Are visual novels dating sims?
This can lead to confusion, as visual novels are considered a subgenre of adventure games and are not included in the dating sim genre. While the two genres often share a common visual presentation, dating sims are considered to be more statistically based, whereas visual novels focus on telling a branching story.
Do people play visual novels?
You play them. Visual novel usually includes text, art, music, voice acting and quite often attempts to make character act, displaying personality via different sprites. So, it is more than a book. It sits half- way between a book, a game and an animated movie where you can affect the outcome of the movie.