January 14, 2010

A book blogger's reason for being

Anyone who doubts the future of reading should digest what author John Green has to say on the subject in the January issue of School Library Journal. Although this periodical is written for public and school librarians, book bloggers might want to take note. Green says librarians (and I say book bloggers) have a wonderfully important role in the future of reading, especially for children’s books. 

For starters, the very definition of book has changed now that video and three-dimensional rendering can be woven through an electronic book. In fact, some very fine authors have stopped working with major publishing houses because they can work with print-on-demand outlets and sell their works online, Green says. Not a fan of electronic books and reading devices? Okay, let’s just deal with print for the remainder of this discussion. 

In the amazing new landscape of publishing, we have a world of opposites: big box stores like WalMart that stock lots and lots of a few blockbusters versus Amazon which offers the world and everything adjacent to it. This covers the vast and sometimes confusing sphere of works that originate from small niche and self-publishers: the good, the bad, and the ugly. A few books get millions of readers. Millions of books get a few readers.

No one has to figure out what a blockbuster is. Kids and adults can easily find their way to these books without our help. But in the rich/diverse/all-things-are-equal realm, librarians and book bloggers will have a growing role to play. We (not the great publishing giants) become the great sifters. Book bloggers and librarians become the authorities who help people find their way through what Green calls “the sea of crap.” We’ll be needed more than ever because there are LOTS of stories to read. When people get confused by choices, they turn to authorities. That, my book blogging friends, is us. That, my fellow readers, is why you might want to latch on and subscribe to a blogger who covers your taste in books.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Good post! I agree: for the past several years, I've increasingly used book bloggers to filter through all the crap. I have about a dozen or so whose tastes reflect mine, and I basically go off their suggestions.

That said, it does get a little in-bred though, everyone reading the same books...