Can You Run a Book Blog without Book Reviews?

Discussion Post

Recently I’ve seen a couple book bloggers making the move to stop writing book reviews for their blogs altogether, and I’ve seen seen more bloggers mulling over the idea.  This decision seems to come from a combination of personal lack of interest in writing reviews and the frequent suspicion of the book community at large that “nobody reads reviews.”  Still, the idea that a book blog can succeed without book reviews seems baffling to many.  Can it really work?

Yes, If You Replace Reviews with Similar-Quality Content

I like reviews, reading and writing them, but I’m not going to argue with the assertion that reviews get fewer views and fewer comments than discussion posts like this one.  It’s true.  This is for all sorts of perfectly logical reasons, ranging from readers not wanting to stumble across spoilers for books they haven’t read yet to readers not wanting to read thirty reviews of the same book to readers just having no interest in the featured book at all.  Still, readers like seeing that reviews are being published on a blog, even if they don’t read every review, because reviews easily demonstrate a blogger’s personal writing style, taste in reading, and ability to talk insightfully and in detail about books.

One of the first things I do when I visit a new blog is look at the review archive. I read the reviews for a couple books I love and a couple I strongly dislike.  If the blogger and I tend to have complementary opinions on books, I look around the blog more.  If not, I move on.  Of course, a blogger can convey some of this information in another way: a list of top favorite books or genres, a list of books they hate or ones they will never read.  But usually a list doesn’t go as in-depth with reasoning for a reader’s approval or disapproval of a book, not in the same way a review can.

Readers do value in-depth content on blogs.  Lists with little content and flashy gifs have become associated to some degree with content mills like Buzzfeed.   People read and enjoy Buzzfeed, obviously, but they generally don’t refer to the site when they want quality content.  When readers think of expertise, they think of writing that’s detailed, with arguments backed up by evidence.  They want to get into the nitty gritty of things, not just the big picture, not just a random blogger’s personal opinion.  Reviews, which discuss a single book at some length, often fill this niche on book blogs. Reviews are where readers look when they what to know what a blogger thinks and why they think it. 

I have no doubt a book blog without reviews can easily succeed, as long as the bloggers replace reviews with content that performs similar functions.  It is very possible to write posts that are thoughtful and analytical and get into the meat of a story without actually writing a book review.  Stephanie’s post about Boromir from The Lord of the Rings is a good example of this, or Krysta’s post about Delphini Diggory.  It’s also possible to have a blog that features many discussion posts about individual books, literature in general, and blogging in general.  I just think that most readers want to see content on a book blog that goes beyond memes, tags, and lists.  While posting, say, a list of the YA science fiction books being published in November is useful and valuable, it’s also something that other bloggers can easily replicate.  My favorite bloggers post content that is uniquely them.

We have no plans to discontinue publishing reviews at Pages Unbound.  I find reviews valuable and love reading them on other blogs.  A book blog without book review may seem initially strange.  After all, many book bloggers begin blogging with the expectation they will be writing only reviews, and the other content gets added in later.  However, I do think that a book blog without reviews can succeed, as long as it fills the niche with in-depth, original posts.

What do you think? Would you ever stop reviewing books? Would you (or do you?) read blogs that don’t have reviews?

Briana

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68 thoughts on “Can You Run a Book Blog without Book Reviews?

  1. bookescapadeblog says:

    Good post Briana. I really agree with your views here. Originality should be the crux of the blog whether it be book review or any other content. Lists with a lot of gifs are good for light reading and trivial browsing but they cannot replace serious book reviews.

    For me, book reviews play an important role while deciding to follow a blog. If I like the books recommended in a blog, I will periodically visit the blog for book suggestions.

