Set the Page Free: Xerox’s All-Star Book Project


Xerox Project Set Free the Page author Lee Child

Xerox is turning a new page with a unique literary collaboration released this week—Speaking of Work: A Story of Love, Suspense and Paperclips, a collaborative storytelling project about the modern workplace. Featuring renowned writers, it’s also about their creative process and part of Xerox’s year-long “Set the Page Free” campaign about the future of communication, connection and work.

Xerox Speaking of Work anthology

On Friday, Xerox’s Project: Set the Page Free will be celebrated at the 92nd Street Y in New York, with a reading and discussion featuring some of the 14 renowned writers of novels, poems and songs who participated in the digital publishing project.

Xerox Project Set the Page Free campaign Gary Shteyngart

Their task was to collaborate on a unique writing project to “unleash the power of collaboration, demonstrating how the world communicates, connects and works.” Xerox technology, software and apps helped them collaborate throughout the process, moving freely between the physical and digital worlds.

Xerox Project Set Free the Page Aimee Mann Jonathan Coulton

Their collaboration has resulted in a free e-book that’s available now and officially launches on Friday. Signing up to download the book triggers an invitation to receive a customized dedication for each e-book, powered by Xerox’s XMPie personalization software.

New York Times bestselling author Sloane Crosley, the unofficial ‘host’ of the virtual collaboration, notes in the book’s introduction, “These stories take place on street corners and in classrooms, in parking lots and Genius Bars. And because this virtual office is occupied by writers, who are rarely in danger of under-thinking an issue, there’s also plenty of nostalgia, for longing for the days of warm photo copies and nubby carpeting.”

The stories include a pickpocket arbitrating a sidewalk confrontation between corporate bean-counters, a young man’s initiation into the white-collar world of advertising and an executive’s reflection on working in a private office environment versus an open setting in the modern workplace.

The content and process highlight the future (and present) of work, which more than ever involves collaboration, often from different places and timezones—and how Xerox’s digital technology makes that process easier and more fluid than ever before, including translating and sharing.

In an impressive content marketing series, the “Project: Set the Page Free” contributors/collaborators are profiled (for the most part) in a series of videos by Xerox, which include inspiring takes on their craft and how they work.

Much of that content has been shared ahead of the Oct. 27th book launch as it “captures how the individual creative process and the modern workplace are inextricably linked,” said Xerox chief marketing officr Toni Clayton Hine. “Technology has allowed the workplace to be adaptable to different work styles, and Xerox is at the heart of bringing seamless collaboration to life.”

The project’s word-loving collaborators:

· Jonathan Ames, author, screenwriter

· Lee Child, author

· Billy Collins, poet

· Jonathan Coulton, singer-songwriter and Aimee Mann collaborator, who created a song for the project

· Sloane Crosley, author, essayist

· Joshua Ferris, author

· Jonathan Safran Foer, author
· Roxane Gay, author

· Chip Kidd, book cover designer

· Valeria Luiselli, author

Alain Mabanckou, author

· Aimee Mann, singer-songwriter, formerly of ‘Til Tuesday

· Joyce Carol Oates, author

· Gary Shteyngart, author (interviewed in bed with the voice-activated Xerox printer he used throughout the project)

Related thought leadership by Xerox execs includes thoughts on how to improve workplace culture. The high-profile project has also overtaken Xerox’s Instagram feed, sprinkling videos in the mix of photos and inspiring messages:

Xerox Project Set the Word Free - Instagram

Xerox Project Set the Word Free / Instagram

Xerox Project: Set the Word Free / Instagram

Xerox Project: Set the Word Free


As Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson stated in a press release, “Project: SET THE PAGE FREE is a creative expression of the value Xerox has created since the company was founded – which started with helping people work, communicate and collaborate, and today transcends working freely between physical and digital worlds.”

Xerox provided the technology and the 92nd Street Y curated and edited the final product. The 92Y, a nonprofit cultural and community center, is redefining a community center in the digital age as more than 300,000 people visit annually while millions more participate in their digital and online initiatives.

“What a thrilling opportunity to commission the brilliant writers who grace our storied stage to explore questions of work today and together create our very own modern workplace in the process,” commented Bernard Schwartz, director of the 92nd Street Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center.

Founded in 1874, 92Y created #GivingTuesday in 2012, now recognized worldwide as the day after Cyber Monday to celebrate and promote giving.

The third partner for Speaking of Work: A Story of Love, Suspense and Paperclips is Worldreader, a global nonprofit supporting digital reading in underserved communities. Since 2010, more than 6 million people across 50 countries have read from a digital library of over 40,000 local and international e-books on Worldreader platforms.

“Content no longer needs to be confined by format or borders. We are committed to harnessing the power of technology to bring information and inspiration to readers around the world,” said Worldreader CEO David Risher. “This project makes that connection and shows how technology can bring powerful new possibilities to life.”

Contributors Jonathan Ames, Lee Child, Sloane Crosley, Joshua Ferris, Chip Kidd, Alain Mabanckou and Joyce Carol Oates will read selections from the book and discuss their experiences with the project at a launch event on Friday, Oct. 27, at the Kaufmann Concert Hall at the 92nd Street Y in New York.

As part of the project, Xerox sponsored a “Future of Work” tour:

Xerox also produced a series of “Set the Page Free” videos showing examples of business applications of its technology solutions across industries including restaurant (electronic translations), medical (electronic records), retail (customized marketing) and academic (omnichannel marketing).

“Set the Page Free” goes back to the iconic “Brother Dominic” ad that it recreated in January (updating the iconic 1976 Super Bowl spot) in tandem with the company relaunching as the new Xerox after spinning off its business services unit as Conduent.

Barbara Basney, Xerox Vice President Global Brand, Advertising and Media, elaborated in a blog post on January 5th mark the kick-off of the year-long Set the Page Free campaign:

As of 11:59 PM ET on December 31, Xerox began a new chapter as an $11 billion Fortune 500 company that is purely focused on how we help the world communicate and work in ways that essentially sets the page free.

But this is not a new idea. If you think back, Xerox has always been about ways to set the page free. It started with the invention of the 914 that automated the task of duplication, essentially freeing the page from a slow and laborious reproduction process. Today, Xerox is still innovating with digital technology, software and apps that improve communications and enhance working in new and unexpected ways.

So we are introducing “Set the Page Free” as our new and powerful communications platform. It is a nod to our heritage, reflects our present and embraces our future. It provides a clear focus for Xerox’s marketing and communications activation, and a lens through which we convey the essence of the value that Xerox has always provided in the world.

“Page” transcends both the printed and digital page in all forms. “Free” is about liberating communication, helping it flow freely, making it more productive and timely, and of greater value. It encompasses how Xerox is automating workflow, security, personalization, analytics, mobile and imaging. It embraces breakthrough technologies like printed electronics, intelligent packaging and direct-to-object printing. It also reflects a point of view that is especially relevant in today’s working world as everyone is inundated with a plethora of ways to communicate, connect and share. Solutions that are easier, better, faster and more productive are needed – and that is precisely what Xerox is all about.

Today, Xerox is an $11 billion technology company serving SMB’s, enterprise, governments and graphic communications providers in more than 160 countries globally. The company epitomizes nimble innovation in the fast-changing world of digital, maintaining a delicate balance between product, profit and people.

What’s next? By transforming the world of work, it’s poised to keep growing even bigger, as CEO Jeff Jacobson pointed out in a video that detailed plans to fuel growth for its channel partners and customers and continue shaping the future of work: