Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Silent Bob Speaks

With yesterday's release of the book, My Boring-Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith, I have a question: would you ever buy a book primarily made up of writings previously put online for free? I ask because I wonder if this could become a new trend in book publishing. Or am I seeing just another product coming out under the Kevin Smith brand name?

I have yet to go through a copy of this book, but from what I've heard, most of the material can be found online here. On this site, beyond talking up his upcoming promotional appearances, Kevin often delves into his personal daily life -- from checking e-mail to taking poops to hanging out with friends to working on films to watching DVDs and having sex with his wife. All this activity hardly constitutes a "boring-ass life" (the title's a reference to a line in Chasing Amy in case you've forgotten), but it's a glimpse into his life that isn't found anywhere else.

As a regular reader of his site, I enjoy reading about what goes on in his life, but I really have no interest in buying a collection of these posts in paperback form. Here's some more background as to why:

I'm often reminded of Silent Bob Speaks, a collection of Kevin's writings mostly culled from articles previously published in a British magazine. I had read those articles online and haven't had a desire to read them again in book form. Not even the couple articles done exclusively for the book make me want to lay down the cash for it. And frankly, looking at the book's large font and wide margins, I often wonder if this was a padded cash-in. Since there are people who are willing to buy almost everything related to Kevin, this seemed like another thing to add to the merchandising pile.

As much as I am a fan of Kevin's movies, his website, behind-the-scenes documentaries on DVD, commentary tracks and a number of his articles, I'm just not that inclined to buy books filled with his rants and descriptions of his daily life. So I think an answer to my question is based on the nature of the book and quality of what's in the book. It doesn't matter if the material is available online or not, if it's worth worth reading again and again in a book, then by all means yes. If his excellent Rolling Stone article on Darth Vader was to be reprinted in book filled with other great articles, I'd buy it right away. There's a difference.

So I'd like to get your thoughts on this. Would you ever want to read a collection of blog posts that I or anybody else did in book form? Is it really a matter of quality to generate interest in buying it in a book?

1 comment:

Random Kath said...

I don't know - I'd have to look at it in a bookstore and see if it was interesting. I'm sure that there are a lot of people who have not read his blog - or who haven't read it regularly, who would be interested. Also, for some of us old fogeys, it's a lot easier to read in print than on screen. Not everyone has the time to sit and start reading the blog from day one to get caught up.

Why do people read collections of letters or diaries of people, either famous or random? Why do people bother to read Dickens - you can just go back to the original newspaper serials! Blogs aren't intended to be permanent records - books are. Maybe someone who hasn't heard of him will pick up the book and get interested in him . . . who knows?