Books or Blogs ?

* This is probably the most boring post ever written on this blog. So skip it, if you feel like *

The real change in the book market is not the big guy vs. the little guy, or chain vs. indie stores. Rather, it’s the reader’s greater impatience, a symptom of our amazing literary (and televisual) plenitude. In the modern world we are more pressed for time, and we face a greater diversity of cultural choices. It was easy to finish Tolstoy’s War and Peace when there were few other books around and it was hard to find them. Today, finishing it means forgoing many other options at our fingertips. As a result, we tend to consume ideas in smaller bits, a proposition that (in another context) economists labeled the “Alchian and Allen theorem.” Long, serious novels are less culturally central than they were 100 years ago. Blogs are on the rise, and most readers prefer the ones with the shorter posts. Our greater access to books also means that each book has less time to prove itself. A small percentage of the books published account for a large share of the profits, thus setting off a race to track reader demand. Many customers want very recent best-sellers, often so they can feel they are reading something trendy, something other people are talking about. Of course, that’s its own kind of affectationand not an entirely pleasing one.

Did you find yourself relaxed to read that entire paragraph ? Or did you skip few lines and went straight down.

The above paragraph was just a piece from a larger article. First, I wasn’t even comfortable to paste a huge quote because I felt no one would read this entire paragraph. Such is the speed of reading these days. The quote rightly says, how people are more and more interested in consuming smaller bits of information than larger ones.

This is due to the in-famous information overload, being discussed in this blog often. I’ve been munching my thoughts on this info overload for atleast 2 months now. Resistance if futile. I couldn’t resist the information overload. In this speedy world of internet and weblogs and podcasts, books are becoming a heavier by the day. The moment you shut-off from the world and go back to books, you tend to have withdrawal symptoms. By the time one completes half a book, there are a dozen novels to be read, a dozen Mission Impossibles to be watched, handful of blogposts to be written.

At the same time, here is another thought. To write a book, something thats published on wood pulp, takes a long time. The book has to be composed , edited and published. And it takes it’s own time to reach the hands of readers. Someone has to read the book and then write a piece of appraisal on it. Only after this, the author of the book gets the first comments from his readers. Until then, its like waiting political parties waiting for the vote count, a grave silence.

Blogs are from a different leaque. I’m now writing this blogpost. I will post this[even without editing] in the next few minutes. Most probably the first comments could be seen within the first two hours. Sometimes, when books are discussed here, there is a grave silence but that is a different issue. So I as a blogger know the comments for or against will reach this blogpost in the next 2 hours. Whereas imagine if someone wants to write this same stuff in a book. It would take weeks/months for him to get the bouquets or brickbats.

At the same time, Blogs are laudatory and ephemeral. Books stand over time. Sidin Vadakut had written the famous blogpost on single south indian men. That was probably the most famous blogpost ever written. Leave out the war cries on IIPM(which were again ephemeral), they just caused some hot air. Now do you think Sidin’s post will be remembered 5 years from now. But if only it was a book, it would reach out for years to come. That’s just my belief.

May be all the above is just trash. May be we are going through a transformation and blogs are probably the future books. We don’t know, atleast me. Neverthless, this urbanised world is rapidly moving towards something. And its causing a lot of information overload. I have no clue how I would survive the load but I wish I could sit tight and read Dickens’ Pickwick Papers. Donno if I could it. To hell with information.

11 thoughts on “Books or Blogs ?

  1. Guru,

    The more a human evolves, the less the information he needs or craves for. All that we see these days is nothing but the same thing said in a different tone.

  2. Sums up the signs of the times 🙂

    One painful truth I discovered is that it used to be far more easier to cultive a new habit in olden days compared to today. The number of activities the average adult does in a day(check voicemail, check email, watch TV news, read online-news, make calls, plan trip) is 2 or 3 times as much as it used to be. As a result, concentration and focus work only in short bursts. I’m afraid the quality of work also suffers due to this. [20 years ago, we used to wait 2-3 yrs for a TV, now what we want we order it pronto!]

    Which is why, elders have perenially told us not to bite than what we can chew 🙂

  3. (Unless I’m much mistaken), this is the second time you are writing something I wanted to write about 🙂 But coping with information load is not as serious a problem as we imagine it. This blogpost by Kathy Sierra makes a lot of sense.

    http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/04/the_myth_of_kee.html

    Sure, reading does come down to fewer number of books, but there are well written blogposts on several books that gives an urge to read them. And don’t blame yourself for not reading a couple of books more, maybe they are dull and boring and everyone save literature students feel that way about those books. (well, War and Peace, for instance.)

  4. Lazy, what you’ve mentioned for reading applies to quite a few other things too. I cannot sit watching one channel for more than 4-5 mins (except its some cricket match). Keep switching channels. This applies to jobs as well. The restlessness is increasing (when our parents’ generation used to be content sitting on a clerical job throughout their life, we cannot feel contented with a job for even 6 months. I feel its something more than information overload. Can’t articulate what it is… Restlessness?
    People taking to Phds or studies of longer duration by choice is reducing? (or is it just my coloured glasses showing that way?)
    If u watch a movie in DVD / VCD, many a times we fast fwd the songs.. Even if it is a good song, sometimes…
    Don’t know what this means… Anyhow, everything moves on..

  5. You just have to know – what you are reading for and what you are going to do with that knowledge. Only those things – we got to be worried of missing – rest of the things [even if important – may be not for us – for the ones writing it may be new/interesting, other advantages/purpose to them] doesn’t matter know…?. To my knowledge – i’m not doing even most of what i already knew or read – which makes reading more things painful…

  6. Hey, thats well said. I started reading the large para, and then skipped ahead and came to your line about skipping a few lines. Thats when I read the rest of the blog dilligently 🙂

    Yes it is an information overloaded world. But no book is ever going to replace blogs, because no blog is as interesting as a book, and maybe I’m old fashioned enough to believe that the only way to read a book is to hold it and flip the pages and smell the paper and cover it and keep it smartly on a book shelf.

  7. Hey, thats well said. I started reading the large para, and then skipped ahead and came to your line about skipping a few lines. Thats when I read the rest of the blog dilligently 🙂

    Yes it is an information overloaded world. But no book is ever going to replace blogs, because no blog is as interesting as a book, and maybe I’m old fashioned enough to believe that the only way to read a book is to hold it and flip the pages and smell the paper and cover it and keep it smartly on a book shelf.

  8. //But no book is ever going to replace blogs, because no blog is as interesting as a book, and maybe I’m old fashioned enough to believe that the only way to read a book is to hold it and flip the pages and smell the paper and cover it and keep it smartly on a book shelf.//

    Hawkeye, Strong opinion there. While I agree how books are nice pets coming alongwith you, I have to disagree on “no blog is interesting than a book”. And you mention that in a blog 🙂

    Jokes apart, there are various blogs much better than books. ofcourse not a majority of them. But blogs are only here for the last 5-6 years. ??

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