Eight Ways Book Blogging Has Changed in the Last Eight Years

Briana and I began blogging at Pages Unbound in May 2011. In honor of our eighth anniversary, here are eight ways I’ve seen book blogging change over the years.

Book bloggers are now expected to do more than just blog.

Years ago, book bloggers often literally just blogged about books.  That is, they wrote book reviews.  Now, book bloggers are expected to take their own pictures, run social media accounts, design their own websites, and more.

Book bloggers have moved to prioritizing discussion posts over book reviews.

When we first began Pages Unbound, most book blogs primarily published book reviews.  However, bloggers began noticing that, for many, discussion posts generated more page views than book reviews.  And so, many bloggers now prefer not to write reviews, or not as many.

Discussion posts have evolved to become longer and more in-depth.

When book bloggers first began discussion posts, many were along the lines of “How many books are on your nightstand?”  These types of posts were often about a paragraph in length, as there is not much to say other than the number of books you have on your nightstand!  Over the years, however, bloggers have come up with a number of exciting discussions, talking about consumerism in the book blogosphere, the importance of libraries, and more.

Guest Posts Became less frequent.

I have no qualitative data for this, but it does seem like I am seeing fewer and fewer guest posts.  They used to be recommended all the time as a way to get new audiences and drive traffic to your blog.  My own experience, however, is that I don’t get any traffic from guest posting and my own readers generally do not click on my links to see my guest post on someone else’s blog.  Perhaps other bloggers noticed the same and stopped guest posting as much?

Discussions started happening on Twitter.

Book bloggers used to write discussion posts that responded to and linked back to one or more posts by other bloggers.  However, once book bloggers were expected to use social media to promote their blogs, more and more discussions started happening on Twitter.  The fast-paced nature of Twitter means that sometimes things happen in the book world, they blow up immediately, and then they are over before many bloggers even knew something was happening, so there is less discussion on blogs about these issues. However, it is also notable that, soon after many book bloggers joined Twitter a few years ago, a large number then left, many of them citing the negative atmosphere as their reason.

The discussions have changed.

Many early discussions focused on how to get ARCs, how to blog “correctly” (commenting back, following back, etc.), and how to avoid plagiarism in the book blogosphere (Can you write about something someone already wrote about?  Yes, of course, but some bloggers argued you couldn’t.).  Discussions, however, are now more focused on what types of books are published, whether they should be published and, if they are published, whether people should read or review them.

Book bloggers became Booktubers.

It seems like more people are watching videos rather than reading blogs. In response, many bloggers have moved to Youtube, where they are more likely to get more views and thus get more books, more brand offers, and more book deals.

Some Book bloggers stopped blogging.

Sadly, over the years, we have lost many blogging friends who simply stopped blogging.  Perhaps life got too busy or they simply were not interested any more.  But there are many blogs I used to love that are no more.  Fortunately, however, there are always new friends waiting to be found!

How long have you been blogging?  What changes have you seen in the book blogopshere?

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66 thoughts on “Eight Ways Book Blogging Has Changed in the Last Eight Years

  1. Gerry@TheBookNookUK says:

    Goodness! Congratulations on eight years of blogging, that’s a lot of effort you’ve put in so well done! As I’ve only been blogging for a year I haven’t been able to see the impact of any changes yet but I would definitely say that I don’t tend to see guest posts and that there are a lot of discussion posts that are more complex in nature as you suggested.

    What’s interesting is when you say a lot of discussion is now about whether books should be published and while I find the discussions and commentary interesting I’m also concerned at how extreme those conversations can go leading to a ‘cancel culture.’ To be fair I’ve only really seen this on Twitter though. Sadly I am one of those people who ventured into Twitter and then backed straight out because it just seemed a bit too dramatic and negative for my liking 😦

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I think Twitter is very effective at making things seem super large and important, and people lose sight of the fact that people on book Twitter are not the majority of readers. When I tell people stuff happening on Twitter, they look scared and concerned, like they can’t figure out why anyone would do that. I think it’s healthy and important to remember that the majority of readers may not hold the views being loudly expressed in one sub-culture on one platform.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gerry@TheBookNookUK says:

        I think that’s a good thing to try and remember – that it’s a small collective that is vocal so it seems much larger. I’m truly not here for drama, I just like to read and nerd out about books but it’s interesting to watch everything from afar albeit a little unnerving.

        I find there’s a lot of content that comes from Twitter that brings up interesting discussion points so I tend to follow using my non book blog Twitter (because I haven’t got a book blog Twitter) and just watch but don’t interact. I think there’s some controversary blowing up over the recent NYC BookCon and ‘photoshoot gate’ which just boggles my mind because it seems incredibly overdramatic and wrought but then I don’t know if I’m missing some nuances and sensitivities.

