Classic Book Collection Headed to DS

They say that confession is good for the soul, so I’ll cop to a belief that Sony’s PSP is, from a technical standpoint, cooler than the DS.

But the PSP is damned near on life support while the DS not only has a ton of games, but awesome and innovative DS non-games that keep popping up as well. First there was a DS cartridge to teach yourself Chinese. Then there was an SAT prep course on DS; a quit smoking self-help DS title; even a cookbook. And soon, readers will be able to own 100 classic tomes on a single DS cart.

Eurogamer reports that Nintendo, in partnership with publisher Harper-Collins, will release the 100 Classic Book Collection for DS on Boxing Day (Dec. 26) in the European market:

You read holding the DS like a book, and flicking through the pages with the stylus. There are search and bookmark functions – and additional works available to download via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

Amazon has the full list of books included. You get 21 Shakespeare plays, 13 Dickens novels, and all the canonical corset-busting classics you’d expect from Jane Austen, Charlott Bronte, Thomas Hardy, Herman Melville and the like.

The collection has a lighter side too, though, with a couple of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries, some high adventure from Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, wit from Wilde, Swift and Twain, an Edgar Allen Poe collection, and even a bit of racy old D. H. Lawrence for bored housewives everywhere.

Check out the Amazon UK product page.

GP: So, is this product coming to the U.S. market, or does Nintendo think that we Americans are illiterate barbarians?

Via: Destructoid

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  1. NotSoHardcoreGamer says:

    I love this idea.  Reading really does wonders for people’s minds and spirits.

    What I don’t like:  Is this even going to work?  Is this convenient enough for people to buy and read books in this manner?

    Personally, I prefer having a low-tech paper, cardboard and glue tome on my hands.  Call me old-fashioned, but a book is far more portable, convenient, resilient, versatile and replaceable (at worst) as a literary medium than anything electronic from my experience.  It’s easier on my eyes, too.

    I like utilizing new technology and even gaming apparati for education nevertheless, so I’m gonna cross my fingers for this one.

  2. finaleve says:

    So instead of book burning, we’ll have DS burning?


    I can see its effectiveness and how it pertains well with an actual DS, but how would the text work?  Will I have to strain my eyes looking at the screen or will the font be large and there are many pages to be read?


  3. sqlrob says:

    Shakespeare is nowhere near Old English. Go read the original Beowoulf or Canterbury Tales and tell me it even comes close.


  4. Michael Chandra says:

    "does Nintendo think that we Americans are illiterate barbarians?"
    Aren’t you?

    (Someone had to say it.)

  5. Matthew says:

    These sort of readers can’t compete with the source material. This much is pretty obvious. However, I don’t think they’re trying to.

    MP3 players aren’t trying to replace home music systems (though they do plug into a lot of them now). They’re mainly just a way of listening to lots of music on the go without filling your pockets. Nobody is saying the iPod is a waste of time because it doesn’t sound as good as their music at home.

    Same deal here. If you want to read a book, you read a book. It’s tactile, comforting, and is the third best thing you can do in bed. If I want to catch up on a few pages on the way to work though, a reader like this is excellent. 14 hour flight next time you go on holiday? A DS plus this cart fits neatly in your hand luggage. You’re paying for convenience over anything else.

    Oh yeah, and there’s a little bonus benefit too. You get to answer a condescending, "What are you playing?" with "Dickens."

  6. Badluck1313 says:

    Speaking of which, I wonder what Jacky McDoucheDouche will have to say about this? Probably something along the lines of " What! Gamers can’t read! Jesus told me so!"

    I’m looking forward to it, though. I have been meaning to read some of the classics, and I’ve always liked E.A. Poe.

  7. Father Time says:

    I’d hate to be the ESRB if they have to rate that game. Is this software appropriate for kids, well if it has shakespeare it’s almost guaranteed to have scenes of murder in it (especially if there’s 21 of his plays). He also sometimes had sexual innuendo hidden amogst the old english so that when he did the play live the adults would get the humor while the kids wouldn’t understand (it was also vague enough so that he can maintian it’s innocence if the clergy complained).

    I can’t imagine how the japanese translators must’ve felt since even regular chaps need an Olde English to modern english translator for Shakespeare.


    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  8. Erik says:

    Shakespeare manipulates thy offspring into deeds most murderous.  I fortold this dubious occuance in the presence of thy king himself.  Prepare thine self youth, for Johnathan Montague Thompson shall cut thy tounges from thy mouth.  No more shalt thy feel the principle freedom of speech come from thy mouths like a summer breeze.


    Johnathan Montague Thompson, Once and future court jester

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  9. Cheater87 says:

    So there will either be T or M rated books or classic books edited so the digital version won’t offend anyone.

