View Full Version : Has the internet helped the overall quality of books?

12-23-2011, 09:10 AM
I was just thinking about this. With solid writing tips and writer's forums and research tools available on the internet in the last ten years or so, did the quality of books in general in the last decade rise in quality due to these information becoming much easier to access? What's your opinion?

12-23-2011, 12:46 PM
What do you mean by 'quality of books'?

12-23-2011, 02:35 PM
Basically, the quality of the writing. The assumption is that having easy access to all those writing resources to help steer aspiring writers away from the common pitfalls and mistakes made a difference, compared to when all that information was not readily available or in abundance.

12-23-2011, 03:59 PM
I think beta readers became more readily available, as well as tips and research for the writer. I would think, however, that the finished quality of a printed book has as much to do with the abilities of proofreaders and editors who still rely on their talents - internet or no.

Has there been a notable increase in the quality of the drafts submitted for publication? - I think might be a question where the internet could have an influence. Otherwise, I haven't noticed any less quality from reputable publishers.

12-23-2011, 04:07 PM
I would say the opposite. The amount of information on the internet and the way it is presented often means that the majority of it is inaccurate, biased and not always based on evidence (read an amusing article recently claiming that eating soya as a child makes you homosexual... lots of laughs about that one...). This means that a lot of authors have to be more stringent in their research and check and double check resources again and again. Quite often this means going back to the old methods of reading books, doing educational courses and asking experts. Lazy researchers are ones who merely type in a search in google and depend on wikipedia to help them and that does not create a 'better' standard of writing.

Same applies to 'how to' advice. Everyone has different advice. While one person's advice may work for you, there is no guarantee it will and you can spend time messing around trying to make someone else's method fit you instead of thinking of your own.

Add to this the increased chance of self publishing (once the domain of the rich, now anyone can throw out a self published ebook without spending much money). OK, a lot of self published work is of good quality but few of them (and none that I have seen so far) have the quality of editing that a decent publisher will provide and there are many that are of very poor quality.

So, overall, I think the internet has not had so much of a beneficial effect as it should have done...

12-23-2011, 08:36 PM
Long before the internet there were how-to-write books, in-person critique groups and workshops, college writing programs, etc.

The internet just made all of that more accessible and convenient.

I think there are more people writing today than there were even, say, 30 years ago, due to the ease of writing on a computer and sharing your work over the internet etc.

But I doubt it's had much impact on the average quality of writing. If anything, the convenience/ease of writing today has probably increased the proportion of crap to gold.

12-23-2011, 08:43 PM
The quality of my books, yes.

In general, with particular regard to self-publishing? No.

12-23-2011, 08:46 PM
So-so. *see-sawing hand motion*

Forums like AW are really useful for writers, and the internet is awesome for research. But there's so much false, stupid information out there, and the 'net is such a distraction sometimes.