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Casting the net for the YA reader

I tripped over a NY Times article recently that talked about how some science fiction authors are using video games to catch younger readers. The article is the second in a series about technology and reading. An earlier story was on online reading habits of young people. The earlier story was more an argument over what constitutes "reading." This one is about how authors and publishers are using related media to draw kids to books. Quoting a recent poll by the Pew Internet & American Life project, the article states that 97 percent of middle school and high school kids play some form of digital games. That's a lot!

So it makes sense to try. The question remains whether it will work. Strategies include science fiction author PJ Haarsma writing a story that is as much like a game as he can make it, and publisher Scholastic creating a web-based game that is tied to a new 10-book mystery series that just started with The Maze of Bones. Even already-popular YA series like Christopher Paolini's dragon books are going along; Random House Children's Books is creating a game to go along with the series.

It seems to me this falls under the category of "it couldn't hurt." Even if only 10 percent of gamers are actually seduced into reading, that's better than zero.







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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
jl_johnson
Oct. 13th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
I know a guy on MySpace who is doing this. He's written a triogy (vampires no less, :P) and is working with a friend of his to create an online version of his novels. The first novel hasn't been published yet so I don't know how far he's going to get with it. But this isn't the first time I've heard of mixing online anything with novels.
karen_w_newton
Oct. 14th, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC)
So is the novel already sold and being published? Or is it more of a marketing this to help sell it?
jl_johnson
Oct. 14th, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC)
Most likely the game will be used as a tool to market the novel. If he sells the novel.

karen_w_newton
Oct. 14th, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC)
Ah! Interesting. I have a friend who moderates a role-playing game site. She wrote a novel based on the game; it's a good book, but I think it would have been better if she hadn't been stuck with the choices she made in setting up the game. Fortunately, she has an even better book with no such limitations, and she got an agent based on that book!
jl_johnson
Oct. 14th, 2008 01:15 pm (UTC)
I like his idea. It give the reader a chance to really 'live' (as much as one can in a role playing game) in the novel. Sort of an extention to the world he's created.

Only problem, if he doesn't sell the novel, what becomes of the game?
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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