Brews and Books tossed out a great conversational question in this post, Are You a Book Advocate or a Book Snob? Summing them up, are you someone who holds an elitist attitude about books, or are you happy when books are able to make gains in the market?
This topic goes hand in hand with my earlier post about blindly supporting the indies. If I were a book snob, then I would stick to the argument that the talent is better with the smaller companies, and I might sneer at the success of writers with larger markets.
But I tend to see myself as an advocate of writing and books as a whole, which is why I am willing to support indie and amateur writers as well as mainstream professionals. It’s my opinion that anytime we ignore a segment of the writing world because “they aren’t doing it right,” we risk missing out on the work of some really talented people.
If I were opposed to big press titles, I would never know about the amazing work of John Lindqvist, Koji Suzuki, or Max Brooks. (And look, I made a list without referencing Stephen King! Even though I just did now…d’oh!) If I turned my nose up at small press books, I never would have read Grape City, The Black Act, or Rot. I wouldn’t know about awesome places like The New Bedlam Project and Black Death Books.
I do complain when certain books or genre conventions annoy me, but this is just me expressing my opinion, and it’s my individual tastes influencing my reading habits. Eveyone does that, and that’s cool. I wouldn’t mock someone for liking a book I disliked, and vice versa for books I liked that are scorned by others. I think that’s when people cross the line into snobbery. It’s one thing if I think a book sucks, but it’s another if I think other people are stupid for not agreeing with me.
Since the original post was expanding the topic from another question, I want to expand on this a bit further by adding books versus e-books. As regular readers know, I read both e-books and print books. I have a preference for e-books because of the lower shipping cost, but a lot of times a title simply isn’t available in an e-book format. Now think about all the books I might be denying myself if I was an e-book snob. At the same time, think how much money I would have lost on shipping charges by being a print purist. It benefits me to have an open mind and keep picking from both piles.
So, what are you? Are you an advocate or a snob? If you’re willing to post your thoughts in the comments, then allow me to ask a second question: do you agree or disagree with my assessment of myself as an advocate? If you think I’m a snob, go ahead and say so too. I promise I’ll only sneer at you in private.