Facebook's hoping the next novel you read will be on Messenger, because that's where they've just released one.
'The Chef' is by American thriller writer James Patterson, author of the Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club series, among many others.
You start reading the novel by opening a chat with James Patterson on Messenger, during which your responses are scripted for you and mostly consist of knife emojis.
The novel comes at you in chunks of conversation-style broken-up text, plus graphics and videos. It's kind of a cross between a TV show and a book, including mocked-up pictures from the characters' Instagram feeds, videos of the chef's recipes and other such interactive content. At first, it seems really offputting to someone used to books that don't move, but we have to admit it is engaging – and the format makes a lot of sense with how people consume content now (on their phones, rather than on former trees).
As to whether the format will take off, the jury's out – but it's an original idea, and we have no complaints about a new book being made available free of charge to anyone with Messenger.
Give it a go here, then head to the official Facebook group for the online equivalent of a book club meeting, except with lots of tech support complaints about not being able to access the book. Super. [Evening Standard]