    Like

    • Briana says:

      Same! Reviews are my primary focus when visiting most blogs, so I initially thought “A blog without reviews? That’s ridiculous!” But then I realized that my reaction was partially because when people talk about removing book reviews from their blogs, no one actually states what they’re going to replace them with. I imagine being left just looking at memes and tags and maybe a sporadic discussion. But if the blogger really beefed up their discussion post game or had other unique content, I would be on board.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. セレネ says:

    I started writing reviews for my book blog, because I wanted to write down my thoughts about the books somewhere (and I can’t always talk about them). Book reviews (and a yearly tbr/read post) are the only content on my book blog. I also hardly get any comments, but I do know people read them 🙂 On other blogs I also like to read other posts about books.

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  3. Amber says:

    Lovely discussion! I feel like it would be harder for some bloggers to obtain ARCs after discontinuing reviews because ARCs are a way to be able to review and discuss why one should buy it. So I feel like that could potential harm some books from getting the attention they deserve.

    I like doing reviews because I like to talk about how I felt about a book even if no one reads my post. I also love reading reviews to on books I’ve already read to see if I feel the same way about the book as the reviewer. I don’t read reviews for books I haven’t yet read because of fear for spoilers. If one doesn’t want to write an actual book review then could always do points of a book they like and dislike. Like bulletin points. ☺️ again love the post!

    Happy reading!

    Amber @ bibliomaniacbibliophile

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    • Briana says:

      That’s a good point. If you’re a particularly big blog you may get ARCs anyway, but other publishers will probably want to see that the ARCs they’re sending you are getting some dedicated promotion, not just a casual mention you read it in a monthly wrap-up or a mention of it in a list with 15 other books. It would definitely be weird to request on Netgalley since there’s a box for submitting an actual review, not some other creative way you featured the book. I don’t request many ARCs though, so these are things that don’t worry me too much. 😉

      I like reading reviews too! I want to know if the blogger and I have similar opinions of books (for similar reasons), so I know how much to listen to their reading recommendations.

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  4. Megan @ bookslayerReads says:

    Great post 👍🏼 Every blog I read has book reviews, and all my favorite blogs have book reviews. Initially, I would say it’d be silly to completely stop writing reviews, but you got me thinking… maybe it IS possible to succeed as a book blog without reviews as long as they fill in that gap somehow. But honestly, I would prefer to continue seeing and reading reviews on blogs. It tells a lot about the person and sometimes will make or break my decision to follow. Personally, I won’t ever stop writing reviews. I love it. Although reviews aren’t the most popular posts, I still enjoy discussing my opinions on books and breaking down the book into likes and dislikes, etc.

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    • Briana says:

      Exactly! I initially thought not having reviews on a book blog sounded silly, too. Then I realized that’s because I’ve seen multiple people say “I am not going to review books anymore.” None of them told me what they were going to do instead to replace that content. Don’t just tell readers what they’re not going to get; tell what they will! So I envisioned all these people not reviewing books and therefore mostly posting memes and tags and lists, without much in-depth content to break them up. I wouldn’t read that kind of blog, but I would read one that replaced reviews with something equally interesting.

      But, yes, I enjoy reading reviews and think that most of the blogs I follow will have them. I’d probably onlhy follow a select few reviewless blogs that I thought were particularly original.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Puput @ Sparkling Letters says:

    Great discussions! I’ve seen a lot of blogger contemplating to stop writing reviews altogether too. I totally see where they come from, like you said, reviews get the least traffic and all. I felt that too. Discussion post generates more likes and comments, but posting discussion posts all the time feels kind of tedious for me. I try to balance the content of my post to 3 categories each week, reviews, discussions, and lists/meme/tags so I could say that I don’t want to ever stop posting reviews.

    I think I would still read blogs that don’t post reviews, provided they have other equally interesting contents. After all, I read discussion posts to see someone’s perspective and preference in books.

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    • Briana says:

      That’s a good point! Having a mix of content can be more interesting to your reader and more interesting to write, as well! We’re pretty eclectic with what we write here, which I think helps keep blogging fun for me.

