As those of you who spend some time on Youtube will no doubt have noticed, a lot of Youtubers are releasing books nowadays. Now, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding this, as – understandably – it is annoying and upsetting a lot of people.
Why is this understandable, you say?
Because there are 1) a lot of people who would love to actually write a book and have it released but have no chance of releasing it or get rejection after rejection. And 2) it feels a bit scammy to know that a lot of these people are just getting book deals because they already have an audience, plus 3) there are so many book announcements. So, so many. It feels like every other video in my subscription feed is a book announcement, and it`s driving me absolutely insane.
Also, of course, there were the ghost writing scandals.
There have been a lot of Youtubers talking about this as well and I have seen some excellent videos with commentary. I will link some videos in this post, that I to at least some degree agree with. Please note that I don`t necessarily agree 100%, but good points are made and I like to show you different point of views.
Now, personally, I both do and don`t have issues with this whole book-releasing-thing.
Like Choncey and Emma explain in the videos above, these books are something of a necessary evil, both for publishing companies and Youtubers. Companies and self-employed individuals need to earn money somewhere, and spreading your sources of income is always a good idea. Without these less-quality books, there would be no publishers to publish the good quality ones. And without the money, there`s a good chance for the Youtubers to go down financially. For both Youtubers and publishers, this is a win/win situation.
And let`s be real: the same goes for a lot of the fans. Especially for teenagers, to who most books are aimed to begin with, it`s easy to go into that obsessive mode and figure that since you like this person`s channel there`s a good chance you`ll like their book. The companies and the Youtubers are banking on that way of thinking, trust me.
I`ve seen people say that Youtubers should stick to their platform. I have a lot of issues with this, as its generally not ever a problem if famous people branch out. So many famous people – including Youtubers – have gone into music, fashion, movies, you name it. And it`s never really been a problem. In fact, it`s been promoted and supported – until they started writing books. To me though, there`s not much of a difference. It`s just another branch of their empire, it`s another extension of their product, and if Youtubers are allowed to make both short films, vlogs and music, then they`re absolutely allowed to write books.
Is it annoying how many Youtubers are releasing books? Yes, definitely.
But I think there`s a flipside that I don`t see a lot of people talking about: people are reading. We`re talking about a lot of people here who might not usually read, who might not consider books the “cool thing”, but who are now picking up books left and right. Outside of the sheer economical value for companies, this is also a great opportunity to steer these young, impressionable (to a certain extent) people into the direction of other, better books that might have more value than a book that literally proclaims itself to be Pointless. It`d be so easy to pair them up in stores, to literally make signs that say “if you liked Girl Online by Zoella, you might like Bridget Jones`s Diary” (which, incidentally, is a modern rewrite of Jane Austen`s Pride and Prejudice. See where this is going?)
Of course, it would help if the Youtubers themselves also did something similar. If the ones releasing books would actually talk about other books more often. If the ones that are suddenly saying “I`ve loved reading my whole life and it`s been a dream to release one of my own” would also actually talk about which books they like. Maybe just add some to their montly “favourites” videos. It`d be two minutes extra video, with potentially massive impact.
Personally? My copy for Carrie Hope Fletcher`s book All I Know Now has arrived today and I am considering to get ASAPscience`s book. That`s all. All the other ones? I`m just not that interested in them. They don`t sound appealing to me, they don`t sound like they`re worth my time and money, and I`m not going to invest in them until I know for certain that these books have added value for me (which might not ever happen).
If they`re your thing, that`s great, but I`ve learned my lesson with The Fault In Our Stars that I did not particularly like. It wasn`t downright horrible, it just also wasn`t very good, and I won`t be picking up any other John Green books anytime soon despite having watched his videos for the past two 1/2 years.
And that`s perfectly okay. Just like it`s okay if you do like all of these books and it`s okay if you don`t like any of these books. But let`s face it for what it is: a trend that will pass eventually but that for now has good monetary value and that might have some very good long-term results, ranging from people finding out they like writing to fans finding out they like reading. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.