Saturday, April 09, 2005

Can litbloggers be as influential as paper-based reviewers?

That's the question being asked by the Lit Blog Co-op (LBC), a collection of twenty litbloggers (so far, at least) who have decided to come together for a new experiment. The idea is that the members of the LBC will collectively choose a recently-published book four times a year that they feel deserves to get more attention than the mainstream media is giving it; these twenty litbloggers, then, will each write reviews of the book at their own sites, post entries about the book's history and themes, conduct interviews with the book's author, and in general just try to convince as many people as possible to go out and actually buy the book.

You might be tempted at first to question their decision to only choose paper-based books for the project, but keep in mind their goal - to respond to the mainstream media's recent criticism that litblogging is a passing fad, and that litbloggers ultimately have nothing worthwhile to say, or else they'd be paper-based reviewers as well. The LBC's hope is to prove such critics wrong, and to show that litbloggers can have just as profound an influence on the mainstream publishing industry as any paper-based review publication - and unfortunately, in the age we live in, the "mainstream publishing industry" can be directly replaced by the term "paper-based publishing industry." Anyway, it's a great project, and I fully plan on purchasing the books being recommended myself; I highly recommend that others become readers as well, and especially those who believe in the power of online literary conversations. (Thanks to Scott Esposito, one of the LBC's contributors, for pointing this out.)