Saturday, May 05, 2012

Facebook doesn't wanna be called Book--or book with a lower case, for that matter!

Too many writers think they can’t use trademarks in their books so when it was reported that Facebook has demanded that its users not use the generic word "book" when naming their businesses
(, I feared a whole new round of confusion.

Then one of my writing friends Morgan Mandel (author of Forever Young) commented, "That's ridiculous, since Book has been in common usage for businesses for years before their company began. I'm not a lawyer, but isn't there some kind of law about previous use?" She goes on to say, "[Facebook] will not be in the good graces of many people if this holds up."

Here's my nonlegal take on it that topic. It's not that Facebook is co-opting the word "book" as theirs. They just don't want people to start shortening "Facebook" to "Book" because they don't want to lose their brand identity. I hadn't seen that happening, anyway! There is a huge difference between "book" and "Book" with a capital “B.” That's what grammar does for us! (-: Or maybe, if it’s going to happen anyway (see below), they want some leverage.

Traditionally (we could say linguistically) it has been impossible to stem a flow in language once it has gotten a start. Example: The French tried to keep Americanisms out of their language. OK. They've had some success, but only some. And look what happened when we were mad at the French and some ninny (a politician, I think) decided we shouldn't call French fries French fries. Ahem! You can see how far that got them! (-:

For more on why authors can use brand names in their books and a little more on the Facebook conundrum (and maybe to chime in with some examples of your own, go to: 

I personally use FB for Facebook when I want to shorten it. I wonder if they object to that? If so they should run off and get that trademarked, like now!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second ediction of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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