Today Julian Dibbell did an in-world book signing and Q&A for his new book Play Money. In an interesting twist, Julian not only is selling a virtual version of his book in Second Life, he also has a two-for-one deal to get both the virtual and real versions of the book for 6250 Lindens (about $20.)
I bought both flavors, even though I have to say the Second Life edition is kind of silly. I don’t see the point in peering over the shoulder of my own avatar to read a book.
It was a fun event actually, with a few dozen avatars present, all clamoring to get their copies signed by the author. Julian was very game (no pun intended), and obviously comfortable in a virtual environment. Most of his experience is with Ultima Online, if I understand correctly. There is another Q&A with Hamlet Au later this evening that I will unfortunately have to miss.
Here is my "signed" copy of the book. I can’t say much about the content of it, but I can say that Julian has very nice penmanship. 🙂
Seriously, I look forward to reading the dead tree version as soon as it arrives. It sounds fascinating from the Amazon write-up:
…With city-sized populations of nearly full-time players, these [MMORPG] games generate their own cultures, governments, and social systems and, inevitably, their own economies, which spill over into the real world. The desire for virtual goods–magic swords, enchanted breastplates, and special, hard-to-get elixirs–has spawned a cottage industry of "virtual loot farmers": People who play the games just to obtain fantasy goods that they can sell in the real world… Play Money is an extended walk on the weird side: a vivid snapshot of a subculture whose denizens were once the stuff of mere sociological spectacle but now–with computer gaming poised to eclipse all other entertainments in dollar volume, and with the lines between play and work, virtual and real increasingly blurred–look more and more like the future.
Can’t wait to read it!