This week Fairfax opened its new Media House building in Melbourne's CBD. There was much back slapping from the premier and words like 'bold', 'exciting' and 'future' were thrown around. But is Fairfax really ready for the future - bold, exciting or otherwise? Based on the technology they've put behind Text Tales: Vigilante Virgin, the present is challenging.
A couple of other bloggers have already made the point that this isn't really an m-novel. Adam Ford makes the point that it "might be the first password-protected Australian-authored online-story-in-instalments accessible via mobile-phone-delivered subscription" because you only get sent a text that directs you to web page. Essentially you'll need a web-enabled mobile to read the story. And the main advantage to this seems to be that the story can be bookended by a big picture of author Marieke Hardy and an ad for Borders. Gully Bogan is less kind pointing out that this is "the same business model that allows you to subscribe to bikini-girl wallpapers, as advertised on the back of certain magazines". Again given the Marieke Hardy in Your Hand promo, perhaps this was the intent.
And the weird thing is that the web page that you're delivered to from your mobile is the same everyday. So subscription seems pointless if you can just return to the same page when new content is delivered. Unless you just like being woken at 7am by a text.
But perhaps Fairfax don't even want you to subscribe. After the first week they published an edited version of the first five episodes in the newspaper and online. This ruined any exclusivity readers might have felt about getting a story sent to their mobile. Plus it came with illustrations and easier to read layout. Why would you prefer to read it on your mobile when the print and online versions offer a better experience?
This is a review in progress. Next time I'll look at the writing itself as the story will have concluded by then.