Top 10 Internet Sensations Turned into Pointless Books

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When something on the Internet gets popular, it can get really popular.  Viral videos and meme-oriented websites are everywhere, as millions of people with the similar senses of humor all discover something at the same time and declare it the funniest thing they’ve seen in the past fourteen minutes.

This is all well and good, until old-fashioned capitalism kicks in and some company decides to make a book out of said video or website.  In short, what you once got for free, you are now expected to pay for.

10. Bacon Explosion

bacon-explosion

In 2009, two guys logged onto bbqaddicts.com and posted a “recipe” for sausage wrapped in bacon.  Because it was over 5,000 calories and most people probably get exhausted just from eating it, it became a massive hit.  Facebook groups were formed dedicated to what was little more than meat wrapped in more meat, and the original posters received a six-figure cookbook deal.  Six figures, as in “at least a hundred thousand dollars.”  The only reason this entry is so low on the list is because the book will not actually contain the Bacon Explosion recipe.  Perhaps the creators realized that if you actually need an entire recipe for what amounts to “Take meat.  Wrap in bacon.  Drown in BBQ sauce.  Eat,” then you’re probably not the kind to buy a book anyway.

9. Anonymous (Group)

anonymous

At its heart, Anonymous is a bunch of nameless, faceless, Internet users who love to hack websites and troll people endlessly because it’s just so hilarious.  Occasionally they don V for Vendetta masks, protest oppressive things, and scream angry threats at Scientology offices.  This makes them feel important.  Since the group doesn’t have a charismatic leader to go on the news and let us all know exactly what Anonymous stands for, it’s very hard to write a book about them.  And when somebody did, they evidently didn’t even try; the one Amazon review for Anonymous (group) makes it very clear that the book is nothing more than various Wikipedia articles, sometimes with the citation marks still intact.  Then again, this book might have been written by a member of Anonymous in order to annoy the book world with how bad it is.  Because, to Anonymous, annoying people is hilarious.

8. Denis Leary‘s Tweets

Leary

A Twitter account is the easiest thing in the world to follow.  Click that you want to follow it, and then do so.  No harm, no foul, no charge.  Comedian Denis Leary, however, realized that compiling some of his funniest tweets into book form could make him some money, so he did just that.  Never mind that you can easily read the entire book in less than ten minutes while evading bookstore staff; you’re still expected to pay eight bucks for it.  To be fair, some of the money goes to his firefighter’s charity, but if you really wanted to make a difference, donate the entire eight dollars directly to the charity, and then follow his tweets as you normally would.  No need to clutter your bookshelf further.

7.Garfield Minus Garfield

Garfield

The webcomic is genius, and we’re taking nothing away from it; remove Garfield from his own comic strip, and you’re left with Jon: lonely, highly depressed, and talking to himself until the end of days.  But since the comics are still available online (all 110+ pages of it), it makes actually buying the book an exercise in futility.  Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, tried his hand at a few Minus Garfields, and that would be the bulk of the book’s exclusive content.  Sadly, his attempts aren’t nearly as good or as biting as the original webcomics; this makes sense, as they are written by the guy who does Garfield, after all.

6. Postsecret

PostSecret

The original PostSecret blog allowed people to anonymously confess things along the lines of “I thought of him when I was marrying you” in convenient postcard form.  Fair enough, yet this managed to become a book compilation, allowing the author to profit off of other people whose pain is so intense they can only bring themselves to talk about it in nameless postcard form.  On the other hand, if you buy this book, and find yourself identifying with “my wife thinks I’m having an affair with her sister…wrong sibling,” then you can confess with a real live postcard of somebody else’s very own.

5. Stuff White People Like

white people

White people like lame things!  There, we just saved you ten bucks.  Seriously, that’s the entire gist of this site-turned-book.  Evidently, they enjoy soy lattes, scarves, the World Cup, recycling, dogs, and all other sorts of stupid things that, by extension, non-white people don’t like at all.  To give the author credit, he at least wrote up actual essays about each thing white people like, and put some thought into them.  This is opposed to the usual viral blog approach: one goofy picture and one sentence such as “They like sushi?  Uncooked fish!?  That’s sooooo white!”

