I will start this by first saying: WARNING—THIS IS AN OPINION PIECE!
Why? Because if you’ve been around my blog enough, you know I don’t typically do opinion pieces, but it’s my blog and with all the latest crap going down in Romancelandia, I’m feeling salty.
So, here we go.
The great “debate” over which format someone reads in has raged on in the Twitterverse and Facebook land, and I’m sure other places as well.
Are you really “reading” if you listen to audiobooks?
Are e-books “really” books? (no seriously I’ve seen that question).
Then it’s my fave of “I just like the FEEL or better the SMELL of a ‘real’ book.
I mean the list goes on and on.
Putting how ableist some of those come off, there is another issue I *think* comes into play. Before we get to that, I’ll break down ableist if it’s a term you’re not familiar with. When a person is of able body, meaning not having any sort of disability, and they view their world and expectations of others through that same lens = ableist.
So when some “real book” purist comes along and makes their generic comment about audiobooks they don’t take into account people with visual impairments. Inevitably someone will comment on this fact, and the back peddling begins, usually in the wording of “I didn’t mean THOSE people.”
Get the gist? Same will come about the feel of the book and those that have a hard time holding things will have to cut a vein and bleed their pain to make their reading choices valid. It goes on and on.
Elitism! Privilege! Whatever you want to call it, that’s what screams out from behind those “innocent” posts about “real” books.
But oh, it doesn’t stop there. There is also the issue with gatekeeping. So if you’re not part of the romance community you won’t be aware of the current shit storm brewing. Want a peek? Search #Ritasowhite on Twitter. Or go take a look at the Ripped Bodice’s diversity in publishing report.
How? Those that tout they only read “real” books are basically saying their reading list consists 99% (not a fact based number) of non-PoC (people of color) authors. Because, no matter how some want to bury their head in the sand and pretend racism and/or sexism aren’t an issue, the publishing world still thumbs their nose at people from a marginalized background. It’s one of the reasons the #ownvoices moment kicked off.
But if that wasn’t enough, it also means they are reading about 99% (also not a fact based number) only “traditionally” published books. Because you know there are the snobs that look down their noses at indie publishing.
And I get it, it has its faults. There have been the bad apples publishing their first drafts. Cutting corners and putting out shotty work in the hopes of making a quick buck. There is a stigma attached to being an indie writer that all indie writers have to fight. And some of us are putting in the time, effort, and MONEY to put out good products.
But you aren’t going to find our books at your local indie bookstore let alone the big box stores. AoC, specifically Black authors, are self-publishing in higher numbers because the publishing industry keeps the doors locked and the lights off.
“Real” book readers are ignoring that fact. And I’m not trying to dictate how anyone spends their hard earned dollars. Do you. But don’t think your choice makes you any better than the next person. Because then your privilege is showing.
Next time you’re out there sniffing your book, think about that.
Until next time