Well, it started out with texts being and direct messages being included into books, like the  Internet Girls Series by Lauren Myracle and  Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, to the OMG Shakespeare Series that are made up entirely of texts…. Now it’s a whole new mode of publishing with Social Media. Instead of integrating digital communication into the story, the story has been taken from online sources of communication, like Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc. Publishers are now actively scouring the web for stories they might want to publish. Some of these books include Hot Dudes Reading, from the instagram account @hotdudesreading, The First Wife by @thefirstwife, to Hyperbole and a Half, based on Allie Brosh’s blog.

Since the digital age has progressed, the mode of acquiring books has had to evolve with it. Efforts have been made by publishers to actively search the web for unique and desirable content, like The Great Tumblr Book Search, pairing Tumblr and Chronicle Books together.  There’s also the fact that the popularity of someone is translated to the number of likes or followers they have and thus, easily trackable by publishers. It is easy to assess what would work based on the person’s writing and the amount of attention they receive for their work.

However, there is a downside to publishing Social Media entries. Should we actually pay for reading Social Media, something that is supposed to be free? Sure, it’s in a condensed and packaged format, but the information isn’t anything I couldn’t get online for free. Paying for a Social Media book seems to be like paying for the sidewalk: a ripoff. That is why it is important to differentiate the account’s content with the book’s. An easy remedy to that would be to dislodge one medium for the other. In other words, delete the free content for the revenue of the book. Another solution would be to offer snippets of content, rather than the full version, enticing readers to buy the full novel once it reaches retailers. Overall, books based on Social Media can achieve success depending on the packaging or the type of content offered as well as the demographic it is meant to reach.

-Sumaya

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