Cave_of_time People have been beating the drum for years (in some cases, decades) that "interactivity” was the future of the book. For example, in my reviews of A Fire Upon the Deep and Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge, I talk about how Vinge has held for a long time that future novels will be written in hypertext. And people have posted about it here, too.

Well, interactive books have finally come to the Kindle—except that these books are actually thirty years old. Amazon has begun selling Kindle editions of the venerable “Choose Your Own Adventure” series.

These are the books that those of us who are old enough remember where each page or multi-page section ended with a reader choice: if you take the left fork in the road, turn to page 8. If you take the right fork, turn to page 9. And so on.

Although they were not the first interactive stories, they were the best-known, and spawned many imitators (including a line from Dungeons & Dragons publisher TSR).

With interactivity touted as “the future of e-books,” I find it amusing that the first major line of interactive e-books is actually just reprints of paper books that are three decades old.


  1. Ah yes, I remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books well.

    Not a big fan.

    Perhaps it’s because I died in every one I read until I picked the last option – the one I really didn’t want to pick.

    Or perhaps it’s the awkwardness of spending more time flipping pages than reading. If these come out in an open format, it’d be interesting to re-read them with hypertext links to click, it might make the reading experience flow more smoothly.

  2. I remember reading a “programmed instruction” book like that. You would read a few pages then answer a quiz question and be taken to a new page depending on your answer. This is ideal for computer or Kindle learning as long as the links are live. I have always wondered why text books were not written that way.

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