Books Are A Weird Medium

Books are great. People love books. I love books. It’s not uncommon to see someone’s Twitter bio say something along the lines of “lover of TV, books, and movies.” Books are seen as an equal medium to TV and movies. They’re just a different way to present a story and entertain the consumer, and that’s good and fine! But I’ve been thinking lately that books are a weird medium in several ways.

Snoopy reading

For one, where is their big award show? We have a billion music award shows and a bunch of TV and/or movie ones. We have theater awards and even Youtube/online media awards. So where are the big book award shows where authors and editors and publishers dress up and receive awards? Goodreads holding awards that users can vote for is nice, but there’s no big fancy award ceremony, which is weird because as I just said, books are seen as an equal medium.

And since we’re on the topic of awards, how come it seems that every book ever produced is a #1 New York Times Best Seller? They can’t all be number one. I mean, like, congrats to all the authors as that’s still #goals, but the New York Times needs to chill.

Another reason why books are a weird medium is how solo it is. Very rarely are there multiple authors for one book, and if there are, it’s usually some research book. I found a Goodreads list of 28 books by two authors, but even Goodreads only lists one author for categorization. We have songwriting duos (Pasek and Paul) and duo movie directors (Russo brothers), so why not writing duos? Think of how cool worldbuilding and plots could be if you had another person to contribute ideas…are share the typing/editing.

Cher from 'Clueless' saying "the more the merrier"

My fourth reason why books are a weird medium is that they haven’t really changed at all. Books from 100 years ago are quite similar to books now, except maybe the way they were printed has changed (perfect bound vs whatever was used back then). Movies and TV, though a lot more recent than books, have changed and adapted a lot since they began in terms of presentation, content, audience, and more, but books haven’t. Of course, there’s that “if it ain’t broke” saying, and I believe that here, but it’s definitely interesting how there aren’t really any books (that I can think of) that really shake up the medium.

The last reason why books are a weird medium is that they’re not actually that wildly popular. My dad doesn’t read books, a lot of my friends don’t read books, even I don’t read as much as I used to. The book industry is still huge and won’t be dying soon, but it’s weird that there are some people who can avoid reading books and live a normal life. It’d be weird if someone was like “yeah, I haven’t seen a movie in three years,” but I think a lot of people can say they haven’t read a book in three years for sure.

What are your thoughts on books as a medium?

Some lady saying "I do love books"

Anyway, if you couldn’t tell, this was a 2am idea, and then I also wrote a lot of it at 2am…

That’s all for now!


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24 thoughts on “Books Are A Weird Medium

  1. I love reading books! I agree with your idea of co-writing, more writers should do that. I also have read too many books that “were the #1 New York Best seller” In what you said about books not changing, I kind of like that and don’t want them to change in the future lol.

    • I don’t want books to change either! There’s a reason why they’ve maintained for decades upon decades. They’re great the way they are, and I guess society knows that!

  2. I love reading. I love classics, fantasies, and mysteries. Weird? It is odd to call them that. I am 24 and love to read books. It is hard to describe why I love them, but there is something special about them.

      • Books are awesome. So many plots, so many characters, and messages. Not that many people read books now a days especially the classics. The amazing thing about the classics is just how difficult they are and how many of them have been existed for more than one hundred years.

    • I mean, I guess some people don’t have time to do a lot of reading, and that’s fair. And I guess others read newspapers and magazines instead of actual books. But yeah, I don’t get it either. Newspapers don’t captivate you the way books can.

  3. Books are a testament to human intelligence and evolution. And I love them.
    They have taught me so much about history, human relationships, faith, growth, and the more mundane like “how to poach an egg”. I know I would not think the way I do without my long standing relationship with books.
    And I’m not the voracious reader I once was. But I still love being immersed, transported and engulfed in a good book. And even without intent, I enjoy the relflection after reading one, which sometimes lasts for days.
    As a medium they are portable, do not require power (except after dark you need light) and quite durable.
    And we know they are conversation starters and fodder for more literature and blog posts alike.
    Books provide endless bonding moments between parents and young children that no IPad or even magazine can provide.
    I could not imagine my life without them.

  4. Writing has its own saying. “Misery loves company”. Still I use to pass papers in middle school with my friend and we would make stories. It was awesome until one day we left the pad in the gym and a teacher found it. They definitely didn’t agree with how we were spending gym.
    We still didn’t care and brought books after that. ;P

  5. I for one like reading books, even if I don’t do it all that often. In fact some of my favorite comedic stories come from books! (The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch being one of my all time favorites.)

  6. I think sometimes the idea of reading seems better than the reality. Everybody likes convenience so I think that helps generate more money for things like film and music because taking them in isn’t as much effort as reading. Reading isn’t hard or anything but when people look at a book and see so many words on a page, the energy drains very quickly. I think it’s a weird medium because people will take in entertainment based on books but not the actual book itself.

    • Very, very true. You’re so right. One day I intend to read the Game Of Thrones books but they’re so long and even thinking about starting them is tiring.

  7. i think books are weird too! i’m glad someone is finally speaking up. i found a weird but great use for a book that’s been kicking around my house for a while, as a doorstop for my bathroom door and it made me realize how the shape and weight (not to mention flexiblity and mailiability, i.e. you can tear out pages to make them shorter to suit your individual needs.) of a book is actually its greatest value to us. Like, Come’on, we can read words on devices just as well (if not better) but if you need to start a fire in the woods in the dead of winter and all you have is your smart phone or tablet and a copy ‘Things Fall Apart’, the book is the obvious choice! Even on colder nights here in the city i often enjoy holing up in my apartment in my pjs and reaching over to the shelf selecting another book to throw into the fireplace. The warmth and comfort that can be found in literature is truely astounding and weird compared to other mediums. thanks for posting, keep it up.

  8. Horrified by Brooke’s post (hopefully just being funny!!), so I had to respond!!!
    I have been reading books since forever, and could not imagine a life without them. SSSOOOO many positive reasons:
    – Heath: reduces stress levels, AND the mental stimulation has been shown to have positive effects against dementia!
    – Life: Better memory, improved focus & attention!
    – Social: having a conversation opener about a book that someone is reading, or the physical gift of giving a book!
    Books don’t need to be recharged, they can last forever, they are a durable means of carrying ideas (which is why authoritarian regimes like to burn books (sorry Brooke!!)), and can be passed on to help people who can’t afford them. Books are SO vital in improving world literacy!!
    Don’t you love the feel of a book, the new book smell when you open up to peep inside? The thrill of finding a bargain in your local charity shop?

    Love your site CoolBeans!

    • I wholeheartedly agree with all you’ve said. In today’s tech-driven world, it’s so great to know that books, especially printed ones, are thriving and are still loved (and not just for nostalgic reasons).
      Thank you! 🙂

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