Since the CYOA series relaunch in 2005, Chooseco has reissued many of the “Classics” made famous in the 1980s with updated text, adding things like cellphones and computers, to update them for a new generation. The books maintained the original format: a smaller digest size with black and white interior illustrations. The covers also followed suit, using a white background and the “notched” double frame until 2007 when the covers were updated. The new design includes a simplified single frame, printed with a neon Pantone®, and a full-cover image that extends beyond the frame.
Chooseco also introduced Dragonlarks, a series for younger readers. These picture books for ages 5+ are larger, filled with colorful drawings and fewer choices.
In 2014, R. A. Montgomery wrote his final book for younger readers, Gus vs. The Robot King. Montgomery was passionate about education all his life and felt interactive fiction was critical especially for helping reluctant readers achieve reading “fluency,” the final stage of true literacy. Chooseco Co-founder, Shannon Gilligan (who was also married to Montgomery and wrote many early CYOA titles), has continued to expand on this legacy as the current Publisher of Chooseco.
ABOUT SHANNON GILLIGAN
Shannon Gilligan is the CEO and Publisher of the hugely popular Choose Your Own Adventure® (CYOA) gamebook series. She has worked in the field of interactive gaming and storytelling for more than 30 years.
Gilligan first joined CYOA as project manager of an adaptation of two Choose Your Own Adventure books into games for the Atari console in 1982. She began to write for the series as one of many CYOA writers soon after. In the early 1990s, Gilligan was “evangelized” by Apple in their legendary program to persuade and support creatives outside of technology to develop software for the Mac (Apple) platform.
Her mystery game “Who Killed Sam Rupert?” subsequently became the first commercially distributed game to include Quicktime. She formed Spark Interactive to continue her work on game design for the Mac and the PC, and produced and directed Comic Creator, voted “Best Software of the Year” by People Magazine in 1995. In addition to her pioneering interactive gaming contributions, Gilligan published her first book at age 22, and has penned 14 CYOA titles. In 2003, she and her husband R. A. Montgomery co-founded Chooseco, a purpose-built publisher, for the relaunch of the CYOA series in print and e-book forms.
The series has expanded to more than 100 titles and includes baby board books, picture books for younger readers, and a popular and historically accurate CYOA Spies series based on true-life spies. Gilligan is currently at work adapting CYOA into an interactive cartoon series, while also steering CYOA into new markets in education, gaming, and software. She is a board member of Partnerships for Literacy and Learning and feels strongly that commerce can be positively involved with education.
In addition to the Classics, Chooseco has published several “sub-series” including Choose Your Own Nightmares and the popular CYOA Spies books, based on the lives of real historical spies. Chooseco has even released several of the most popular Classics as board books for babies which include one to two choices and two to three endings.
In 2021, Chooseco published two longer format titles. The first was the fantasy epic The Citadel of Whispers by Kazim Ali, poet and Professor and Chair of the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego. The second was a humor-focused book titled Time Travel Inn written by well-known humorist and children’s author Bart King.
Choose Your Own Adventure ventured into the educational space with their first math workbook published in the fall of 2022. The Dregg Disaster is an original and cleverly designed interactive story for students learning Algebra I. The book is a fast-paced crime caper where readers solve algebraic equations to get to the next page in their story. Each of the four chapters is followed by an “Adventurer’s Advice” section to help students navigate their way through the gamebook if they need help. The book also comes with a free online download with more algebra problems and an answer key.
“As a math teacher, I never found a book that presented rigorous math with excitement and humor, so I wrote one myself!” ―Chris Matthews, author of The Dregg Disaster
Chooseco continues to evolve the series through partnerships and licensing. Z-Man games published the first ever Choose Your Own Adventure board game in 2018 based on House of Danger and followed with War with the Evil Power Master a year later. Oni Press published CYOA’s first graphic novel adaptation of Eighth Grade Witch in the summer of 2021 and Journey Under the Sea in the fall of 2022. Penguin Random House will publish the first Stranger Things Choose Your Own Adventure: Heroes and Monsters, based on the fourth season of the hit Netflix series in April 2023.
The fourth bestselling children’s book series of all time will introduce two more longer middle reader books in the fall of 2023, Time Travel Inn 2 and Murder at the Old Willow Boarding School, as well as a new Classic, Sister from the Multiverse.
- 270 million books in print worldwide, 20 million since the relaunch in 2005 with 109 published titles as of spring 2023
- 53 titles in the re-launched Classic series (ages 7-14) including Journey Under the Sea, Space and Beyond, The Abominable Snowman, and Mystery of the Maya as well as many other brand-new Classics.
- 32 titles in the Dragonlarks series for younger readers (ages 5-9) including Your Very Own Robot, The Haunted House, and Ghost Island.
- 6 Choose Your Own Adventure: Spies historical fiction titles Spies: James Armistead Lafayette, Spies: Mata Hari, Spies: Mary Bowser, Spies: Harry Houdini, and Spies: Noor Inayat Khan, and A Spy for Cleopatra (ages 9-12).
- 6 Choose Your Own Adventure baby board books based on the original Classics, including Lost on the Amazon, Space and Beyond, and more.
- 3 Choose Your Own Nightmare horror titles Blood Island, Eighth Grade Witch and Snake Invasion (ages 9-12).
- 3 hardcover Choose Your Own Adventure titles: The Golden Path I & II (ages 10+), and The Citadel of Whispers (ages 12-17).
- 1 longer and larger format Choose Your Own Adventure book for middle readers), Time Travel Inn (ages 9-12).
- 1 Choose Your Own Adventure math workbook, The Dregg Disaster (ages 12+).
- YOU are the hero of the story and make choices leading to multiple endings in every book…
- Themes include swashbuckling adventure, travel, mystery, fantasy, world culture, ancient civilizations, scary creatures, and space.
- Numerous recurring characters.
- In April 2023, Penguin Random House will publish a Stranger Things Choose Your Own Adventure “Heroes and Monsters”.
Chooseco is based in north central Vermont. It boasts a top-notch creative team dedicated to promoting literacy through immersive gamebooks based on the principles of series founder R. A. Montgomery.