the Observer's Hepzibah Anderson wonders if bloggers can really make or break books. Or at least, does so for the benefit of the paper:
Exactly what sells books remains mysterious, but one tried-and-tested method is the word-of-mouth recommendation. The world's oldest marketing tool, it's slippery as the truth and impossible to fake. Or so we all thought. Lately, however, American publishers have wised up to the arrival of the so-called 'bloggerati', a network of cyber bookworms whose blogs are signed by the likes of Moorish Girl, Book Dwarf and Four-Eyed Bitch. These are not havens for kinky librarians but online reading journals - digital marginalia on books they've loved and loathed, supplemented by cut-and-paste montages of mainstream reviews. In tone, they offer the same abrasive mix of passion and gunslinging opinion that makes the political bloggers so refreshing.
Despite the book-group boom, reading remains a solitary pursuit and, like all things online, blogs offer a sense of community. In May, that community grew stronger with the birth of the Litblog Co-op, a virtual collective whose 22 American members will single out four new books a year, beginning with Kate Atkinson's Case Histories. Bloggers have been the making of titles like Sam Lipsyte's Home Land and, depending on how lucrative it proves, a Co-op endorsement could yet rival that of Oprah or Richard and Judy.
Um...what?? I mean, that would be nice, and I'm sure the entire LBC would love to wield that kind of power, but it's early days yet.
Also nice to see Charlie Williams quoted about ads and blogs not mixing terribly well.