      Exactly! I can imagine myself reading a reviewless blog as long as the content wasn’t all memes and tags. I like reading things with analysis, not just bullet points and lists.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jamie Wu says:

    Oddly enough, I find myself reading reviews of books that I already read. I don’t know why I do it though. I guess I just want to see if other people shared my opinions? In any case, I definitely agree that book blogs without book reviews will work. Personally, I won’t stop writing reviews because for me they’re quite easy to write compared to discussion posts which requires some researching. And I will definitely read blogs without book reviews, since I really enjoy discussion posts.

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    • Briana says:

      I read a lot of reviews for books I’ve already read, too! I like to discuss the book with other people, so reviews are a great way to do that!

      I also find book reviews easier to write. If you already have a general sense of the major points you did and did not work, I think it can practically write itself. Coming up with multiple original discussion posts per week would definitely be harder for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. wonderfilledreads says:

    I’m not really sure I understand the reasoning to stop posting book reviews just because they typically have less traffic than other kinds of posts. Do you have a book blog to just build up views and followers in order to make money or are you a book blogger because you love to read and want to share that with others? I think the answer to that question is extremely important. I, personally, will not stop posting book reviews because I know that other readers really appreciate reviews of a book before they decide if they want to read it or not, plus it’s a great way to interact with other’s who have read the book.

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    • Briana says:

      Some of the bloggers I’ve seen said they actively dislike writing reviews, so that combined with the fact they seem not to be getting much follower interaction means they don’t want to do them anymore. I do like writing reviews, but I think disliking them makes more sense as a reason for ceasing to publish them. After all, you have to read books continuously to have enough content for a book blog, no matter what kind of posts you’re writing. You might as well get a “freebie” post of a review out of some of the books! Personally I find writing reviews easier than consistently coming up with original discussion topics.

      Liked by 1 person

      • wonderfilledreads says:

        Well I can understand if you don’t like writing them as much. I don’t enjoy writing them as much as I used to, because due to now having a full time job, I don’t have as much as time as I used to in sitting down to write out a well thought out review so now I’m just doing billet points. I think I just have a problem with using less traffic as a reason. That makes me tend to think the blogger is only interested in how many views they can get, and less on just blogging because they enjoy talking about books.

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        • Briana says:

          Yes! I don’t think traffic should be the major point of a blog. I mean, after all, what is “less traffic?” Is it that 60 people will read a discussion post and 20 people will read a review? That’s still 20 people who were interested, not 2! (Also, you never know what will blow up anyway. I think we’ve gotten about 1500 search engine views this year from a review of Nerve by Jeanne Ryan I wrote in 2012. No one read it then, but its day has come! :p)

          Liked by 1 person

          • wonderfilledreads says:

            Yes, exactly! You never know what can change. And it just comes across as you’re in blogging for the wrong reasons. It first and foremost should be about having fun and connecting with others who share your same interests!

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  8. Reading Tounwind says:

    Great post! I can’t image a book blog without reviews. I agree with you that when I stumble upon a new blog I am looking through reviews of books I have read and see if they gel up with my thoughts, if so I look towards books that they rank highly and read those reviews as suggestions of what I would want to read next. I agree though on a blog that it should not be strictly reviews, but also include other content and discussion posts so that you can get to learn more about the person running the blog.

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    • Briana says:

      Yes, I want to know what blogger thought of particular books and why! So, not only that we both like Novel X, but that we liked it for similar reasons. Then I know how much to trust their recommendations for books I might want to read next.

      I think variety is a good idea, as well! I like to do a mix of “fun” posts like personality quizzes and lists and more in-depth posts like reviews and discussions.

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  9. saraletourneau says:

    I personally love reading book reviews. They often help me decide whether I should read or avoid a book that’s been on my radar, and pique my interest about other books or authors I hadn’t heard of before. But a book blog doesn’t have to be all about reviews for me to follow it. Discussion posts like this are great for engaging your readers and offering something new. Even fun posts like Top 10 Tuesdays or occasional giveaways can get me to visit.

