Linden Lab and Draxtor Despres Launch the Second Life Book Club

Yesterday was the first episode of a new, livestreamed weekly book club series called the Second Life Book Club, hosted by Draxtor Despres. If you missed it, you can watch it here:

Drax, the truly indefatigable video chronicler of both Second Life and Sansar, is also an avid reader and book lover. He has been hosting The Drax Files Book Club Show in Sansar for well over sixty episodes, interviewing various authors in his broadcast studio tucked away in the basement at 114 Harvest, every Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. So it was perhaps inevitable that he would become involved in this new initiative: a book club in Second Life!

A press release from Linden Lab about the project states:

As book publishers adjust to coronavirus-era restrictions, the virtual world Second Life is launching the Second Life Book Club, a new “virtual world book tour” initiative that enables authors to have real-time book readings, engage in meet-and-greets with their fans and promote their publications in front of a live audience within the Internet’s largest user-created virtual world.

The Second Life Book Club, which debuts April 8th at 10 a.m. (Pacific), will kick off with a multi-author panel that will discuss the new reality of writing and selling books in the age of COVID-19. The event will feature a live Q&A with best-selling authors Matt Ruff (“Lovecraft Country”), Ken Liu (“The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories”), SL Huang (the Cas Russell series) and CB Lee (the Sidekick Squad series).

Upcoming shows will feature guests such as Tad WilliamsChristopher BrownQiufan ChenKelly RobsonChana Porter and Premee Mohamed.

The Second Life Book Club is hosted by virtual world personality Draxtor Despres, who is also producing the series in partnership with Linden Lab (creator of Second Life).

“When I first reached out to authors, some of them very high profile, I was surprised to get super enthusiastic feedback like: ‘Of course I will come on the show. Can I be a tentacle monster? Can I be a parrot? Can I fly?’,” says Despres. “It’s a dream come true for a book nerd like me!”

Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg adds, “Second Life offers a safe, fun retreat during a time of great anxiety, stress, and social isolation. Through the virtual world, people can stay connected and engage in friendly conversations and fun social activities such as visiting live music performances, virtual nightclubs and deejay events and now even book readings. Virtual world interactions offer a much deeper connection with other human beings than for example video conferencing: through the avatar and the shared space we feel as if we are fully present together.”

This is a win-win-win situation: a win for Linden Lab, a win for the authors, and also a win for Draxtor Despres, whom I believe to be the hardest-working man in virtual worlds, a non-stop whirlwind of activity! Drax is busy making promotional videos for Second Life, hosting regular shows and events in Sansar, running The Drax Files Radio Hour podcast—and on top of all that, he found time to complete and release a well-received, full-length feature documentary on virtual world use by the differently abled, titled Our Digital Selves: My Avatar Is Me. He’s truly an inspiration.

The Second Life Book Club will be every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Second Life Time/Pacific Time. And you can join the live studio audience on the new Book Club Island! (Be sure to pick up a stylish free Book Club T-shirt for your avatar at the entrance!)

See you there!

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Second Life Has Seen an Increase in New and Returning Users During the Coronavirus Pandemic (Plus the Launch of the Second Life Book Club)

This morning, host Strawberry Linden had as her guests for her weekly talk show Lab Gab:

  • Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg (a.k.a. Ebbe Linden); and
  • Linden Lab’s Senior Director of Marketing, Brett Atwood (Brett Linden).
Ebbe, Strawberry and Brett Linden at today’s Lab Gab

When asked if Linden Lab has noticed an increase in usage because of the pandemic, Ebbe said:

Absolutely. We’re seeing quite an interesting resurgence of returning users, as well as new users coming in to explore Second Life. We see registrations up over 60%, [user] concurrencies up north of 10%, and we’re just a week or so into people being locked up. We can actually see countries and states that imposed strict stay-home policies, we see a corresponding jump in people in those markets jumping into Second Life.


Second Life is launching a monthly Book Club event with Draxtor Despres bringing established authors into SL (much the same as he has in Sansar!) to do readings. A blogpost on the SL blog gives more details:

As book publishers scramble to adjust to new social distancing protocols and other coronavirus-era restrictions, Second Life offers a safe, synchronous way for authors to hold real-time book readings, engage in meet-and-greets with their fans and promote their publications in an immersive person-to-person setting.

We’re proud to partner with Draxor Despres for the introduction of the Second Life Book Club, a new series of literary-minded events. Drax has lined up many established authors for a series of recurring in-world “virtual book tours” that will be kicked off in April with a multi-author panel that will discuss their thoughts on writing and selling books in the age of COVID-19.

Scheduled for the kick-off event, which will happen on April 8 at 10 a.m. (SLT) in Second Life, are a slate of best-selling authors: Matt Ruff (“Lovecraft Country”), Ken Liu (“The Paper Menagerie”), SL Huang (“Zero Sum Game”) and CB Lee (the Sidekick Squad series). This premiere event will also feature a yet to be confirmed guest from the publishing end of the book business. Stay tuned for further announcements.


When asked about people who are experiencing difficulties in paying for sims due to pandemic-related financial difficulties (with Second Norway being a recent example), Ebbe encourages users to call the Support team at https://support.secondlife.com to discuss their particular situations, to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.


Linden Lab offices in San Francisco are closed, since California is on lockdown during the pandemic. All staff are currently working from home. Ebbe does not expect any interruptions to its service.


For those wanting to know when avatar name changes will be available to users, Ebbe said that “very few weeks” is the outer bound for that feature. (Which would be before the end of April….but we’ll see.)

There were many other questions, so here’s the full livestream on YouTube: