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Are fanfictions books

2024-04-12

The realm of storytelling extends beyond meticulously published novels, touching an unbounded world of fan-created fiction. But, do these fanfictions classify as 'books'? The answer can be subjective and depends on various aspects such as legitimacy, validity, copyright issues, credibility, author’s intent, platforms, reader’s acceptance, quality, among other factors. This article will provide an in-depth overview of these multidimensional perspectives.

Definition of Fanfiction and Books

Fanfiction, often abbreviated as fanfic, pertains to fictional stories written by fans of an original work, like a TV show, movie, book, or even real-life personalities. Here, fans incorporate existing characters, settings, or plotlines and create spin-offs, prequels, sequels, or alternate stories.

Are fanfictions books

A book, on the other hand, is a collection of written works intended for reading. Typically, it goes through a process of authoring, editing, publishing, and distribution under a reputable publishing house. This diverges fanfiction from the traditional definition of a book as it is usually self-published, often on the internet, with no formal structure or monitoring, and has a limited physical presence.

Legitimacy

Essentially, authenticity determines whether fanfiction can be termed as a book. While books are generally recognized by official entities such as libraries, bookstores, and educational institutions, fanfics lack this level of acceptance. Moreover, some might argue that fanfiction, being derived from an original work, lacks originality. However, if creativity and innovation in plotting and character development are considered, many fanfictions can indeed be seen as legitimate and original works.

Platforms and E-books

The main medium of fanfiction is the internet, where distinct platforms like Fanfiction.net, Wattpad, and Archive of Our Own (AO3) host millions of fan-created stories. These websites have enabled fanwriters to share their works with a global audience, receive instant feedback, and interact with the fan community. Fics are generally available on these platforms as e-books.

Reader’s Acceptance

Public acceptance is a pivotal factor in defining something. It's the readers who decide whether a fanfic can equate to a book. There are countless fanfictions that have become wildly popular, amassing readerships comparable to mainstream books. Therefore, based on readership, one could argue that some fanfictions ascend to the status of books.

Fanfiction as Published Books

On the topic of fanfiction being published as books, examples like "Fifty Shades of Grey" and "After", which initially started as Twilight and One Direction fanfictions respectively, can’t be ignored. These fanfictions were modified, published, and went on to become bestsellers, thus blurring the line between fanfictions and books.

Copyright Issues

Another distinguishing factor could be copyright issues. Any infringement of copyright laws can discredit fanfiction. While book authors own the intellectual property rights to their work, fanfiction writers ride on someone else's creation. They often operate in a grey area with the tacit (or sometimes explicit) permission of the creators.

Quality of Writing

Quality matters in counting fanfiction as books. Like any form of literature, fanfictions vary considerably in quality. Some are comparable to professionally written works, while others are more akin to amateur writing. This is because they lack the editorial oversight typically required for published books.

Common questions about Fanfictions and Books

Q: Are fanfictions legal?
A: As long as they are not commercializing the copyrighted material or tarnishing the image of the original work, fanfictions are generally considered legal.

Q: Can fanfictions be published as books?
A: Fanfictions can be published as books if they have been significantly modified to remove copyrighted elements or if the work is no longer under copyright.

Q: Can fanfictions have the quality of a book?
A: This depends on the fanfiction writer's skill and effort. The quality of fanfictions varies widely.

Conclusion

In conclusion, fanfictions can be seen as books in some cases and not in others based on different viewpoints. As the art of storytelling evolves, the definitions of terms like 'books' and 'authors' might need to be expanded to keep up with the times. The conversation around this topic, therefore, remains open-ended.

References

1. Thomas, Bronwen. "What Is Fanfiction and Why Are People Saying Such Nice Things about It?" Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, 2011, pp. 1�4. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.5250/storyworlds.3.1.0001.

2. Pugh, Sheenagh. The Democratic Genre: Fan Fiction in a Literary Context. Bridgend, Seren, 2005.

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