Serendipity strikes again. Since writing my post about publishing my blog posts as an ebook, I’ve been slowly adding relevant posts to the project, and beginning to develop categories. I’ve also decided to tag each chapter, just as I’d tag posts here on WordPress, so subjects that are in more than one chapter can be tracked. As I said, the book won’t be a blog dump.
If you want to see a blog dump, then here’s the perfect example. Please note that I did download this book because it looks as if it has some good content, and I’m going to bookmark the author’s blog. So please take this post as it’s meant: a book critique that might be helpful if you’ve ever thought about turning your blog into a book.
So, what are the problems with The Future of the Written Word? First, the clickable links in the table of contents list the posts in chronological order, just as they were posted, with no attempt to organize them around topics. Second, many of the post titles are meaningless, which is bad enough when it’s a blog, but inexcusable in a book. If a title doesn’t give you a clue as to the content of the post, it should at least get your attention. But “here,” “confirmed,” and “this older post,” are meaningless. Am I the only person in the world who resents clicking on something completely obscure, only to find that the subject is of no interest? Third, the book includes posts with outdated material. What is the value of a year-old post with an offer that’s no longer valid, as in the gift card offered for buying a Nook? Fourth, the only way to navigate through the book is to keep scrolling through the posts until you find something interesting to read, or back to the TOC between each post. Fifth, it takes the author nine pages to get to the first post. That includes the TOC, blank pages, front matter, and promo links for his other books. It also includes a list of the topics, but since there’s no way to search and find any specific topic, that’s just a lazy nod toward being informative.
Turning a blog into a book can be a comparatively easy way to make useful information available to readers. But there are huge differences between blogs and books, the most important ones being that blogs are unorganized, and much of the content of most blogs is ephemeral and quickly outdated. A book that’s free, as it is on Smashwords, might be worth taking a chance on, but the same book for sale on Amazon, for $.99, is overpriced.