Tomorrow morning, I'll definitely be checking the Amazon bestseller charts for US horror fiction; not because I like horror, but because I like fairy tales. Exactly a year ago today the list was topped by Ancestor, a futuristic novel by Scott Sigler. This year his new book, Infected, is likely to repeat the feat, with pre-release sales already launching it into the top 20. Sigler's prose isn't really my thing, but his own success story is internet rags-to-riches gold, and its fairy godmother is the podiobook.
So little known they don't even have their own Wikipedia page,podiobooks (otherwise known as podcast novels) are serialised audiobooks, released on the net in free podcast instalments. They represent one weapon in a whole new arsenal of online authorial autonomy. Infected has not only been pre-released as a chapter-by-chapter podiobook; it was also available as a PDF eBook for four days before publication, and comes with a host of downloadable stickers, ringtones, wallpapers and CDs to fuel its cult appeal.