  10. Flamespeak says:

    "They more than likely will be ‘adapted’ for the DS title. It is a fancier way of saying edited for content while still giving you a run down of what happened. This isn’t an uncommon thing and it is why you can find copies of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in the Children’s section of many bookstores and libraries.

    With how child friendly Nintendo is I can foresee it happening. I do have to wonder how they would take out all the murder, violence, and bat-shit crazy stuff going on in McBeth though.

  11. sheppy says:


    I wish I could drum up SOME excitement for this product but facing facts, I just can’t.

    1.  DS screen resolution.  Am I REALLY the first one to mention this?  The screen resolution will either force large words to be readable or smaller words to fit more.  Every attempt I’ve seen on DS in this regard, including homebrew (oh wait, I’m in the US… naughty naughty man owning an R4 should speak nothing of such things), have resulted in disaster in both aspects.  Sure, Three Musketeers seems like a daunting task of 1200 pages when I read it many years ago but imagine the horror when, to fit on the DS screen and be readable, suddenly you’re looking at a 9000 page saga.

    2.  Backlight reading applications are "teh phail."  Seriously, this is why most initial eBook attempts have been horrid products.  Kindle doesn’t even use a conventional LCD.  The DS is not built for prolonged use in regards to text.

    3.  Everything in this collection is already free.  If I couldn’t pick up a "complete works of Jules Verne" tome on the Borders clearance racks for under $10, I could see the value here.  But the complete works of Poe?  Snagged that baby years ago for $2.99 at Meijer.  While the value here is perceived, the reality is everything there is obtainable in better formats cheaper.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  12. Zen says:

    That brings up the issue on if they will attempt to edit these writings to suit all ages, and not to offend anyone, or will they leave them true to themselves as a view of life during the different periods?  I know that Mark Twain had some racial issues, viewed from both sides, that could offend some people, but would they have the right to edit it?  I would rather my children understand it as it honestly is and then, as a parent, discuss the issue with him and show him how the world has changed from those times. 

    Zen aka Jeremy Powers
    Panama City, Fl.

  13. Kris says:

    I’d be down with this.  I’d mostly likely buy a copy if it came state side.  I don’t really like e-books; I prefer to hold a book in my hand.  But those classics…buying all them up can be kind of pricey, and they take up a lot of shelf space.  Plus I’d rather read on something like the DS than I can take anywhere than having to sit at my computer (because I hate reading lengthy things on the computer).  And I already have a DS, so it’s not like I’d have to buy extra equipment.

    Seems that the cookbook is rather more interesting than I would have thought, so I don’t see any reason why something like this wouldn’t turn out alright.

  14. E. Zachary Knight says:

    The best source of public domain literature on the web. I have been there several times and would go more, if I had a portable electronic device smaller than my ten pound laptop.

    Also, they are getting into public domain sheet music as well. That is cool in itself.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
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    E. Zachary Knight
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  15. Flamespeak says:

    Due to the use of alcohol, tobacco, racial issues, and violence that were present in most ‘classic’ works of literature, I would say this game gets an M.

  16. Matthew says:

    It’s a nice alternative to dropping coin on one of the other readers out there. I just hope that a) the screen is suited to it, though I dare say it will have all sorts of options for tailoring its look; and b) has future Wi-fi downloads. Don’t just give us the 10 in the first month and then let it rot. Come on, Big N. Give us a library over the course of a year.

    It’s a shame that the PSP version would probably be much better for importing your own content.

  17. Zen says:

    True, because they can rate games as they do for protection and recommendation, regardless of it’s belief as art.  But these books have had a LONG standing view and listing as written art.  If they gave it a rating that stopped some children from being able to purchase it, would that listing have to be viewed as for the book itself, or just this version.  And it would be nice to see how libraries treat it, as some actually don’t allow for games inside their buildings.

  18. Zen says:

    I will probably buy it because it ISN’T like a normal book. Odd as that sounds, it would be for my son.  He reads at a higher level than most of his classmates, and enjoys reading just about anywhere he can get.  As such, he’s already working his way through some Final Fantasy games on the DS and some classic RPGs on the SNES and Virtual Console in the house.  Getting a collection of stories on the DS that he can carry with him and read any where, regardless of light conditions, would be a novel way of exposing him more to the classics instead of finding book collections. 

    And in regards to the cookbook, we bought that yesterday and she cooked dinner with it.  Freaking worked WONDERFULLY.  She loves that instead of losing her place in a book and having to hunt for it, her and the DS just talk to eachother and it even has videos showing her, as it says, "everything from neading pizza dough to rolling sushi".  So we’re looking to expand our cooking abilities with it in the future. 