    I recently stopped sharing book reviews at my blog. Two reasons led to this: 1) I’d decided to reduce my blogging schedule to once a week, so it was an easy choice in terms of what to eliminate from said schedule. 2) I’m not really a book blogger. I’m a writer who loves talking about books, writing, reading, creativity, and other things. Yes, book reviews can be beneficial for authors and helpful for other readers. So I’ll keep posting them on Goodreads and Amazon, since that’s sort of what both sites are for. But it’s not so imperative for the blog, since reviewing books doesn’t align with the blog’s purpose anymore.

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    • Briana says:

      I love reading book reviews, too, but I agree that variety on a blog is nice. (Also, most people probably don’t read fast enough to post frequently if ALL they do is reviews!)

      That makes a lot of sense since the focus of your blog is more about writing!

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  10. Emily | RoseRead says:

    Great topic! I often find myself writing book reviews on my blog just because I feel like I have to. It sometimes feels more out of obligation than the want to write the review. I’m trying to combat this and tell myself that I don’t have to review everything I read, and I don’t. As a reader, I personally like reading discussion posts more than reviews; I think more bloggers can and should do discussion-like posts on books rather than straight-up reviews because they are just more interesting. I’m also more likely to comment on discussions than reviews. However, reviews do seem to be a staple of book blogging. At least, my blog would feel empty without them. On the other hand, if a blog ONLY posts reviews, I’m not super likely to follow that blog. I think a balance is necessary.

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    • Briana says:

      Yes, I have found that not pressuring myself to review everything I read makes blogging much more fun.

      I do think that’s the challenge. A lot of people prefer reading discussion posts, but it’s difficult (for me at least) to come up with multiple good topics per week. So if you’re running a blog where you want to post fairly frequently, reviews are a great way to do that. I’m not sure I could write three discussion posts a week for a whole year without diverging into some odd and potentially really boring topics.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. cornreviewsbooks says:

    Reviews are my favorite posts to write and read my reviews don’t get a lot of comments which does annoy me a little I put a lot of effort into my reviews. But I would never stop because I love writing them and I think I’m pretty good at it. I do still think that you don’t have to post reviews and I see more and more blogs posting untraditional reviews as in pro con lists or only posting recommendations. You definitely don’t have to post reviews to be a successful book blog but I like reading them so I tend to look for blogs that post them.

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    • Briana says:

      We get fewer views on reviews, too, but I like writing them, as well! Plus it helps me keep trac of my own opinion of books, which I find useful. And it’s so hard to predict what will blow up. I wrote a review of Nerve by Jeanne Ryan in 2012 that no one read, which got hundreds of search engine hits this year because the movie came out but so few other people had reviewed the book at the time it was published!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    I love the reasons you give for reading (and writing) reviews beyond the conventional looking-for-info-about-this-new-book. I don’t think I will ever stop writing reviews, but what I find really interesting is which books generate the most discussion and comment. When I write about new books there’s often little activity – maybe because no one has read them yet – but certain old chestnuts create some hot discussion. Ethan Frome was the most recent example, which surprised me.

    I also try to do a variety of other kinds of posts: discussions, trips to bookish places, lists… What other kinds of quality content could I come up with? It might be fun to get more creative!

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    • Briana says:

      I completely agree! It’s really impossible to predict which reviews will be popular! I find I can get some discussion if I post about very popular books (Sarah J Maas, The Cursed Child) immediately after release, like two days, because not too many reviews are out yet. After that, people seem to be like “Eh, another Court of Mist and Fury review? Whatever.”

      And classics are really weird ! I always think they’re going to be popular in general under some vague assumption that “lots of people read classics,” but they’re really hit or miss. My Dracula review was really popular, and I did not see that coming!

