In a recent post on the blog Brutal as Hell, there was a book review for an ebook called Modern Horrors: An A to Z of Horror Movie Reviews 2000-2015 by Scott Weinberg, and that above quote was the opening line. You can see the post HERE. This isn’t meant as a slam towards the author, the site, or the book they’re reviewing. I enjoy BaH’s site and go there often. This really isn’t anything to do with the book review itself, but really just the author’s first paragraph. Right after making the statement about the internet has killed reference books, he justifies that statement by saying that you can get whatever information from the internet, so basically why the need for a book, saying “if you need more detailed information then you might just turn to Wikipedia.”
Let me start at end first, just to be different. If you’re turning to Wikipedia for information, the place where anybody can post ‘facts’ about a subject without any fact checking being done, then you are in trouble right from the start. There is a reason there is so much miss-information out there in the world today…the internet. Just like it says on that TV commercial, just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s the truth. There is a reason why publishers have fact checkers, editors, and other people that go through what they are going to publish and make sure it is correct. Now, not to say that errors are still not made in print. There are. Trust me. I know this because I find a few of them occasionally in the books that I read. But comparatively, I would trust a book any day of the week over the internet. Any idiot with a computer can post anything they want on the internet, but it doesn’t mean it is fact. I know this as well, since I’ve been doing that with my website since 1998.
But what really puzzled me was the very first sentence, that reference books are dying. If that is the case, then why do I have close to fifty horror reference book titles in my Amazon Wish List? For someone that has over eight hundred horror reference books in their collection, if anything, I see this medium increasing over the last few years. There are titles coming out almost monthly that I’m wanting to add to my collection. Maybe it could be just because I’m looking for them, but they are definitely there, and their numbers are increasing. I would hope that more of us out there are taking to actual books for their information than the web, especially if it something that we really want to learn and care about.
Then again, maybe this is just me showing more signs of the Grumpy Old Man Syndrome that I’ve been coming down with since I turned fifty.