When is a Blog a Blog and a Book a Book?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Increasingly, what differentiates many books from blogs appears to be simply–for many–a matter of published format.

By Edward Nawotka

digital self publishing

In today’s media landscape, the variety of media is becoming increasingly elastic, and what constitutes a “book” is changing. Today’s feature story discusses the launch of Just World Books, a company that repurposes blogs on pertinent international topics and publishes them as print-on-demand books. But this raises a question: what really differentiates a blog from a book? Both are typically episodic (whether that’s chapters or posts), and both have a unifying voice or vision. What differentiates them is, traditionally, the polish.  A book is, ideally, a finished work, one that has been painstakingly edited and revised, to provide a consistent reading experience from start to finish. A book is “bound” — either physically or metaphorically.

A blog is expected to be something more ad-hoc and casual, something that can contain all manner of writing — from long, labored-over think-pieces to tossed-off anecdotes and ephemera.

Increasingly, as the barriers to publish either in print or online have fallen, what differentiates many books from blogs appears to be simply — for many — a matter of published format. The absolute, ivory tower authority of the book has been challenged and reduced.

Yet, this also brings up another important question: having read someone’s blog, would you then bother to buy the book based on the same blog?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business exclusively since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.