      Trips to bookish places is such a great idea already! Generally I try to think about what kinds of things I like to read and what other people would find useful to read. What is the post going to do for my followers?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. luvtoread says:

    Interesting post! I like to see reviews on a book blog, because otherwise I’m constantly wondering if the person actually reads the books they discuss, or if they are just bringing the books up because they are popular. But, I tend to agree with you that if there is other excellent content on the blog, then that’s fine.
    I really enjoy reading bookish discussions, like this one. I don’t really read tags or the memes anymore, there are just so many of them! I do post them occasionally on my blog, but not all that often. It boils down to a time issue, and I’d rather write & post book reviews, or spend my free time reading books.
    I know reviews get the least views, but we’re not really in this for views are we? I know I’m not – I’m in it for a bookish discussion, and if only one person read my book review but they commented and we got into a discussion about the book, then that is wonderful! One person who responds is, to me, better than 100 people that see the post but don’t comment.
    So, maybe those blogs that don’t put reviews out end up with more views, because the tags and discussions and lists appeal to more people, but it still seems odd to me to not post any book reviews. But, it’s their blog so they can do what they want with it 🙂 That’s the wonderful thing about blogging! No rules. 🙂

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    • Briana says:

      Yes! I actually mentioned that in a previous post I wrote about book reviews but didn’t mention it here–because reviews are often the only real in-depth mention of individual books on a blog, they give the reader authority. It proves you’ve actually read the book! Which may sound silly, but people do lie about reading. Reviews give your blog a sense of authenticity,. and I think people do subconsciously like to see them on a blog, even if they’re not actually reading them all.

      I agree! I think interaction is the best part, though it can be disappointing to publish a lot of reviews in a row that no one comments on and few people have read.

      Liked by 1 person

      • luvtoread says:

        I think that one solution to the lack of comments is that we should be sprinkling in books that are very popular. This is partly why I joined the Goodreads group Hype or Like Friday – we read one hyped book a month and then publish our review on the last Friday of the month. This way I am guaranteed to have a review once a month on a book that other people have read.
        I don’t like to read just hyped books however (so many of them are just plain bad!), and so intermix my ARCs (which so far have gotten me the lowest views – probably because no one has heard of the book yet!) and classics and other readings. I would never drop ARCs because of low views/comments however. I’ve got a couple ARCs coming up on some well-known authors, so I’m interested to see if those reviews garner more views & comments than a lesser known author. It may just depend on how busy everyone is on the day that the review posts! 🙂

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        • Briana says:

          Yes, there seems to some secret formula for reviews that get interaction. The book has to be popular enough that other people have read it but not SO popular everyone’s like “Eh, I’ve already read 50 reviews of this.” 😉 Of course it’d be hard to try to purposely read the “correct” books and would probably take the fun out of reading, but I think it makes a lot of sense to mix up your reviews if you have a sense that some might be more popular than others.

          I totally agree about ARCs. I don’t get the “popular bloggers have ARCs” thing, to some degree. No one reads ARC reviews. You have to wait a little bit after publication for other people to have read the book. Posting an ARC review three months early does your blog no favors in terms of traffic. But, again, I agree that very popular authors might be a different story.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek says:

    Really interesting post! 😀

    I’m personally not keen on writing reviews, due to lack in my writing ability but I’d never actually stop writing them. I always thought that the main idea of a book blog was to review books but browsing blogs you see that isn’t the case and blogs seem to have far more memes and tags. Which is fine but I like to read reviews or at least see them on a book blog even if the reviews aren’t of books I’ll read.

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    • Briana says:

      Yes! Blogs dropping book reviews is so surprising partially because they seem like the primary point of a book blog. It’s what most of us started blogging to do, really.

      From what I’ve read of your blog, I have confidence in your writing ability, though! And I do like to read reviews myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek says:

        Thanks, I’m good friends with Jill (Rant and Rave About Books) and she tells me that about my writing ability to. I think perhaps there’s at least two types of book blog out there, the book review blog, where the blogger reviews books, even if not very regularly, I’m a slow reader and it takes me a while to read a book, fantasy fan to and they are usually hefty tomes so it takes me a while to read and review while others post a review a day but I’d still class mine as a book review blog, well book review and poetry. And then there is the bookish blog where there’s no reviews but post after post of memes and tags.

