Sunday, May 08, 2005

Gutenberg in the 21st Century

Making Books of Blogs:

"An Israeli company plans to take the best blog postings by customers and put them between covers", says Nir Ofir, the editor.

Translating ideas. Making thoughts more than internet monologues. Blogs to be published in book format. A tale of two markets.

It's not a radical idea. Fiction writers have used blogs to write novels - readers interract with the author during the writing process and make suggestions. The author can specifically tailor a novel to attract a particular niche audience and with this pre-established audience, what publisher promotions director wouldn't drool over the idea? But what about the nonfiction? What about the millions of blogs written in diary or essay formats? Is this a new evolution of the memoir...creative nonfiction?

But even more perplexing is the question who will buy these books and from where? A tale of two markets: the computer savvy, blog-familiar, even blog-operator audience or an audience unfamiliar with the blogosphere wanting to get a traditional feel for the technology before jumping in? I guess where an individual buys such a book depends on which category that person fits into. The internet savvy individual will probably buy from Amazon, the other will probably buy it off a promotional endcap at their local Barnes & Noble. But will it really sell?

Does a non-blogging community really have a thirst for such material. Since the emergence of the blogger, questions regarding a "definition" of a journalist has been headline material among media-watchers. Thinking of collections of journalism, one could literally count mainstream, popular titles and authors on a single hand: Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe are the only that come to mind, and who really buys their nonfiction collections - media watchers. Bottom-line, a book format collection of popular blog posts is similar to reality TV - market saturation. Those interested in such collections already know how to find all these posts with relative ease on Google's homepage, why would they choose to buy them...longevity?

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