I’ve been saving these for last, because they’re really the juiciest: a couple of articles authored or co-authored by Mark Bernstein.
Bernstein is the founder of Eastgate Systems, a company promoting serious hypertext. They sell a small but — within the hypertext community — highly respected collection of hypertext fiction and nonfiction, at serious book prices: much of it runs from $25 to $45. And they produce and sell Storyspace, a tool for hypertext creation. This is a niche market: the major works are self-consciously literary or pedagogical, and I think it would be fair to say that IF in general is a more populist form. At the same time, hypertext is a more successful niche market than IF: how many of us are selling IF game files at $45 a pop? how many would feel ballsy enough to try? And, leaving aside the commercial, hypertext also gets studied more extensively by academia, taught in more new media courses, and generally considered more serious.
Some of this has to do with accidents of community — with the sorts of people who happened to be drawn into creating each kind of thing, and with the ways in which they framed and presented their finished products. But I also think the media favor different kinds of content, and it’s interesting to look at why.