplified Edition is the next step in Penguin Group (USA)’s ongoing efforts to take advantage of new technology to bring writers to readers in ways they have never experienced before,” Molly Barton, Director, Business Development, Penguin Group (USA), commented. “We are delighted to bring fans this thoughtful and exciting blend of imagery and artistry inspired by master storyteller Ken Follett.”

About “The Pillars of the Earth”

“The Pillars of the Earth” is a sweeping epic of good and evil, treachery and intrigue, violence and beauty, a sensuous, spirited story set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles in 12th Century England. Ken Follett’s book, first published in 1989, has sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and been published in more than 30 languages. The novel was chosen as an Oprah Book Club selection in 2007 and was included in the May 2010 issue of O Magazine as one of the 10 books that have mattered most to Oprah Winfrey over the past decade. NAL published a series tie-in edition of “The Pillars of the Earth” on June 29th.

The $40 million series is directed by three-time DGA award-winner Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (“Heroes,” “Into the West”) and was shot on location in Hungary and Austria with a star-studded cast including: Ian McShane (“Deadwood,” Sexy Beast), Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist, A Knight’s Tale), Matthew Macfadyen (Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, Pride and Prejudice), Eddie Redmayne (The Yellow Handkerchief, The Good Shepherd ,2010Tony Award-winner for Red ), Hayley Atwell (The Duchess, upcoming Captain America), Sarah Parish (“Merlin”), Donald Sutherland (“Dirty Sexy Money,” The Italian Job), Alison Pill (Milk) and Gordon Pinsent (Away From Her). It was produced by Emmy® and Golden Globe®-nominated Tandem Communications and multi-award winning Muse Entertainment, in association with Scott Free Films, headed by the internationally renowned, award-winning producers Sir Ridley Scott and Tony Scott.

About Ken Follett

Ken Follett is one of the world’s most popular and prolific fiction writers, whose twenty-six novels have been critical and commercial successes. They have earned him superlatives from every quarter. He has been recognized as one of the two most popular writers in the world, based on an analysis of international fiction bestseller lists. A #1 international bestselling author, whose titles consistently top bestseller lists globally, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, his audience continues to grow with each new book.

On September 28, 2010, Follett’s millions of fans everywhere will be rewarded with his highly anticipated new masterwork, Fall of Giants, which will be published by Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), and launched globally in more than fourteen countries. This magnificent new historical epic is the first novel in Follett’s Century Trilogy, and follows the fates of five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they travel through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the struggle for women’s suffrage. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew but now will never seem the same again.

About Penguin Group (USA)

Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group ( is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

About Starz Entertainment

Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie and original programming entertainment service provider operating in the United States. The company offers 16 premium channels including the flagship Starz® and Encore® brands with approximately 17.1 million and 31.1 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs in total more than 1,000 movies and original series every month across its pay TV channels. Starz Entertainment is recognized as a pay TV leader in providing HD, On Demand, HD On Demand and online advanced services for its Starz, Encore and MoviePlex brands. Starz Entertainment ( is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation, and is attributed to Liberty Starz (NASDAQ: LSTZA), a tracking stock group of Liberty Media Corporation.


Penguin Group (USA)

Marilyn Ducksworth

David Zimmer

Starz Entertainment

Paul Campbell

Eric Becker