I was showing SL to an old friend who has worked in book publishing. Whenever I show SL to people who’ve never seen it, I always start out by saying, “People think this is a game, or that I’m playing with puppets, but…” (and of course, it IS a game and I AM playing with puppets, but…)
“But it’s just the 3D web. So whatever you do on the web, whatever you do in life, you can do in Second Life. So what do you like to do?” And then they tell me, “I like to play / listen to music” or “I like to read books” or whatever. And then I do an SL search for that stuff and show them that.
My friend in book publishing remembered hearing that Bantam/Dell had done a build in Second Life (though she didn’t use the word “build”) and we were able to find it and look at it a bit. So for this week’s assignment, I went back there to really take a close look.
This time, I noticed it was located on Sheep Island, next to the Electric Sheep headquarters; I guess it’s their build. (The island is adjacent to the Sundance Channel sim, which I visited not too long ago with an indie filmmaker whose recent documentary is part of Sundance’s current The Green series.)
Anyway, I guess what I’m getting at here is that all these builds seem to be substantial efforts by established companies to create serious extensions in SL.
Of course, the first thing you notice about Sheep Island is … it’s deserted (hehe). That could be a function of the time of day I visited but still … shouldn’t one of SL’s main developers have attractions going 24/7? I would think so.
The Bantam/Dell bookshop is well done, with lots of nice details — some solid thinking has gone into making the experience pleasurable. Here are my impressions:
1.) I clicked on the poster outside and it gave me a landmark to the bookstore: dumb. If I’m there, I don’t really need a landmark. The poster should do something more, maybe offer a teleport to “the world of the book” or something.
2.) I walked inside the shop, which had shelves bearing thumbnails of many different books (tho they seemed to be repeating the same dozen). I touched the cash register at the counter, and it took me to the e-commerce website.
I suppose this is as integrated as they can get right now. Eventually, I’d like to be able to make my purchases in-world — without having to go out to the 2D web. The transactions will be in Linden dollars and automatically debit my PayPal or credit card via my SL account.
3.) I touched the book Mister Pip and got a dropdown with choices, including an audio podcast. This was neat!
4.) I clicked the e-mail list option and it took me once again outside SL to the website to sign up for an e-newsletter. Where’s the in-world group?
5.) I found it through Group Search and joined. Lots of members! The poster over the fireplace also invites you to join but it was above eye level and I missed it. It should also be placed at the door of the shop so it’s impossible to miss.
6.) On a table inside the shop, you can get a freebie branded coffee mug. Cute, but is that the right freebie to be offering? I’d prefer a free chapter of a book, or a discount coupon on a book purchase.
The suggestion box is good idea — they are apparently going to build an entire Bantam/Dell Island — though it seems to have a glitch in instructions.
7.) A second, larger space inside the shop is actually a cafe with space for author visits, Q&As, readings. There’s a nice touch in the cafe: a counter bearing a wine tasting tray and a plate of bran muffins (offering a notecard recipe “from the kitchen of Sue Stonebender”). Really nice, engaging touches!
8.) In the Media alcove there’s a small movie screen where I watched some Quicktime shorts.
9.) Some of the book posters on the walls aren’t clickable. I suppose it can be overdone, but shouldn’t everything be clickable?
10.) The doors to the Book Shop were locked! I couldn’t walk out. Had to teleport.
11.) Again, the sim was empty. Wonder if there’s a way to create a “network” of linked sims that, when empty, redirect all traffic to a central place where you are always sure to find other like-minded people online.
12.) In writing up these notes, I notice again that I can’t seem to cut and paste directly from SL notecard to Word. Had to go through a plain-text app. Why is that?
Ciao for now!