I keep seeing this, so it’s time we gave it a name. From a writer’s vantage, the 2000s have been defined by the crumbling of the NYC stranglehold on the publishing apparatus. The proles can now easily buy the means of production. Self-publishing is the way of the day.
This has led to the blook: the blog that eventually becomes a self-published book. The idea is not new, of course, but an evolution of the colook (collection of columns turned into a book) or the slook (collection of short stories turned into a book). All that’s changed is that now everyone’s a columnist and short story author, me included. Blog consistently enough about a subject, and you can get by with publishing the collection as a blook.
This I don’t like. When I buy a book, I’m expecting that someone meant it to be a book, with previously unpublished insights and a unifying theme. I’m not expecting it to be a bunch of stuff I could have read for free, or seen in the right magazines. I see this as a cheesy way to avoid the long project fatigue of sitting down to author a real book from start to finish. Waspish of me, but: it’s a great way to author by Tao. Ever read the Tao Te Ching? It’s all about doing by not doing. The blook seems exactly like what Lao-Tzu had in mind, applying his concept to authoring.
All the same, the consumer can adjust expectations and willingness to pay. If I think blooks are of less value than books, I can avoid buying blooks I consider not to deliver fair value. However, they sneak up on you, both at the bookstore and at Amazon. In the end, if you aren’t too enamored by blooks, the only answer is to research them yourself before you buy.