Here I am, back again to talk about real book blogging questions. (Or maybe bother you with it all, I’m not even sure at this point, but it turns out I’m still not out of topics when it comes to book blogging).
Today, I’m here to talk about book reviews.
Many bloggers, I included, have already noticed and talked about this before: book reviews aren’t that popular in the blogosphere. I know that personally, if I take a look at those damn numbers, reviews aren’t the posts that make everyone come to my blog, that gives me the most interaction, comments, visits and so on. Let’s say this loud and clear: reviews are unpopular in the book blogging community and on the blogosphere overall. I’m saying “unpopular”, really, but the word might be a little big, so let’ rephrase this: reviews aren’t as appreciated as, well… everything else.
When I first started blogging a couple years ago (I feel so old everytime I write this, someone helps me), I thought that book blogging = book reviews. I thought that the two were, somehow, forever linked and destined to be together, hand in hand and inseparable just like Lyra and her Pantalaimon (His Dark Materials, if you haven’t read the book, DO IT OKAY) or just like, well, us and our books.
I was wrong.
As time passed, as I met new book bloggers, as I slowly created a tiny little nest for me here, I realized that book reviews aren’t necessarily a given in the book blogging community. They’re not always there, sometimes they’re not even there at all.
I know tons of book bloggers writing a review a month, or very rarely, or not even at all. Their blog aren’t empty, they’re just filled with other bookish things, such as discussion posts, recommendations posts, wrap-ups where they mention everything they’ve read all at once, book hauls, bookish memes (Top Ten Tuesdays, Waiting on Wednesday etc.) and so on.
Sometimes book bloggers don’t review books. At all.*
*when I’m talking about reviewing books, I’m mentioning blog posts solely focusing on one book and talking about it. Long paragraphs, lists, pros and cons, likes and dislikes, everything, well, a book review.
To be completely honest with you, this unsettled me a little bit, at first. See, I had this image of book bloggers writing book reviews and somehow, it felt weird that so many bloggers did book reviews so rarely, or never. Yet, slowly, I got used to it. In the middle of the “usual” book reviews, I stumbled upon so many new, interesting posts and new, amazing ways to highlight great books. Recommendations posts, lists, blog posts where books are mentioned, but not necessarily reviewed, are wildly popular in the bookish community and I get why.
Is it that writing reviews is boring, or getting boring, I wonder?
Slowly, this image of book bloggers = book reviews kind of shattered, just leaving the book bloggers = books equation, one that’s much fairer than the first one. Some people hate writing reviews, some others just find other ways to chat about books. Some bloggers would rather chat about all of their favorites at once in their latest wrap up, while others prefer “old school” book reviews, written paragraphs or bullet lists etc, focusing on one book, their love or hate for it all.
There’s also twitter now and instagram and all of the other social media, where book bloggers aren’t necessarily “bloggers” anymore, but social media influencers as well. Reviews can take multiple forms there, they can be summed up in a tweet in a couple of sentences or key words, they can be written down in a couple sentences in the instagram caption. Book reviews on book blogs still exist, but they change, too, or disappear in the profit of talking about our reads quickly on social media, where the target is easily reached and sometimes bigger than ever.
I feel like that’s a common misconception about book bloggers – one that I had at first, too, when I started up. I thought I had to review books to be a book blogger, but thing is, you don’t. If you want to blog about books, you have to enjoy books, obviously – or what the heck would you talk about otherwise? If you want to blog about books, you have to want to talk about books – that kind of seems obvious, too. But you don’t necessarily have to write book reviews.
There are so many different ways to talk about books after all.
I personally love to write book reviews, even if they’re not that popular, probably not that interesting either. I’m not doing it because I feel like I “have” to, but because that’s how I want my blog to be, filled with discussions like this one, other fun book recommendations and posts when I can think of them, and tons of long, short, bullet-point reviews, too. I just love it.
Yet, I don’t think you have to review books to be a book blogger anymore. You just have to talk about books and do whatever the heck makes you happy, because it’s your blog after all.
Do you review books on your blog? Do you do it often, or not? Do you like writing book reviews? Do you read book reviews on book blogs?
If you don’t review books – or don’t do it often on your blog, why, or why not? Do you think you have to review books when you’re a book blogger? I’d love to know your thoughts in comments!