        It’s perhaps just me but if the bloggers who drop reviews only read books that they buy themselves then it’s their choice and that’s fine, but if they get sent ARC’s and then can’t be bothered to review the ARC as they’ve decided reviews aren’t for them then I’d feel bad about not reviewing a book but I thought the main reason for having a book blog was to review books! 🙂

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        • Briana says:

          Yes, I find dropping reviews interesting just as a content thing because if you don’t read 300 books a year, it seems as if you’re just further limiting what you can post about if you don’t write reviews. You can read a book and write a review….or read 10 books and then make a “best five historical fiction books” list. It seems inefficient to me.

          I found memes useful as a new blogger to find readers, but I admit I’m pretty much over them at this point. I don’t read them, and I find blogs that only do memes and tags boring. This is why I think, if they want to drop reviews, they need to add in some type of substantial post to replace them, but none of the blogs I see discussing get rid of reviews mention what they’re going to do instead.

          And I totally agree about the ARCs. You’d probably still get them if you were a really big blogger, but I think publishers are expecting some kind of post dedicated JUST to that book if they send you an ARC. Throwing it in as an answer on a book tag probably won’t cut it for exposure.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Inge | The Belgian Reviewer says:

    I find book reviews the most important and I read reviews more than tags. I know from experience on my own blog that tags are immensely commented and viewed though, more than reviews. I started my book blog to share my opinion and see if others had the same opinion about books so I might stop and omit every other kind of post, but I will always post reviews, even if it means I’ll only blog once a week or so ;-).

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    • Briana says:

      I read a lot more reviews than tags, too. I was into some tags at the beginning, but they’ve become somewhat overwhelming, and I think tend to feature similar questions and similar answers. I also am much more interested in knowing what people thought about specific books.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. DoingDewey says:

    For all that book reviews get less comments than discussion posts, they are still, for me, the main purpose of my blog. I don’t know enough people in real life to get all the bookish conversation about what I’m reading that way and that’s something I enjoy getting from the blogging community.

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  17. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight says:

    I agree! I think a book blog can succeed without reviews as long as it has other in-depth and valuable content like discussions. Like you said, things that go beyond just memes and the like. But even though reviews do get less interaction, I love writing them, and I love any interaction I do get from them. I mean, when someone actually reads a book because of me, it’s such a great feeling! But blogging is supposed to be a fun hobby, so everyone should blog about what they want, regardless of whether it’s the norm or not 🙂

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    • Briana says:

      I love writing and reading reviews, too, even though of course I don’t comment on every review I see. But definitely people should always do what they find enjoyable. If writing reviews is really boring and difficult for someone, then I agree it’s time to try something else to help keep blogging fun.

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  18. Chrystal says:

    What a well written and thought out post. I like seeing reviews. I don’t always comment and yes sometimes I do get tires of seeing the same review on almost every blog I visit, but I just skip them and read their other posts.

    I do think a blog can survive without reviews, but like you said they’d need some darn good posts to make up for not having them. Your examples are great – loved the HP one.

    I personally have been posting fewer and fewer reviews. It’s not because I don’t want to write them, it’s because I have a new baby hat is taking my time and I took a hiatus during pregnancy so just getting back into the swing of things.

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    • Briana says:

      Babies are definitely a good reason for spending less time online! 😀 Congratulations!

      Yes, I don’t comment on every single review I see either, but I do like reading them, and I like reading longer content, in general, so I love discussions and other interesting posts.

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  19. readingwithcupcakes says:

    I find this interesting! My blog is actually mostly reviews. I try to do some of the memes, but I end up forgetting about them and they never get done. And I stick in discussion posts ever so occasionally, but in the long run…yeah my blog is pretty much reviews!

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    • Briana says:

      I love reviews! I don’t comment on every one I read, but I do like reading them!

      We did some memes early one and then cut down to just Top Ten Tuesday, but we haven’t found the topics that inspirational recently, so we haven’t been doing memes at all. I don’t feel that I’m missing much!

