This is why Telltale is making a Minecraft adventure game

Many people saw Telltale Games and Mojang’s announcement yesterday of Minecraft: Story Mode as an indication that their worst fears about Minecraft‘s future under Mojang’s new owner, Microsoft, were being realized. But as odd as an adventure game set in the universe of Minecraft might sound, the concept makes a lot of sense.

Minecraft has become a global cultural phenomenon like few other games, and Microsoft’s $2.5 billion bid for the next generation of players may look like a bargain years from now. All kinds of Minecraft-related products are available in stores, such as clothes, action figures, Lego and — wouldn’t you know it — books.

Chris Suellentrop, video game critic for the New York Times, recently visited a Barnes and Noble location and immediately recognized just how smart a move Telltale and Mojang are making with Minecraft: Story Mode. He tweeted a photo of an endcap display filled with Minecraft books of all stripes, including strategy guides, unofficial novels and official handbooks.

In case you were confused by Telltale’s decision to tell a story inside Minecraft. This is a Barnes & Noble display.

— Chris Suellentrop (@suellentrop) December 19, 2014

The books with the minimalist red and olive green covers are Minecraft: Combat Handbook and Minecraft: Essential Handbook, respectively, both of which are officially licensed works published by Scholastic. You can also see all three novels in Mark Cheverton’s Gameknight999 series: Invasion of the Overworld, Battle for the Nether and Confronting the Dragon.

Here are the Barnes and Noble sales ranks for each of those books (a rank of 12 would correspond to the 12th highest-selling book on the retailer’s website over the past 26 weeks):

Minecraft: The Essential Handbook – 346
Minecraft: Combat Handbook – 1,461
Invasion of the Overworld – 272
Battle for the Nether – 549
Confronting the Dragon – 936

By the way, Minecraft: The Complete Handbook Collection — a package of all four books in Scholastic’s series — comes in at a sales rank of 22.

Minecraft: Story Mode is in development on Android, iOS, Mac, PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles and Windows PC, and is set for release in 2015.