Reviews are kind of the black sheep in the book blogging community, which, when you think about it, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I mean, we, bookworms, screaming about books all day long, are supposed to thrive on book reviews, aren’t we? Aren’t book reviews the best way to scream about the books we adore? Aren’t book reviews supposed to be the backbone of book bloggers, our very reason to be?
Another blogging expectation crumbling, burning down to ashes here.
The unpopularity of book reviews has been highlighted and talked about many, many times in many discussion blog posts, by an amount of wonderful bloggers, me included and we all came to the same conclusion. Book reviews don’t bring in a lot of traffic, they don’t rise a lot of discussions, they don’t give us a lot of comments, when you compare them to other popular blog posts. Book discussions, blogging discussions, recommendations lists are thriving. Blog posts when you talk about a lot of books, bookish tags when you talk about books in fun ways, are working really, really well, too and all of a sudden, what you imagined to be the backbone of the book blogging community, just slowly fades out in the background.
The thing is, book reviews are so, so hard to write.
How the hell are you supposed to write a proper book review? How are you supposed to rate a book? What are words when all you want is to mihkeyzgrkeibzebgkrabjhbrek your way out of this, because the book was too good and you’re just not finding the right words to say it all? (My wonderful friend Malka wrote a very interesting blog post on that very struggle of reviewing that I’d definitely recommend!)
So why bother? In front of book discussions, recommendations, bookish lists thriving, in front of recommendations threads on twitter, endless captions on instagram talking about all the books, why bother and write an old school book review that, apparently, no one will read and comment on?
☂️ Related blog post: On book reviews: unpopularity, comments and other struggles.
Most of it all, do book reviews really make you want to buy* a book?
*Or get the book from your library, if you can. Or add it to your TBR, these work too, obviously.
Or are book recommendations lists, endless shouting, tweets and bookstagram pictures, more efficient? I mean…. weren’t book reviews made for that? To recommend other people books and make them want to read them? So, what do we do when there are other, maybe more efficient ways to do that? Do we just give up on reviews, because apparently they’re worthless here?
I’ll admit two things here.
First, that I might be exaggerating here and might be a little bit of a drama queen and I’m sorry about that, but also, not really, because things are changing. The community, the way we blog, the way publishers want to promote their titles, too. Bookstagram tours, social media campaigns, other things are put into place to promote books than big old book reviews and appreciated by publishers a whole lot, too. The world’s changing.
☂️Related blog post: Is book blogging still relevant ?
Second, that, for me, if book reviews aren’t the most popular thing ever, I’m still on that old school path and I’m not quite ready to leave it just yet.
I write book reviews now and I am publishing a book review per week on my blog, have been almost ever since I started book blogging four years ago. If things have changed, if the way I blog, the way I write blog posts, the way I’ve found my own blogging voice and what I really like writing…. book reviews have always been a constant here and I don’t think that will change. I’m not saying I might do less than one a week, because sometimes, that’s a lot. I’m saying that, someplace, I feel like I will always give some space for book reviews.
Why I keep on writing book reviews
- Because I enjoy spotlighting one book -or a couple books when I’m doing mini reviews- and really talking about them. The thing is : when you’re writing book reviews, you’re really talking about the book, something that doesn’t happen too much when you write recommendations posts or book tags. Sure, you’re mentioning the book, maybe writing a paragraph about it, but reviews feel more focused.
- Because, as hard as reviews are to write, I actually get an immense satisfaction when I’m writing them and finish writing them and I like this okay.
- Because, as complicated as it is to give a review and a rating, I love to reflect on my experience while reading a book and to pinpoint exactly what I loved about it all, to better recommend it to others afterwards.
- Because book reviews give me the chance to spotlight specific books, yes and, no matter what general opinion might say or think, maybe some people will want to read the book because of me. I make a point of writing spoiler-free reviews every time, to allow everyone to read the review if they want to and, hopefully, have the feeling that they need this book on their TBR afterwards.
- Because…. well, despite how unpopular it may seem, I enjoy reading book reviews and therefore I want to write what I enjoy reading, too.
You don’t have to write book reviews to be a book blogger. Other blog posts are more popular, other blog posts are easier to write, too. You don’t have to do anything you don’t genuinely enjoy doing. For me, book reviews work. They might not be easy, sometimes they might bother me as well, like any other thing in life. Yet, I don’t think I see my book blog being without book reviews at all.
How often do you write book reviews on your blog? Do you enjoy writing them? Why, or why not?
Do you see yourself not writing book reviews at all? I’d love to hear from you in comments!