Converting videos to volumes

Hannah Lee, News Editor

Youtube is no longer simply a social media platform where anyone can create and share; it now produces internet icons. With that, Youtubers have been seeping into mainstream media, essentially becoming their own form of celebrity.

Vlogging is no longer a quirky hobby, but a full time job. Youtubers are bigger than ever, appearing on albums, magazines, television shows—some even having shows of their own (such as Tyler Oakley)—and now, books. Youtubers writing novels has become so common that many bookstores now even have an entire section dedicated solely to these internet stars.

Youtube beauty and lifestyle vlogger Zoe Sugg, better known as “Zoella,” has a whopping 11 million subscribers, gaining several thousands more each day. Being this large of an internet icon means two things: fame and money. With someone as influential as Sugg, her fan base will eat up anything and everything with her name attached.

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Her coming-of-age novel “Girl Online” was released in August 2014, breaking the record for the most first week sales since 1998. This was obviously a proud achievement for Sugg, rising from an internet beauty vlogger to a best selling author in just a matter of days.

However, her time in the spotlight was cut short when, just three months later, the book’s publisher, Penguin, confirmed that “Girl Online” was the work of ghostwriter Siobhan Curham.  Sugg mentioned in her announcement video that writing a novel had always been a dream of hers. Yet when she was given the opportunity, she made someone else do it for her.

Though Youtubers publishing books seems to be a common trend, it is hard to label all of them as books. Publishers often approach these Youtubers because they realize that the books will sell because of their large audiences, no matter the content. This gives them the freedom to produce any type of book that they please.

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Sugg’s long time vlogger boyfriend Alfie Deyes, better known as “PointlessBlog” on Youtube, released a book as well. Deyes also has a large audience, with a total of eight million subscribers on his two Youtube channels. The book was not ghostwritten, but this is because there was essentially nothing that was written; “The Pointless Book” truly lives up to its name.

Calling this an actual book or Deyes an author is unfair to real authors out there. Far from a novel, it is an interactive activity book, each page providing different activities for the reader, such as drawing, ripping out pages or writing, based on the page’s instructions. The problem here is that the book is a rip-off version of the widely known “Wreck This Journal” that was published in 2007, with some pages bearing an extreme resemblance to it.

Despite the criticism the couple received for their works, they both decided to release sequels, which once again, the fans blindly bought into.

If Youtube were to crown a king, it would be Felix Kjellberg. Kjellberg, better known as “Pewdiepie,” primarily focuses his channel on gaming and currently has the largest following on Youtube with 48 million subscribers, averaging about 18,000 subscribers and eight million video views a day.

Kjellberg is a unique character; he often pokes fun at Youtube culture and his fame. Despite this, he still gave in to the trend of Youtubers writing books. Like Deyes, his book can not truly be labeled as a novel.

The book was meant to be a parody of self-help books, which perfectly adheres to his brand and his audience. However, the book ultimately has no substance to it. Though it is a parody, it is hard to find the humor in it. Kjellberg is branded as a comedian, and his audience knows him for his quite dark, borderline offensive humor.  Only a few pages long, “This Book Loves You” pushes that humor to its boundaries.

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PENGUIN BOOKS                               Zoe Sugg, Alfie Deyes and Pewdiepie are just a few of the YouTubers who have transitioned from filming videos to writing books.

The book is essentially a collection of extremely odd, abstract photo-shopped pictures with quotes that are equally as unsettling. Kjellberg obviously did not do much writing. The fact that the book got published is baffling; another clear example of Youtubers using their status to sell something that otherwise would not sell. “This Book Loves You” was released in Oct. 2015 and almost immediately landed on the New York Times best seller list.

However, there are a handful of Youtubers that have published something with more substance, such as autobiographies. Some Youtubers that have written these “autobiographies” are Joey Graceffa, Connor Franta, Shane Dawson, Caspar Lee, Tyler Oakley, Jenn McAllister and Marcus Butler.. The subscriber counts for these content creators range from three million to eight million.

Since most, if not all, of these stars are either in their very early stages of adulthood or have just passed their teenage years, there is a distinct pattern in all of these books: they all touch briefly on their childhood, discuss their journey to internet stardom, and what they expect next. But again, their audience is fanatic for their idols’ 20 year life story.

These are clear examples of why Youtubers have a bad reputation for simply using their large following for money, rather than doing things out of passion. Youtubers belong on Youtube. They were able to curate their audiences for a reason; they create video content that people find entertaining and enjoyable. Unless there is an actual interest and background for writing, these internet stars’ content belongs on screens, not pages.