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  20. TeacherofYA says:

    It has never occurred to me that people would want to exclude book reviews. Yes, we talk about books here and people do memes and tags. Currently most of my posts are reviews, and my blogging friends have been really supportive!
    Many have said that reviews are commented on the least, but I usually get 50 or more comments on mine!
    So I’m hoping to add more tags and memes, but I haven’t had time with school, because the little spare time I have is spent reading or reading and commenting on others’ blogs.
    I hope you still like mine! 🙃


    ,

    Like

    • Briana says:

      I’ve seen a few bloggers say they’re stopping reviews recently, and a few more who said they might like to. Our reviews definitely get fewer views than our discussions, so I can understand some of the frustration. I know it’s one of the basic tenets of the book community that “You’re supposed to blog because you like interaction, not because you want traffic,” but interaction and traffic can definitely be tied together! If you spent an hour working on a review that got 4 views, 0 comments, and 0 likes, you don’t have traffic OR interaction, and I can see how people who don’t enjoy writing reviews in the first place might view that as a waste of their time. Personally, I like both reading and writing reviews, but, yes, our discussions are way more popular.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TeacherofYA says:

        I never thought about it! It’s funny, because I get a LOT of traffic on my reviews…but that’s all I really post right now bc of school. I wonder if that’s why? I get like, 60 comments and at least 30 likes. But as I said, it’s the only thing I really have time to post right now. Well, except the occasional update.
        Maybe when ppl post every day, readers have to be more selective? And instead of reading a book review, they choose the discussions instead? 🤔

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        • Briana says:

          You must just write really awesome reviews! Which I think can definitely be a draw. I’m more likely to read reviews that are in-depth and not just a lot of generic squeeing over characters.

          True. We post a lot because there are two of us, so I can imagine people don’t want to read literally everything we post. :p

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  21. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight says:

    This is SUCH a great post! I mean… I think it CAN be successful honestly. I think I would definitely still read a blog that didn’t do reviews if I still liked the content. I can’t see myself NOT writing reviews, just because I do enjoy sharing my opinions and thoughts on books, and I also like to read everyone else’s too. But reviews are also a smaller portion of my content than they had been when I first started blogging, for sure.

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    • Briana says:

      Same! I think it’s possible, but difficult. Sometimes I have multiple discussion ideas in a week, and sometimes I have trouble coming up with just one. I’m not sure how well I’d do coming up with original content if I didn’t write any reviews. And I like writing them as well anyway.

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  22. rantandraveaboutbooks says:

    Awesome post! That is so crazy to me to want to drop reviews if you’re a book blogger. Unless the blogger is also a writer and has something else to add to the blog such as writing and editing advice or even their own writing, I wouldn’t follow a blog that had no reviews and all tags and memes. I personally do not enjoy reading tags or memes. I hardly ever post memes unless I’ve read a lot of books and want to do a mid-month sort of wrap up of what I’ve read. For the most part, I read enough books and have enough original content to work with that I don’t have to fall back on tags or memes to supplement. I think if the person is no longer reviewing books then they also shouldn’t be posting book hauls of ARCs they don’t plan to review or even bother talking about books unless they’re going to do something original like what Krysta did with HP. I’d definitely read a post written like that over a book review because it still had everything I needed to know and was still a review. I’m curious as to what content these bloggers you mention will add to their blogs in place of reviews. I’m sure they’ll run out of ideas fast at that rate.

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    • Briana says:

      Exactly. I think dropping reviews is doable, but the real question is what you’re planning to write about instead. Most of the posts I’ve seen where bloggers announced they were dropping reviews didn’t really specify, so I’m not sure what their plans are. I would definitely read a blog that still had interesting posts about books, but I wouldn’t read one that was mainly tags or memes. I also agree that getting ARCs might be tricky without reviews. (Which I suppose is only a problem if you tend to request many ARCs in the first place.) But I imagine publishers are hoping the book will get a sizable feature, not just a mention in a monthly wrap-up or an Instagram photo. No reviews also means you probably can’t cross-post about the ARC on Goodreads, Amazon, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

