Monday, April 27, 2009

Bit by bit

Monday, April 27, 2009

Every piece of electronic data relates to every other piece of electronic data.

That's what makes blogs about mystery stories important. Google rankings come, in part, from mentions on the Internet, from the relationship between all the data on the Internet. Even a few hits on a small blog like this can help raise the ranking of a book on Google.

Publishers send small blogs like mine occasional advanced reading copies, not just to get a review, but to get another mention on the Internet. Such mentions, if there are enough of them, raise the rankings of the books in Google searches.

Printed books are independent entities. They don't relate to each other in an immediate way. They might have bibliographies or a mention in the text of some other book, but they don't take you directly to that book. Eventually, E-books will. You will be able to click from one book to another.

Your reading could be fragmented, reading part here and part there depending on what small details interest you. And every chapter in a book will have to have a hook, a cliffhanger of some sort, to keep you from surfing away from that chapter to something else.

A friend gave me a copy of The Wall Street Journal's April 20 technology story, "How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read" by Steven Johnson. I was fascinated.

I won't comment on whether these changes are good or bad. It doesn't matter what I think. But just as the printed book changed the nature of content and knowledge, so will electronic content do the same. Both will co-exist, but many people will choose their reading matter on the basis of an Internet search. Internet mentions of a worthy book matter.

Your personal mention of a book touches one or a few people. Your blog mention of the book (and the hits it generates) combines with other blog mentions of the book to raise the book's ranking on the search engine. It goes closer to the top of the page.

Yesterday I saw a blog where an author was celebrating her first reviews by The New York Times. That's a big thing, but the combined mentions on many small blogs is a big thing too.

When I started blogging, I saw myself as doing it mostly for myself. My blog morphed from a blog through which you could contact the author of The Body in the Record Room to a blog about mystery stories. I used it as a way of keeping myself accountable for my own reading. Whatever sharing happened came after that.

But every Internet mention matters. And that's true even if a blog pans a book.

The Wall Street Journal doesn't say all this. Some is my interpretation. And much of this might be self-explanatory to more Internet savvy people than I am, but still I found The Wall Street Journal article well worth reading.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Impossible for me to see where all of this is headed. I guess I should mention current books more and do my part.

Joe Barone said...

I think we should all do whatever it is we love. I just found the whole concept of the article fascinating.