roll up roll up for the mystery tour

Our first fictional stimulus is launched on Tuesday - we've already got a mass of interesting people from all over the world signed up. It's an experiment for us in a method of publishing which we want to develop. For the time being we're using a Ning, a simple means to build a small social network; it does what we want within a fixed format and is fine for our purposes, but punters need to sign up to Ning before they get into the site. The Stimulus is aimed primarily at book readers who may be less confident on-line, so we don't want this to put them off. One friend on Facebook said she wanted more of an explanation before signing up, so here is the text they'll also find on the front page once they're logged in at

Can this package of poems and stories in digital form boost global confidence in literature's future?

Fictional Stimulus is a reading experience for people who like books and are curious about the future of literature in the digital world.

It's an introductory taster for those new to reading online, and its form is inspired by the bookgroup where everyone reads the same material then gets together to discuss it at the end.

Fictional Stimulus starts on 22 September 2009, when we will email you a link to your first batch of literary stimuli. The experience will run for four weeks, over which time you’ll be sent twelve emails, each taking you to a concise selection of material including new work and commentary, plus links to a few other sites you might be interested to look at.

Fictional Stimulus culminates in a live chat with Kate Pullinger and the if:book team on 13 October when you’ll have a chance to ask questions and join the debate on the future of the book. The complete Stimulus will still be available to read here after that date.

As well as reading the new content on the site as it is posted, you can if you want to start and join discussions in the forum, post information about yourself on your profile page, chat live to other participants online and leave comments on each piece.

Fictional Stimulus is free to access, so do invite your friends to come and join in.

Fictional Stimulus is produced by if:book, the London-based think and do tank exploring the future of the book in the digital age. It includes material funded by Arts Council England and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

We hope you enjoy the experience. It's an experiment for us all.

The if:book team


And for those based in London, there's a launch event at the Moors Bar, Crouch End on Tuesday 22nd September and a final if:book salon and online chat on Tuesday October 13th at the Betsey Trotwood pub in Farringdon.

Email chris at futureofthebook dot org dot uk for more information or go to the Future of the Book group on Facebook.



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