I raised this concern as a comment on NextRead:
My main concern about the blogosphere is it’s fetish for frontlist titles (those released that period). Very quickly, great books of the last few years will disappear from discussion, unless they’re part of still-running series. And when books don’t get discussed (on and offline), they die. There’s precious little discussion of classic books as it is, which means a whole new generation of readers are missing out.
Blog reviews are great. Reviewers do a great job at publicising great numbers of new titles. Where there were once gatekeepers to determining what a good genre book was, there are now hundreds of people all championing whatever worth they wish to.
But there is a fetish for frontlist titles. Frontlist – those books which are going on sale now, the ones hitting the shelves this year. The Next Big Thing. (And no I don’t mean all of you reviewers; I’m prodding the general culture, not individuals.)
What about the backlist, the great books from four or five years ago, the ones that no longer sit on table displays or promotions. What about classic genre literature? How do novels compare over time? What lineage do certain novels take, and to what do they owe their inspiration?
Questions that will largely go unnoticed, especially if bloggers are entranced on a) finding the next big thing and b) free review copies (because these will be the titles the publishers want you to read).
Not so much of an issue for the first few years of genre blogging, perhaps, but I wonder how quickly great authors will have been forgotten in ten, fifteen years, unless they’re writing successful series? Bookselling is bad enough with its focus on frontlist – that’s where online reviewers could have helped with this situation. (And some bloggers do a very good job of covering older titles – Wertzone, Speculative Horizons, Larry, and also Pat.)
Then again, does it matter to you all if classic authors are forgotten? As the blogosphere grows, more and more people will look to blog reviewers to inform their buying choices.