4. Oolong the Rabbit

Oolong

Photo by Rex Features

And now we start to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Oolong was a rabbit that was photographed by his owner balancing things on his head.  Sometimes it was a pancake.  Sometimes it was a CD.  Sometimes it was toilet paper.  Each time, it was adorable.  But adorable enough to compile into coffee table book form?  Evidently, because that’s exactly what happened.  A 120-page book of free-on-the-Net pictures does in fact exist; perfect for when you want to glance at a cute bunny with something on his head, but have neither the ability to print the pictures yourself, nor an actual bunny that can balance things just as well.

3. Barack Obama is Your New Bicycle

obama

This is the Obama meme, in a nutshell: white background with gigantic text describing a random act of kindness Barack Obama just did for you.  That’s all.  And that is now a book.  In exchange for money that could be used to buy food or real literature, you can buy 366 random sentences such as “Barack Obama remembered your birthday”, or “Barack Obama tuned your guitar for you.”  Great for those days when you want to read one meaningless sentence involving the President, but just don’t feel like clicking any links.

2. I Can Has Cheezburger

i can has cheezburger

Remember the rabbit from earlier?  Well, multiply that by a billion and you have the cheezburger cats.  More than likely you’re aware of this phenomenon; take funny pictures of cats and add comically misspelled captions to make them seem uneducated.  There are multiple books compiling these cats and they are, in fact, bestsellers.  And don’t you dog people feel superior, as there are books featuring cheezburger dogs saying stupidly misspelled things while riding invisible snowboards or something along that line.  To be fair, there are now millions of funny animal pictures on the website, and some people need an author or two to pick their absolute favorites out for them.

1. (Bleep) My Dad Says

my dad

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This is number 1 for one reason and one reason only: it transcended being a pointless book and became a pointless TV show as well.  The original meme was a Twitter feed where a guy recorded a bunch of comically grouchy quotes his Dad may or may not have actually said.  It was a monster hit, and naturally spawned a book version for those who hate when their Internet comedy is free.  But this somehow was not enough, and CBS greenlighted a TV show based on the idea of a lovably grumpy old man saying off-the-wall one-liners.  Despite “lovably grumpy people spewing one-liners” being the central theme of 80% of sitcoms filmed, ever, this one was different because it came from the Internet, and we all know the vast literary muses that pop up there.


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10 Comments

  1. stephwoo286 on

    All this is rather sad, because it’s clearly a case of traditional publishing desperately grasping for a handhold on the precipice of oblivion. But then, stuff like this is lifted by just about every irrelevant industry. Advertising springs instantly to mind.

  2. Kata Lee Sandberg on

    Don’t you diss the cheezburger cats.. everybody loves them & would STILL love them jut as much with or without the pointless, stupid, mispelled captions….
    I don’t really get the mispelling thing myself… & clearly it’s the cats & the pictures of them that are the star of this phenomenon.. altho some of the captions are kind-of funny…..
    It is for cat lovers & it is just another book of cute pictures of cats!!! & if your grandparents or some old people are cat lovers but they live out in the middle of brainerd, nowhere & therefor for some reason do not know how to use a computer (or the internet, for that matter) this is a GREAT book 2 get 4 them.. because they still love cats & they STILL wanna see the funny pictures & cute cats & the few, rare good captions that go along w/them……. & it might even convince them to go on the internet so that you can stop writing them letters & sending them through the mail!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Don’t hate the cheezeburger cats.. no matter how pointless the book may be……. all of the cute pictures of cute, pretty & beautiful & sometimes crabby & scary-looking cats will ALWAYS be popular.. as long as there are some people out there that stll like beautiful &cute things & aren’t scared of them just because they are beautiful & cute & pretty & special & they aren’t women & so some dudes are getting all confused & freaking out & panicking because it’s something beautiful & cute & it’s not a human female or whatever.

    • About a year ago or more, a literary agent contacted me for that very purpose. She ultimately gave up after contacting a few publishers. I still think I have an idea that would be so much more than just a top 10 list book, so if anyone knows or is a literary agent I would be happy to speak with them and share my idea for a TopTenz book. Send an email to [email protected].

  3. I’m pretty sure Post Secret was a book before it was a website. It started as an art project by a man in San Francisco… the first PS book explain his whole story.

  4. No, PostSecret was a site first. I found it back in what, 2005 maybe, when it was started – it was a big deal among the artsy snobs my friends and I were then.
    And Garfield Minus Garfield is a great book to have – if for no other reason than being a dead-on throwback to the old wide Garfield books we all grew up looking at.

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