Because I bowed out of the Litblog Co-op citing personal and other obligations, I can see why some people, including the proprietor of The Literary Saloon, would take umbrage at this section of Joy Press’ Village Voice article about book blogs:
Newton says she declined because she’s already juggling a full load among her blog, a novel in progress, freelance book reviewing, and her day job. But she also argues that “the Co-op does something like what the media do — it creates a big push for a book. If their goal is to prove the influence of blogs to publishers, I think they’ll succeed — but it’s not a goal I share myself.” Instead, she says she prefers the way ideas slowly percolate down to the reader, independent of publishing dates and industry agendas.
So I’d like to clarify a few things.
First of all, as I told Ms. Press, I support the co-op’s desire to support neglected books. Secondly, I plan to try every “read this!” selection. And finally, because no part of the Internet is a closed circle, I’ll be able to talk about my own response to each book at my own site — a more traditional book blog approach (if anything in the blog world can be called “traditional”) that will enable me to discuss the nuances of my reaction.
I don’t mean to imply that I was misquoted in the Village Voice article. I wasn’t, and I do mean what I said, but it seems important to observe that I was responding to a direct question: “do you think the co-op will be able to achieve the goal of proving to publishers that blogs can influence book sales?”
Judging from the flood of review copies sent to my door, I think publishers already know blogs help move books. The co-op should offer concrete evidence of that. But I don’t think that’s the primary mission of its members, many of whom I have known, online at least, and respected for several years now.