Monday, July 17, 2006

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JULIAN DIBBELL IN SECOND LIFE

Lethe_reads_play_money
Introducing Julian's writing to a make-believe angel named Lethe Naumova on the steamtree of Harle Armistice

But for Julian, you probably wouldn't be reading this blog.  Then again, but for Julian, Second Life itself might be considerably different than the place it began as.  The original virtual world reporter, Julian Dibbell's classic 1993 Village Voice article, "A Rape in Cyberspace", was the first extended piece of prominent journalism to treat online role playing societies as spaces where real conflicts with genuine stakes and meaningful issues took place.  For that and other writings, Julian was brought on as an early consultant for Linden Lab, to help advise on Second Life's conception.  And months later, when the company hired me to be their reporter, it was Julian's writings that were a key inspiration and reference point for what became New World Notes.  (They still are.)

Which is a long way of saying how glad I am to help return the favor.  Week after next, I'll be hosting Julian Dibbell's appearance in Second Life, here to promote his latest book, Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot-- some background here and a reference article here.  As with Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow before him, SL scripting expert Falk Bergman has created a complete virtual edition of Julian's book, autographable by the author.  As befits the story of a man who attempts to make a living in an online world, Julian will be selling this SL edition for Linden Dollars.  (Since he's already tried his hand at MMO gold harvesting as an income, it'll be interesting to see how he fares as a virtual book salesman.)

Tentative appearance/book signing date is July 27, or thereabouts.  More details on reserving a place, buying his book, and more in the next few days.  If you're a member of the press or an active blogger, e-mail me to reserve a media slot. 

Event generously hosted and sponsored by Millions of Us, the virtual world development company.

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cyrus huffhines (bryan campen)

so exciting! I was reading Caterina's blog last Friday and ordered a copy for my birthday. And now it appears it's in SL? neato.

Moriash Moreau

So what's the price for the in-game edition?

Given that the per-issue cost is nothing (unless you count the tier cost of the few square meters taken up by the vendor object), and the initial publishing cost is minimal (Upload fees for a couple hundred textures- Falk was paid for his considerable efforts and expertise on this venture, I hope!), it seems like something on the order of the L$ equivalent of the per-book royalty on the dead tree edition would be a good start.

Not that it's any of my business, of course. But it'd be educational to see how the price was decided in this new venue, and- as you say- how the sales work out in the long run. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the first for-profit book promoted in your in-world book-signing events? It'll be interesting to see how an adequately publicized RL work does in SL.

In any case, he's got at least one guaranteed sale. I've read My Tiny Life (the book that grew out "A Rape in Cyberspace") several times, and followed the early weblog version of Play Money as it was being produced. I'm eager to read the book form, be it paper or prim.

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