Thursday, May 05, 2005

MORE ABOUT LITBLOGS, from the Village Voice. The interesting theme of this article is that, while the world of mainstream journalism has been fretting about turf encroachment from political bloggers, litblogs have been causing a revolution of their own, but in a way that should please the literary establishment: creating a forum for talking about books, writing about books, and generally re-igniting (if it ever actually went out) the public's interest in the written word.

The media have spent so much time gnashing their teeth over the influence of political bloggers that barely anyone has noticed something equally convulsive happening in the book realm. Despite the on-going panic about a contraction in both the audience for serious literature and the amount of mainstream print coverage books receive, literary conversation is erupting all over the Internet in the form of litblogs. Multiplying like the tribbles on Star Trek, these online journals suggest that reading is far from a dying pastime.

Literati are increasingly turning to the blogs for discussion, gossip, analysis, and a sense of community. Inevitably, publishers have noticed the power of these informal networks to generate word-of-mouth buzz—the holy grail of marketing—and are looking for ways to harness it. In turn, many bloggerati are on the verge of becoming that contradiction in terms, the professional enthusiast.

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