So it’s been a period of minor but serious and exhausting calamities in my household these past couple of weeks, so today, to celebrate having rode those out, my teenage daughter and I decided to hit the coffee shop inside the bookstore after school for baked goods. And my daughter asked if she could buy some books while we’re there. She knows that this is a win situation for her when out with her parents. Can I buy a game? No. Can I buy this blouse? No. Make-up? No. Can I have an iPad? Only if you win the lottery. But, can I buy a book? Ummm…
In this case, she’d been building a list, and as she pointed out, even though she has several books she’s still working on at home, it’s not like books go bad if you keep them around for awhile. So she’s trying to talk me into as many as she can manage, and she brings up this one YA book, a SF bestseller, but not something I had thought she was aware of. How did she hear of it? Well, she’s involved in this site online where lovers of SFF and pop culture from countries all over the world geek-out to their hearts content about the stuff they love, and some young folk who like things she likes recommended it to her. (They also have gotten her interested in watching Doctor Who. Luckily an Easter time marathon on t.v. is going to help us out with this.) And a video blogger she follows on YouTube recommended another book she really wants.
So I’m standing there in the store full of dead tree items, thinking, social media is causing my daughter to buy and read books. You know, the thing that is supposedly rotting her brain and causing her to be void of real and polite connections in the world. My kid is a child of her age. We had television, she has the Internet. She skypes with her classmates on school projects. She chats with a former school chum who now lives in Singapore. She is an ardent fan of a troupe of comic young actors in Chicago called Starkids who upload their stage productions to the Net. She tells me news items in case I missed them about events on the other side of the world.
And she talks about books on the Net. She reads fan commentary on books. Columns written by authors of books. Book recommendations on sites. All mixed in with movies, t.v., comics, games, art, etc. Word of mouth has always been the way that written fiction has principally sold and grown in awareness, along with art in general. On the Internet, word of mouth is bigger and it’s broader.
Now if I can just get her interested in gardening and putting away her laundry, we’re all set.