With the increase in popularity of discussion posts, there has been some anxiety in the book blogosphere that book reviews are becoming obsolete. After all, compared to the traffic that discussion posts gets, it looks as if no one reads book reviews and no one comments on them anyway.
While I think there is some truth to that observation (our discussion posts probably get twice as many views as our reviews, and they can get three times as many comments), I also think it is somewhat of an exaggeration. There are reasons discussion posts see more interaction. But there are also reasons that book blogs will always have reviews.
Why Discussion Posts Get All the Fun
Simply put, discussion posts are more universal. Anyone who likes to read (any genre, any number of books per year) can probably find something to say about how they organize their books, whether they prefer e-books or paper copies, or how they approach their to-be-read pile.
A book review, on the other hand, has a much narrower audience: it appeals mainly to people who have either read that exact book already, or people who are interested in something specific about that book (i.e. a fantasy book review will be more interesting to fantasy fans than to people who primarily reads memoirs).
So discussion posts naturally get more hits and more comments.
Why Blogs Will Always Have Book Reviews Anyway, Even If “No One” Reads Them
From reading the results of surveys that various bloggers have asked their followers to complete, I noticed a general trend: Blog followers overwhelmingly say they like to read book reviews on book blogs. They may not read every review that a blogger posts, but they want to see them posted.
So, on a very base level, bloggers who want to keep their followers will probably keep writing reviews.
However, I think the desire to see bloggers reviewing reveals something a little deeper: Book reviews give a book blog legitimacy. When a blogger reviews books, they are demonstrating that they read. No one wants to read a blog filled with discussion posts about every bookish topic imaginable—without having any “real” indication that the blogger is actually a reader and is “qualified” to talk about books.
Secondly, book reviews give a blog personality. They show what types of books the blogger likes, and what types of things they think make a book “good.” Reading a blogger’s reviews helps followers determine whether they have similar tastes, and how much weight they should give to that blogger’s opinions. They help readers decide which blogs to watch.
So, keep reviewing, everyone, and the right readers will eventually find your posts!