We here at Londonist are all for the promotion of online writing. And we also love books. However, something strikes us a little funny about the latest literary prize to hit the UK — the 2006 Blooker Prize. According to its sponsor, an American self-publishing house called Lulu, the Blooker is "the world's first literary prize devoted to 'blooks:' books based on blogs or websites."
First off, isn't a book based on a blog still a book? And shouldn't it still be able to stand on its own as such? Does it really need to be called something else? We think that doing so actually diminishes its legitimacy rather than increases it. We obviously believe pretty strongly that blogs have a lot to offer (otherwise we wouldn't spend so much bloody time on this one), and we don't think that what gets written on a website — this one or any other — needs to be put into print in order to be worthy of a prize.
Morever, Lulu is a self-publishing house. So it seems a foregone conclusion that in creating this prize, the company is hoping that a fair number of bloggers will make use of their services in order to get their blog content into print, and thus make it eligible for the prize. A clever marketing trick, for sure, but it doesn't really help out the prize's image much.
On the other hand, the whole thing is legit enough: the judges are well-established online writers, the winner in each of the three main categories wins $1000, and the grand prize winner gets $2000. And since Lulu doesn't charge any money upfront for publishing your book, the risk really is minimal.
But still, the Booker was just handed out on Monday. We think we'll just continue to bask in the glow of that for the time being.