Dragonfly Words

Online ‘choose your own adventure’ style books

July 30, 2010
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Simon & Schuster will be releasing an online, serialized novel, Loser/Queen where readers (young adults) get to vote on what will happen next. Having been a huge fan of the choose your own adventure books, I can see the appeal to such a format. But as a writer, it stresses me out.

Readers vote by 5 pm Thursdays. A new chapter is posted on Mondays. That’s pretty quick turn around. I assume that, like a television show, multiple chapters are already written, but the fact that there are two choices at the end of the chapter, and who knows how many chapters means that a lot of content would need to be pre-written that will never see the light of the computer screen. Additionally, based off of reader responses, minor characters could take on a more major part if the readers are particularly drawn to a character, which leads to even more changes. If writing a traditional book often seems like an out-of-control beast, I can’t imagine what this project must feel like to the author, Jodi Lynn Anderson. That’s a lot of creative control she is giving up. But then, the price is a huge platform ready and waiting when the book publishes. It’s not even finished and you can already pre-order the paperback edition.

Which leads to another question. Will people want to buy a book that they have already read for free? I’m inclined to say yes, because people like owning something they were a part of. The readers voting on the book will feel that they invested something into it, and they will want the hard copy to show their hard work. But will those who didn’t vote, or who came in on the final chapter, feel the inclination to buy it? Will potential readers who did not have the opportunity to vote feel left out? And isn’t this just adding to the technology addiction that’s running rampant across society?

I’ve gotta say though, Simon & Schuster did grab my attention, and I will definitely be following along with Anderson’s readers to see where it goes.


Do e-books signal the end for Independent booksellers?

July 29, 2010
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One of the biggest losses to the book community is that of small, independent bookstores. I love them so much that one of my dreams has always been to open an independent bookstore of my own. While the fancy coffee drinks and perfectly placed chairs at the large chains contribute to the book shopping experience in their own way, there is a generic feel to them that takes away from the experience. Give me a ratty chair, shelves crammed with books, and good cup of coffee or tea and I would be far happier, even if I am paying a bit more for my books.

The following article from Boston Business Journal, Independent bookseller at ‘War and Peace’ with e-books, questions whether e-books are further exasperating the problem of the loss of the independent bookseller. The conclusion suggests that the average customer of the independent bookseller is not the average customer of e-books. Do you think this is actually the case?

I still love a real book, but frankly I don’t have the space to buy any more unless I find them to be extremely readworthy. The younger generations are growing up storing all of their data electronically.Why waste the space storing CDs, DVDs, or books when there are devices that can hold it all and them some and barely take up any space? I bet if we could store our clothing inside an eletronic device and have it projected onto our bodies, most of the younger generations would buy into it in a heartbeat.

This is not to say that I think e-books will wipe out real books. There will always be those who love real books, myself included. Perhaps, though, the e-books will work in favor of the independent booksellers by shifting the focus of the large chains towards carrying more and more e-books and less and less hard copies. Maybe e-books are actually the resurrection of the independent bookseller. Wouldn’t that be something?


E-books: The Future of Reading

December 28, 2009
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I am no longer opposed to this new medium for book delivery. If it makes books and literature more accessible, that’s good enough for me.