Blog Books in the Times

I was quoted in an article in today's New York Times about books by bloggers. In the article, I might come across like the resident skeptic (and I'm missing a comma). I was trying to point out that blogs and books are different forms, that a great blog doesn't necessarily make for a great book, that each medium has its own formal qualities. I don't disagree that there are some reasons why publishers would want to publish books by bloggers — successful bloggers are generally people who prove that they can write in a consistent way, that their writing attracts an audience, that their knowledge is up to date, and that their topic areas are relevant. But I do think that the act of sitting down to knock off a blog entry is fundamentally different from the act of sitting down to write a sustained work, whether it be a novel or a long work of non-fiction. Last weekend I was in Providence with the Grand Text Auto drivers. We had some interesting discussions about this very topic. If GTxA does pull together a coauthored book, it will likely have a different flavor both from the blog and from the type of scholarly monograph that any of us would be likely to write on our own. I don't think that blog “shovelware” would make for a compelling book, but there are some characteristics of blog writing which might make for an intruiging hybrid with the traditional academic book.

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