Two months ago I announced that Choose Your Own Adventure books were now available in the iBookstore. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to try out one of the books on my iPad. I have to say, it is great. The transition to the digital medium works very well. Though I hadn’t read one of these books since I was a kid, the experience hadn’t deteriorated over time, and the new interactive features made turning pages much faster. Also, I didn’t accidentally see some of the other storylines.
The book I got to try out was Space and Beyond, which, after The Cave of Time, was my favorite of the books when I was a kid. (It’s nice to know that my love of all things time travel started from a very early age.) I only owned (and still own) the first five books in the Choose Your Own Adventure series, at least the ones that were marked 1-5 thirty years ago, but I used to read them over and over. These days The Abominable Snowman replaces The Cave of Time as the first book in the set.
The Space and Beyond eBook says right on the front that there are 42 different endings. When I read these books long ago, I only seemed to experience a few of the endings because I couldn’t bring myself to make any choices that I wouldn’t make in real life. These days, though, I am more systematic and try out every possibility eventually. And the built-in interactivity of these eBooks makes that easy. No bookmarks or fingers-in-pages necessary.
At the bottom of every page you can tap on a map that shows you the different paths of the story and where you are in it. This is helpful when you are trying out all of the scenarios, but gives too much away for a first, second, or even third read. So I recommend reading these books a few times as you normally would before using this extra feature to locate the other storylines.
Once you make a choice, at the bottom of the destination page there are also “go back” buttons to tap, allowing you to return to the source page. These buttons are color coordinated, however, so you need to remember what color the page number was on the page from whence you came. It seems that the return arrow to that page will be in the same color. The return arrows aren’t labeled in any other fashion, however. (Note to the Choose Your Own Adventure people — labeling these would be one way to improve future versions of the books.) The books are also filled with color illustrations, which is another improvement over the print versions of the books.
Each eBook costs $5.99, comparable to a print version. You can also download a sample, to try before you buy. None of the storylines take long to read, so these are great for when you only have a few minutes to spare. They are also fun in a group or with your kids, where you can either take turns making the choices, or decide as a group what direction you want to go. I recommend these books, both print and eBook versions, to anyone who likes to have a hand in their own adventures.
Note: I received a code for Space and Beyond for the purposes of this review.