Saturday, December 21, 2013

Minecraft books are now a thing—about 500 of them!

Back in the days of bookstores you used to be able to tell what was hot in technology by looking at the shelves in the relevant section of the store. The current trend or fad would have dozens of associated titles filling the shelves, to the point that it became difficult to choose one.

Even though there aren't as many bricks and mortar bookstores as there used to be, the publishing industry still reacts to trends.

The trend being written about now is Minecraft.

Naturally there are the first-order books about Minecraft itself, or biographies of Notch or Mojang. Some examples:
A clear indicator that something is popular is when a "For Dummies" title appears.

Scholastic, the publisher of children's books and educational materials, is getting into the act, with the Minecraft: Essential Handbook and three other hardcovers(!) on the way. Scholastic owns the exclusive U.S. rights to the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games books—it knows a good thing when it sees one.

The publisher Minecraft Books was obviously formed to cash in on the trend and offers a slew of downloadable ebooks (currently 23 products on Amazon, some of which are collections of titles).

But the first-order books on how to play Minecraft or biographies of Notch are to be expected. What I find interesting are the second-order books—the stories and novels set in the Minecraft universe. Some examples:
Most of the above titles aren't just ebooks, they're published in the real world on dead trees.

I find it interesting how the subtitles are used to indicate that the books are Minecraft Novels or adventure stories.

Amazon shows Minecraft Novels as the name of an author with 14 titles to its name! Cashing in on a trend much?

When searching for Minecraft in the category Books, Amazon lists 670 results. Towards the end of the search not every item is about Minecraft, or they are ebooks, but Amazon could have around 500 books about Minecraft. This is an estimate—it appears that even Amazon's Advanced Search isn't up to the task of weeding out books that aren't about Minecraft from the results of a search for that word, and I'm not about to count by hand.

Still, five hundred books on Minecraft! My goodness, that's a lot of titles!

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