[UK] Remember ‘game books‘, those branching stories where the reader could influence the outcome by making narrative decisions at various points throughout the book? They were very popular in the 80s, so perhaps not.
Either way, Surrey-based mifiction wants to update the concept for the mobile age – and in doing so hopes to encourage younger audiences to read (and buy books, of course).
The company, Mobile Interactive Horizons Ltd, is a joint venture lead by iBundle, the innovation hub of entrepreneur and angel investor Julian Ranger.
Mifiction’s ‘moooks’ (mobile books – yes, a rather silly name) run in a mobile phone’s web browser, so they should work across a very broad range of handsets, and like those game books of old, let the reader make decisions related to what happens next in the story. At various points within each chapter, the reader is given a number of options that determine which branch of the narrative they follow.
The price of each moook is fairly low – £0.25 per chapter or £2.50 per book – although perhaps not when you factor in that these are rentals not download to-own. In other words, the reader doesn’t get to keep the book. Once they’ve fully completed a particular chapter, that’s it, although they can save where they are at within a chapter and go back and even re-read bits, including changing the narrative choices that they’ve made. But still, it seems a bit of a fudge.
Instead of being web-based, it would make more sense to use the richer capabilities of an iPhone app, for example – creating something a lot more interactive. These could also be download to-own, utilizing Apple’s DRM, as protecting the author’s rights seems to be the issue here.
Talking of authors, mifiction is looking for people interested in writing moooks and offers a revenue share for those who sign up.
Mifiction, which is currently available in the UK only, is offering a free chapter of “The Three Tears” to anyone who wants to try out the service.