The future of Gamebook News

This feature is a departure from GBN’s usual content. It is not a newsbyte about a recent release of interactive fiction, nor a review of a gamebook author’s work. Rather it concerns something a bit more serious and markedly less fun: the very survival of Gamebook

But first, some backstory! Recently, GBN applied for a government grant through the Swedish government entity Kulturrådet (as some of you may know, the owner and Executive Editor (J. Pingo Lindstrom) is Swedish).

Success in this application would not only have ensured the continuation of GBN, but would have allowed us to begin to pay our contributors and administrators for their work, who up to now have given their time and effort for nothing more than a love of interactive fiction. Sadly, GBN did not get this grant.

We have not received many details about the reason for this rejection, but Kulturrådet came to the conclusion that GBN is neither critical nor independent enough. They also seemed to have issues with our short news items, which have been the mainstay of our content for some time now. This was explained to us via email. We have replied and asked for more details, but we have not received any further replies to our inquiries.

Just so there are no misunderstandings among our readers, we’d like to make clear the following:

GBN has always strived to be fully independent, supportive of authors and artists, and critical when the occasion demands. We do not take review issues, do not publish paid texts from third parties, and clearly mark advertisements. We are also one of few publications today that are solely focused on interactive fiction such as print books, FMVs, and audio and digital publications. We also understand our importance for smaller and independent publishers, who find it especially challenging to reach a larger audience for their work.

But GBN’s aspirations to become the largest news publication for interactive fiction in the world is severely threatened by lack of funding. We had a lot hanging on the Swedish government grant, and are now really struggling. Just to stress the point: all the work that goes into GBN is done for free. Our writers are not paid, and hosting costs are covered by the owner of the site. Advertisements and affiliate links (which are included on the site today) just go a small way, and do not get near to covering the costs of the site. Since GNB’s inception, this pro bono approach has been made to work by dedicated fans of interactive fiction – but it is not a viable way to pursue our publication hopes.

Hence, we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask you, our readers, for help. In the spring of 2020, we created the groundwork for a Patreon page, and at the beginning of 2021 we will begin to accept donations. Any funds raised from this will be used to maintain the GBN site and pay our writers so that they can resume writing the sorts of articles, reviews, and news that we think you’ll enjoy. We would also like to invite articles from brand new contributors, and be in a position to pay for work we accept for publication!

At the same time, we are mindful of the survey we ran earlier this year that made it clear that you, our readers, did not want GBN to turn into a “members only” site. In a perfect world, we don’t want that either, but we need to be able to cover our costs and pay our writers in return for high quality, entertaining and insightful content.

At the same time, we will strive to continue to be independent. Any reviews we publish will be as objective as possible, and we will remain free to criticize all publishers, authors, companies and publications where appropriate.

Receiving donations will not, therefore, interfere with our work. As a publisher or author, you might not like what we write about your books, even though you may have supported us with a donation. But that’s the only way we can stay independent. And, in the long term, it will be worth it. Quality work will gain the attention it deserves, and our readers will continue to have confidence in our opinions.

We hope that this process will bring enough funding to GBN to secure its future, but there is the possibility that the GBN site will be forced to close. This is an outcome that we will do everything to avoid, but it remains a sad possibility.

Our data tells us that GBN has lots of readers and lots of fans. We wish to continue to be an important support for new and established writers and publishers alike. We know that old established book series understand our value. We know that GBN is important to the world of interactive fiction. We just need a helping hand to get us through a very difficult time.

And we won’t be going anywhere too soon! Christmas is coming, and with it a little time off work. Our contributors at GBN will do their best to turn out at least one or two more long-form features over the festive period that we hope you’ll enjoy. Into 2021, we have decided to give it a few more months to work hard to make GBN a site worthy of our readers’ attention.

Please help us in this process, if you can!

This is the last post made in 2020. We wish you all happy holidays, and we hope to see you in the future, in 2021.

/ The Team of

5 thoughts on “The future of Gamebook News”

  1. On another website I’ve been part of for many years, they do fundraisers yearly for various causes. Fortunately, the site is maintained by donations and the creator. But, when the fundraisers run, there are raffles run that cost however much. The prizes are donated by various people. Some prizes are autographed.
    So yeah, prizes are good incentives for donating to a good cause.

  2. May I also suggest the “Buy a coffee” website? I am myself not too much of a fan of Patreon, but I have in the past supported one-off payments in this way. In one instance in one of the communities I am engaged of we raised a bit of money through such an endeavor. Granted these are one-offs, but can be complimentary of Patreon.

  3. Pablo Maria Martinez Merino

    If you make a Patreon, I will gladly pay a monthly amount for the continuation of this site (and I’m sure many others would too)

  4. Thanks to all of you for your kind words and suggestions. GBN is moving forward, and I will do all I can to keep this site alive as long as possible.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top