Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Mission for Litbloggers

Yes, linking to Confessions of a Bibliovore's January 17th post is shameless self-promotion. But it also illustrates what I think of as one of my missions as a litblogger.

We should be bringing older books to the attention of readers.

Review publications limit themselves to the newest releases. I can understand that. There are hundreds of thousands of books out there and these publications can't possibly give space to all of them. They can't even cover all the newest books, let alone the books piling up from years past. There's only so much time to read books and only so much ink to write about them.

General publications look for something "newsworthy" and when it comes to books, in their minds that means new. Or controversial. Or meeting some bizarre standard relating to human interest. A lot of good books will never be mentioned in your average newspaper or magazine.

But is the good book that is published this season going to be any less good next season when no one wants to talk about it? Or next year? Or eight years from now? The book doesn't change.

Bloggers can expand the window of opportunity for book promotion from a few months to...forever. We can bring older books to new readers. We can remind readers of books they were interested in but missed in all the pandemonium of new releases. We can expose them to books they would have never considered reading without us.

We're like every other reader. We're going to want to read what's new, too. But litbloggers read, period. We're writers, librarians, teachers, booksellers, and rabid readers. We read all kinds of things, and we can be talking about them in this forum to communicate our thoughts to others who might just be intrigued enough by them to pick up an older book they hadn't thought of before.

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