Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Audible lets you talk back to books as the CYOA returns

Audiobooks don’t have to be a passive experience, and thanks to a return for a retro classic, you can now talk back and change the way the book goes.

Depending on how old you are, you might remember when the book was interactive. It was a different time, back when the book wasn’t under threat from the digital reader or anything web-connected, because there wasn’t really a web to connect to.

It was in the late-70s through to the 90s, when writers had come up with a different way to get people interacting with their books, building a “Choose Your Own Adventure” title.

Much like it sounds, the Choose Your Own Adventure book (or “CYOA” for short) could take the reader on different paths based on their choices, telling readers to go to various pages and creating what was a book-based maze to get to the end of their own path. Different from the traditional book, the final page may not have the ending, and so reading a Choose Your Own Adventure was a little like a video game, though one handled entirely in text.

These sorts of titles haven’t been around for a good 10 or 20 years, however, and the world has changed. We largely look at portable games for this sort of interactive fiction, though you can occasionally find something like it on other mediums, as well, such as with Netflix’s recent foray with interactive video.

But Amazon’s audiobook service Audible is bringing the concept back for folks to revisit, looking back at the old Choose Your Own Adventure titles and converting two of them for its Audible service.

For this release, you can find the CYOA books for “The Abominable Snowman” and “Journey Under The Sea” available on Amazon Alexa-enabled speakers as a free Alexa skill, and apparently without an Audible subscription needed, with the phrase “Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure” kicking it into action when the skill is installed to your Alexa speaker, including the Amazon Echo, Echo Spot, and Echo Dot.

From there, you’ll be able to explore the story interactively by making decisions, and if one fails, you can always tell Alexa to “go back” or “change story” to start again.

As to whether this will expand into other stories, Audible’s local arm wouldn’t confirm if anything else was coming, though if these are successful, we’d hazard a guess that this path will lead you to “yes”.

Read next