My First Book: The Economics of a Video Game

by Kathryn on March 23, 2014



One year ago, I was thrilled to be working on my first nonfiction book project. Today, that book is out in the world! I received my author copies a few days ago. The book, “The Economics of a Video Game” is part of the Economics of Entertainment series from Crabtree Publishing.

I couldn’t have completed this project without the help of my husband, Steve Gargolinski, who worked in the video game industry for six years as a software engineer. He helped put me in touch with his former colleagues for interviews and industry information. Through his contacts, I was able to talk to prominent games industry analysts, as well as representatives from several large game companies. He also helped review the final drafts of the book, to make sure I wasn’t making any glaring mistakes.

I was contacted to work on the project because I had written an article for Odyssey about video games (Steve also helped with that article!) and because I had met the editor at a New England SCBWI conference that I helped organize. Networking definitely makes a difference!

The most interesting part of the project for me was writing to a very specific, very limited, word count. Each paragraph on each page had a word limit, and I had to be very deft with my sentences and explanations to keep everything under the limit.

Also, I had to explain a lot of economics… that was the whole point of the book, after all! The idea was to fool kids into learning some economics while reading about something fun and relevant to their lives. But what do I know about teaching economics to middle school students? Again, family saved the day — Steve’s cousin Amy had a brand new middle school economics text book that she lent to me. I read the first few chapters of the book numerous times, and an economics consultant also read through the book and provided helpful feedback.

Finally, my favorite thing about this book is that there’s nothing else like it out there. When I started doing research for this project, I looked. I found lots of books about the history of video games, and a few academic papers that linked economics and the video game industry, but not a single book for a young audience that talked about the video game industry and how it works. I hope lots of kids enjoy it, even though it’s already a bit out of date. (The XBox One and PS4 both came out this past December… way too late for me to include any data on their sales.) And who knows what types of games kids will be playing next year?

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