Blogs versus books at Delhi Literature Fest

Different mediums

While online blogs and social media portals like Twitter and Facebook are the new platforms for writers, books continue to have the same creative impulse and contain the “universe of possibilities” which blogs don’t.

Dilip Cherian moderated a session — revolving around this debate of printed book versus the virtual book — at the recently-concluded Delhi Literature Festival, along with film critic Anna M M Veticad, diplomat and author Vikas Swaroop and author Yashodhara Lal.

Titled ‘Literature in the fast age: Blogs vs Books’, the session saw these authors and bloggers talking about their experiences of blogging and writing a book and how the two medium of expressions have their own space in the 21st century.

Yashodhara Lal, who started blogging in 2006 said, “Blogging helped me in getting connected with writing. It had been a number of years since I had done any creative writing. My blog ‘Y ON EARTH NOT’ was like a public diary for me. I started getting an audience and people found my stories amusing. These stories then found their way into my first book in 2012. So the creative impulse for both the mediums is the same but the methodology is very different.”

Seconding Lal’s views was Anna MM Veticad who was a print and TV journalist, before she started her blog annavetticadgoes2themovies. In an attempt to see how the public receives her reviews without a major mainstream organisation backing her, she started her blog which serves an outlet to her “fever of writing film reviews.”

“For me, my blog is a great source of freedom because I am my own boss and also it is a place where I have made a commitment to the public about writing reviews every Friday,” she said. Unlike books, blogging and tweeting generate instant feedback  on the social media.

Vikas Swarup, whose novel Q & A was adapted into Slumdog Millionaire, believes the same. “Blogs are generally more attuned towards making a point, whereas books tend to have a plot. Blogs are like ‘fast food’ whereas a novel is a ‘leisurely meal’,” he says.

So when people don’t have the time and money to spend on a leisurely meal (books), they will prefer having fast food, explains Swarup.

“However,” he continues, “one must not miss on the larger picture of books, which contain the universe of possibilities that a blog can never contain. A blog can make a quick point, but a book will make a universe of points.”

Meanwhile, both bloggers and authors go through readers’ reactions which lead to book bans and endless hate comments on their blogs.

Agrees Veticad, “Authors and bloggers get bashed equally in different ways. The kind of abuse you deal with on the internet is incredible. The difference between writing for a print publication and writing online is that you get to know the amount of criticism and hatred that exists.”

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