‘Thoughtful Ramblings’ is where we discuss bookish topics. One’s that have us all hot and bothered and we need a good rant to air our grievances or topics that have us all thoughtful and we just need to have a bit of a ramble…
Bookish Fandoms: The Pros & Cons
Fan bases or “fandoms” are becoming a more and more stickier subject. Comparing the book industry and the music industry, they have Directioners (One Direction fans) or Belibers (Justin Bieber Fans) and the book industry has the equivalent. Here are a few to get the idea:
“Nerdfighters”: John and Hank Green and John’s books
“Potterheads”: The Harry Potter Series
“Demigods”: Percy Jackson Series
“Tributes”: The Hunger Games
“Brotherhood Without Banners”: Game of Thrones
“The Shadowhunters”: Cassandra Clare’s works
I am personally on the fence when it comes to this topic or being part of a fan base in general. I dip my toes in and get a feel for everyone there and jump straight back out again. Due to this happening constantly, I have decided to compile a list of of pros and cons when it comes to fan bases. If I can’t make my mind up, I might as well try and help you form an opinion on the matter.
Being part of a fan base is like having thousands of friends at once. It is like in life when you meet someone who enjoys the same books as you and you instantly make friends with them based on that mutual interest. Imagine doing this with thousands of people. There is a certain loyalty around it. This is something that may appeal to many.
Imagine having the same taste in books as thousands of others in a fan base. The likelihood is that one fellow fan may have read something that you may have not read. You know what that means? Ready made recommendations and even more reads that you will probably love. Which can’t be a bad thing (except for your piggy bank…)
If you look at the corporate side of things, it is no lie that the book industry is shrinking. Last year book sales fell over £70 million. If you take a fan base such as “The Shadow Hunters” who religiously buy each new edition of Cassie Clare’s works, think about how much money that must be generating. Whether you like fan bases or not, they have a huge impact on the book industry and sales.
My final pro is that fan bases can do good. Take “Nerdfighteria” for example. Every year they do Project for Awesome and this year they raised nearly $500,000 for chosen charities round the world. This is power in numbers used in the best way.
Power in numbers can be a great thing for society. But what if someone sparks a conflict with all those numbers. Some fan bases are just too powerful and this is quite a frightening concept. Take the “Beautiful Creatures” fan base, you would think that they would love the fact that their favourite series was getting made in to a movie? Wrong. They were the reason it didn’t work. Some fans blatantly refused to see it simply because of how different it was from the book. In short they helped destroy a franchise that was “set to be the next Twilight”
Have you ever said anything bad about a book series? I sure have. Percy Jackson is one of my least favourite series of all time. I thought this would make a good tweet and the next thing I knew I had a pair of “Demigods” openly firing abuse at me. In short some fans’ fierce loyalty to their author knows no bounds and this means that people get insulted for merely stating their opinion. Who wants to be associated with that?
With the example above comes generalisation… People saying that all fan bases are the same and that the people within the fan base are the same. This is when insults are thrown around and “Twitter wars” commence. The obsessives within the group come out to play and the people who are there to have fun and share a mutual interest sit there watching and hanging their heads in shame.
My final point regarding the cons of fan bases is the fact that having such a deep obsession with something may be unhealthy. Think of being part of a bookish fan base and having to wait a year for the next instalment. All the speculation, all the complaining. Personally, it would drive me up the wall.
After weighing up all of the pros and cons, I am still unable to decide. Do you identify yourself with a fan base? If so, what elements do you enjoy the most about it? Do you think it is just a phase that people go through? Or, do you prefer to not associate yourself with fan bases, like me? I would love to hear your thoughts.