        Yeah, I’m curious about what they’re posting if it’s not reviews. We sure don’t need anymore tags or memes. The reader is already over-saturated with enough of those. I get so sick of reading them every day that I’d like to see much less of them. If the blog had cool and interesting bookish posts, I would still read it, but the chance of someone coming up with brand new ideas a few times a week without any book reviews, tags, or memes is pretty unlikely. You’re making me wonder who’s not posting reviews anymore because I haven’t seen any posts about that. I’d also hope the publishers aren’t dishing out ARCs to someone who’s not posting reviews because there’s already such a limited amount handed out and plenty of people who don’t even read them and only request them for fun, so it would be even more frustrating if they give them out to people who are not planning to review the book. There’s already enough of those bloggers as it is we don’t need more people who don’t bother to review the copies others would’ve been thankful to receive. Sorry, that was a bit of a rant, but there are so many people who act as though they’re entitled to the books, and then they get them just to say the got the ARC and then moan about how they’re not going to read it because they don’t have time because they asked for 50 books. I just hope the non-reviewers are not going to be part of those taking away from people who would review the books.

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        • Briana says:

          Most of them aren’t blogs I was following in the first place. I just ran across the posts while hopping around the blogosphere. So unfortunately I haven’t been really following what they’ve been up to since stopping reviewing. If I come across them again I can send some links your way. 🙂

          We did some memes when we first started, and I do think they can be a good way to network and get some content. But I also think there are more and less interesting memes. No offense to those who participate in them, but I’m just not into memes that are like “Post the first line of the book you are currently reading” or something like that, which isn’t really content. Or, with Waiting on Wednesday, often people just put the cover of the book and don’t even add a paragraph about why they’re looking forward to it, which I would find more interesting and personal to the blogger. So it depends.

          However, on Tuesday and Wednesdays my reader is basically only memes, and I find it so overwhelming I usually read none of them. I mean, do I read 50 Top Ten Tuesdays, or randomly pick some, or…just read none?

          I imagine publishers would notice eventually that they were sending ARCs to people and never receiving any links to reviews back.

          Liked by 1 person

          • rantandraveaboutbooks says:

            Yeah, that would be great if you could send them when you find them again. I’m curious what they’re posting instead. I don’t like those kind of memes at all. Some people I’m friends with I comment because I feel like I have to, but I could care less about a line from a book or a post that doesn’t even tell you why the person is reading the books. I tend to skip the reader on Tuesday and Wednesday because it’s filled with memes. There’s so many memes it’s like no one reads anything else.

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  23. thewisegreek says:

    I’ve read plenty of blogs that don’t have reviews! I think having a fish bowl type conversation is the best conversation anyone can have! Asking questions about books that help people dive deeper into life can sometimes even be better than writing a review of a book that might not be too engaging. There’s thousands of books out there, sometimes I’ve had to stop reading some cause they just don’t engage me. Some people argue that a book doesn’t have to have a moral to the story, but I’d say otherwise.

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  24. hubblegal says:

    I just write book reviews on my blog but don’t get many comments on them. I’ve just been thinking that I should try to write some personal blog posts but I’m a really private person and am not sure I feel comfortable doing that. The purpose of my blog is to write reviews so I think I’ll probably just stick with that. Great blog post, Briana!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I don’t write very much about myself online because I’m very private, too. But after a few years we managed to pick up some followers. Our first year I think we had…maybe eight visitors a day? I can’t remember the exact numbers but they were low!

      Like

  25. esthercise says:

    hubblegal, I hear you. I just started my blog, but haven’t gotten any comments. But then again, do I need to rethink my content? What will grab folks to come and discuss?

    Like

  26. Robert @ ReadingOverTheShoulder says:

    My brother and I started our blog so we could keep in touch and recommend books to each other. Of course reviews then make up most of our content because that’s what we want from each other. Years later we can go back to what the other has read and said about a book to see if we want to read it ourselves.

    For me I’ve separated book reviewers from book bloggers. Is the focus of the content on the books themselves and what’s between the pages or on the blogger themselves and their thoughts and opinions. Book focused content vs book themed content. Instead of pointing at the ends of the spectrum it shows the subtle difference in what people want and content creators provide.

    Like

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