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Morning Coffee – 1 March 2021

Here are a few stories to read this morning.

I had a very light posting schedule (namely, zero) this past week due to a couple problems which took up all my spare time. The first was a bug in the site which I was only able to pin down Sunday night. The second was a software issue with my new Dell laptop which I cannot fix (and Dell refuses to send someone).

I would like to post more in the coming week (I have something to say about Dell) but I don’t know if I will have the time or energy.

P.S. If you need a tech VA or help with your website, email me at [email protected]. Got a story that I should include in next week’s list? Shoot me an email.

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Felix March 1, 2021 um 9:05 am

I tried to read the article about interactive e-books, but it’s so much blah-blah. Gamebooks were hugely popular, even back when they still had to be printed on paper. They still are, having underwent a revival after games made with Twine and similar tools brought the concept back into the reading public’s eye. Extensive written narratives are embedded into many videogames these days, complete with interactivity. So in what universe is hypertext fiction not popular?

In the universe of snobbish writers who want it to be High Brow Literary Fiction Except With Links, that’s where. And in that place it runs face-first into the snobbery of readers. That it’s also hard to write only makes the problem worse when writers find themselves working harder for little recognition and even less money.

Oh well, more for the rest of us who don’t mind cracking open Texture or Inky to just fool around.

Disgusting Dude March 1, 2021 um 11:08 am

Hypertext fiction isn’t popular because it is neither fish not fowl.
As you pointed out, there is no shortage of inmersive story driven games for all tastes and there is no shortage of books or movies for every taste.
So why settle for a half measure?
Either you want a fixed narrative in text or video form or you want an open, replayable game, either on video or on a board.
Notice how the hybrid figurine/video games are nowhere as hot as they used to be?

Consumers are in control not pundits or theorists.

Allen F March 1, 2021 um 9:25 am

The key and killing word is "interactive". If you tell someone it’s a ebook, they expect to read a story written to be read. They don’t expect to have to be pulled out of a worldview to have to "interactive" to get through it or to continue reading.

If you have to hang "interactive" on it it’s no longer – or never was – a ebook, it was/is a game/guide or something else. Name it properly and you’ll have fewer problems selling it.

Disgusting Dude March 1, 2021 um 11:11 am

Or not-selling it.
Proper labelling might simply confirm people’s suspicion that it’s not something they want.

Eduardo Teixeira March 1, 2021 um 5:40 pm

I suppose some people around here were not around during the 80’s when the "Fighting Fantasy" series were popular among kids and were not considered less immersive despite the hassle of navigating the books. The books have now interactive counterparts made by Tin Man Games for Android and IOS, but they are marketed as games.

I would love to compare their sales with the sales of an average ebook. I would bet if properly marketed an interactive book would sell as well as any ebook.

Allen F March 3, 2021 um 1:59 pm

And there’s the rub to all of this, trad-pub and those others trying to push the 'interactive' bit want to claim it’s a 'better' type of ebook – not a game …

Only thing I could ever figure was trad-pub wanted a 'hook' in ebooks that your average indie writer couldn’t do – a bit of "See – you still need us – and our crappy contracts and taking in most of the cash!"

But if this interactive isn’t some kind of ebook – why would a writer care about or need it?

Disgusting Dude March 3, 2021 um 6:59 pm

The 80’s.
And today’s kids are just like their grandparents, right?

Like the publishing establishment you keep thinking of ebooks as the benchmark for interactive fiction.
It isn’t. Yes, it could’ve been big in the 80’s.
But it’s 2021 out there and the time for book-based interactivity is long past.

Interactive fiction isn’t new; it’s been around for well over two decades. It’s called video games. And it sells by the tens of millions. At prices as low as $5.

Ever play Mass Effect?
Or Halo? Grand Theft Auto? Elder Scrolls? Dragon Age?
Or any of the hundreds of story-based games selling by the tens of *millions*?
Pretending 2021 is 1980-ish is delusion.
Todays kids have had tablets since they were 3 or even younger.
Their idea of interactivity is very different from gandpa’s.

There is no need for a return for the older, lesser approach.
Digital interactive "books" are a "solution" without a market.

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