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May 25, 2005



Thanks, MJ, for asking Kevin to write on this subject here.

I agree. Books are not becoming obsolete (my word, not yours). In the past year, I've bought quite a few books with several more on my wish list, and I learned about every single one online. More than likely, these are books I never would have encountered otherwise.

That said, there is something to be said about what books are being published and heavily promoted. I just read a comment on another blog that readers seem to buy only from the best seller lists. That suggests to me that readers are not hearing about other books. So, how about a greater variety of book reviews in papers/mags?


I started my own blog a few months ago, and I quickly learned about feed readers. Definitely makes things easier when it comes to reading. Instead of blog hopping all over the place, the blogs are sent to me. Saves time. Time that can be used writing.


And despite everything, all these media are starting to converge as well. I just published a book that is a compilation of the best writing and recipes from food blogs around the world (called Digital Dish). it is PRIMARILY being marketed through the author's blogs - and other nice food blogger's blogs. And now I am getting requests to do interviews on podcasts! Most of the food bloggers are keyed in to RSS feeds (I get about 25% of my own food blog's readership that way). So why does anyone care? Well, although the audiences for each of these venues are miniscule by regular standards, any books I sell this way are sold as direct - no wholesaler or distributor to pay - no bookstore to pay even. So, because I am NOT in this to gouge the authors (I am one too after all), I pay them a referral commission.
Blogs can also be incredibly powerful. There is one food blogger - writing solely about food - who has 45000 visits a day. There are a couple of others who in six months have gone from brand new to multiple thousands of readers a day. The political blogs can multiply those numbers by at least ten.

Darell Harold

You are wrong, dead wrong. The proliferation of blogs and other online spinoffs means that too many people are blogging, writing, wasting time writing their online journals and not enuf time to sit down and read. Reading books on paper is a dead issue. A dead duck. It won't exist in 25 years. Just like Walkman got replaced by iPod, reading paper books will get replaced by this Internet reading addiction. It's all over now, Baby Book!

Emma Pele

I'm a published nonfiction writer, but I had a real urge to write a novel. I had no wish to go through the standard process, so I just started posting chapters on my blog. It's huge fun, since it's written under a pseudonym and in serial form, like a nineteenth century Dickensian "loose baggy monster." I get up most mornings and write it before I get on to my more official work. I think this could be a very interesting form that picks up a much older one, the serialized novels of times past, but with the various commentaries and other aspects of community made possible by blogspace.


Darell, I disagree. Printed books won't become obsolete. Not everyone wants to sit at a computer to read a book. For many of us, nothing compares to cozying up on the couch, or in bed or in your favorite chair, and reading a book, one you can hold. There will always be people who take pride in their libraries, regardless of the titles. Who's going to say, "Step up to my Mac and check out my library?" And what happens when the computer is down?

Kevin Smokler

Thanks for everyone's feedback. I hope the essay was useful to you.


hey, thanks for the shout! kevin your book is wonderful, and I'll be posting about it at NC as soon as I'm from honeymoon.

Lyndon the Adult eBook Webmaster

I agree with Emma Pele, printed books won't become obsolete. But for cheapness and 'no carbon required eco friendliness' ebooks cannot be beaten. We will all have to make sacrifices in the future and converting from paper to electronic media is going to be one of the easiest...

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