Towards a Genre Analysis of Online Book Discussion: socializing, participation and publication in the Dutch booksphere

Peter Boot


Books and writers are an important subject for discussion on many web sites. Book discussion on the web is a field considerably wider than the book blogs and the online reviews on booksellers sites that it is often identified with. It runs the whole spectrum from professional reviewers, through pro-am and traditional amateurs to occasional commentators. Book discussion takes place on sites as diverse as newspaper sites, online magazines, individual and group blogs, general and specialized social network sites, on traditional discussion boards and book cataloguing sites. This exploratory paper attempts a genre analysis of the Dutch booksphere, the collection of book-related sites on the web. It distinguishes between (i) site genres, which are high-level and necessarily fuzzy concepts, and a number of site facets for more precise site account, between (ii) genre of site and genre of information items on sites, and between (iii) genre of site and of sub-site. These distinctions create the conceptual apparatus for an account of the book discussion landscape and the various sites affordances.


book discussion; online genre; facets; online reviews; affordances

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