  19. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I think this could actually make a nice test case for the ESRB. Will they rate it even though it is technically not a game or will they not rate it for that reason? If the ESRB does not rate it, will retailers be willing to sell it with out a rating? While it is not a game, it is software for a gaming machine. Where do the ESRB and retailers draw the line?

    Come on Nintendo bring it to the US.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page:
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    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
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    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  20. beemoh says:

     I’m quite impressed by a lot of these non-games popping up on the handheld formats- this seems to be what Multimedia and CD-ROM promised to deliver but never could because of the expense and size of computers at the time.


  21. Thomas McKenna says:

    I don’t think I’d buy it.  the warm glow of my DS, while comforting, just can’t live up to the feel of reading a good book (in actually, bounded form with the smell of aged paper…mmm…I feel like reading now).

  22. SeanB says:

    No, it’s the software that will be rated. It will be rated E, With an online disclaimer that content may change during online experience. Books will probably be downloadable.

  23. Flamespeak says:

    1. A physical book will not rely on a piece of technology that will eventually become outdated to exist. While I like the DS, I don’t believe it will be around in ten more years, whereas a physical copy of any of the tomes listed in that title will be around for countless years as long as they are properly cared for.

    2. Unless you are Abe Sapien, I doubt you will physically be reading multiple books at one time.


  24. Flamespeak says:

    "I’ve been meaning to read that." – RetroGamer

    "A classic is a book that everyone wants to have read but nobody wants to read." – Mark Twain

  25. RetroGamer says:

    Hmm.  I’ll pick it up.  It’s a good mix of "I love that book," and "I’ve been meaning to read that."

    Who says gaming devices can’t do good.  Oh yeah, him.

  26. zel says:

    Ya i was thinking that as well, how the hell do books not have a rating system and nobody cries foul? They should rate each book in a collection and force a rating requirement just to piss everyone off 😛


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  27. beemoh says:

    …the front of the box says "This product does not require age classification." :p

    (Which, as far as the UK is concerned, is fairly consistent as music DVD releases don’t require classification, either)

    (EDIT: Looking at that back, that might require clarification- music DVDs aren’t rated by the film censorship board because they’re not films, they’re music- for the same reason the film board doesn’t (by default) rate game custcenes, as they’re not film, they’re games. Likewise, this isn’t a game- it’s a load of books, and therefore not under the jurisdiction of the game censorship board)


  28. Moriarty70 says:

    Yeah, and DS’s will be banned from being used in school libraries. Poe, Rated M for Blood, and Gore. But will they rate each book, or the collection as a whole? If that’s the case I think and AO is possible.

  29. Cheater87 says:

    Oh great now books are going to be rated by an age based rating system for the first time in the US. 😛

  30. Flamespeak says:

    the Electronic Book Readers that are out there, have a certain color scheme to them to better simulate the appearence of text on paper. The human eye gets strained when reading on a monitor for an extended period of time. I wonder if the DS title will remedy this problem.

    The Kindle is the best E-book reader out right now simply because of the massive collection of books at a resonable price for it.  Still, I prefer to hold a the weight of a solid book in my hands. It is a different experience using an e-book, but it isn’t really a worse one.

  31. SeanB says:

    "the limited market that is interested in them" is the problem. Mainstream readers (lol) dont enjoy sitting in front of a computer screen to read.

    You are absolutely right though. If it could mimic a book, and allow them to curl up with it…. they might do better.

    I still dont see it taking off though. Book stores have such an iconic feel to them. Readers may be open minded, but not in the delivery of thier books! 🙂

  32. VideolandHero says:

    So, is this product coming to the U.S. market, or does Nintendo think that we Americans are illiterate barbarians?

    Most DS games involve reading dialogue, so I doubt that.

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  33. MaskedPixelante says:

    I think that this probably won’t do so well in North America because, and this is just my thought, if I wanted to read a book, I’d go read a book. And even to consider it, it would have to have some GOOD sci-fi on it.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  34. Moriarty70 says:

    I hope so, since the US market also means the Canadian market. Least we could do is show Twain some respect after how much he loved our women.

  35. insanejedi says:

    I think the reason why it isin’t selling well is that most E-books are unitaskers (only 1 task) either that or they come in unweildy devices such as Ipod (clunky controls), or Laptop (too big) or Palm Pilot (Same with Ipod) but I think a DS would work because it’s compact and has tactile controls, while the book style obviously matches reading a book. It’s also a multi tasker doing more than reading books.

  36. E. Zachary Knight says:

    e-books are doing fine for the limited market that is interested in them. I would think they would take off better if the readers were actually a dual screen set up so as to mimic a book better.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
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    E. Zachary Knight
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  37. SeanB says:

    this product, while cool, wont do well in the USA. It’s not about being illiterate, it’s just that E-Book sales arn’t doing well.

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