        Like

  2. Author Alicia Justice says:

    Great post! I’ve been blogging since 2010 and I’ve seen all these changes too. It’s crazy how it’s changed.

    Like

  3. Beth @ Beth's Bookish Thoughts says:

    on reviews: I am doing the Classics Club challenge and so I will often check the master list of reviews to see if there are any for whatever classic I read most recently. I have found a few blogs to follow that way. I read contemporary books as well though, so sometimes I will comment on discussion posts about general bookish things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      That sounds like a great way to find reviews! I feel like there used to be more classics bloggers. I don’t know if the particular ones I was following just stopped blogging or what!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Miri ♪ Book Dragoness ♪ says:

    I’ve only started in December 2018 so I’m too new 😊 But it was definitely very interesting to read about the changes! And wow! 8 years is quite a milestone for blogging! You and Briana are amazing!

    And I agree about the twitter discussions. Sometimes in my feed I see people talking about something and I have no clue what it is about 😕 Twitter does move super fast!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Briana mostly handles our social media and I feel like I am 100% happier for not knowing what’s happening on Twitter. I think people on Twitter sometimes forget they are a small group and don’t represent all readers. So things blow up and seem very important online, when, in fact, the majority of readers have no clue any of this is happening and possibly don’t even care.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Elspeth says:

    I started in August 2015 but still feel like a newbie because my blog is so slow.

    I suspect my blog doesn’t see as much action -which I am fine with- because I read so many nonfiction books and discussions are primarily about education from a homeschoolers point of view.

    I do enjoy the tone and variety of this blog. You guys do a marvelous job here.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, when we review nonfiction, we get very poor views for the day. Actually, we get lower views for anything that isn’t YA. I think it’s maybe more difficult to find readers of other types of books online.

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Grab the Lapels says:

    Firstly, did you get rid of your “Like” button too? I didn’t see it, but I don’t know of any other bloggers except me who got rid of it!

    Alright, six years of blogging experience with no hiatus coming at you:

    I noticed that my guest reviews (I have a few former students who want to publish reviews at Grab the Lapels) don’t get as many comments. I think bloggers feel like we’re talking to each other, so the response is, “Who is this stranger??” I also used to do more author interviews, but no one seemed to respond to them except friends of the writer I interviewed. Those are not regular readers, which is fine, except I start to feel like JUST a platform. There’s no problem with that except that my regular readers aren’t interested, and they are my target audience.

    I think that read-a-longs and buddy reads are on the rise. I see them all over the place. It not only feels like a small book club, but you’re guaranteed at least one reader. That’s how I feel with Jackie @ Death By Tsundoku. We’re reading a long series together, and we’re slowly losing readers as a result. However, we have each other, and it’s strengthened our relationship deeply. The project has even turned into a personal life raft for both of us, for different reasons (we discuss this in our last conversation post down at the bottom: https://grabthelapels.com/2019/05/31/conversation-post-winds-of-change/).

    I love that BookTube is a thing, but personally I don’t have those little ear bud things (I’m not a hipster, I just have tiny ear canals and the ear buds won’t stay in) everyone has, and thus my ability to listen to a review is limited to being at home. I have big headphones, but those are clunky and don’t fit in my purse. I also don’t do Bookstagram because I don’t want to put money into it. I’ve read many posts about the costs of the camera, set pieces, special lighting — that is, if you want to do a good job. And while I love the artist photos people come up with, they don’t make me feel any closer to the book or the blogger.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Congratulations on six years! I love your observations!

      I think buddy reads can be a good idea. We’ve tried read-alongs in the past and people generally don’t read along. Perhaps they’re too busy? At least with a buddy read you KNOW you’re not going to be reading alone!

      We used to do author interviews, but they were very unpopular. Even for authors who might have some name recognition. I don’t know why that is. So there seemed to be no point in doing them. I think authors like the exposure, of course, but, if no one’s reading the post…are you getting exposure anyway?

      I also had some weird experiences. Like one author refused to answer any questions they had answered elsewhere. So the expectation was I’d read all other interviews given, which I tried to do for some reason. But then I think the author lost out because they didn’t have name recognition, but they were also refusing to answer basic questions about their work and their writing philosophy because they’d “already answered that.” Sure, but my readers who have never heard of you aren’t going to scour the Internet to learn who you are. This is your once chance to hook them and you decided you’d rather not? It was really, really weird. And experiences like that make me not want to bother.

      I don’t really get BookTube. I can read a lot faster than I can watch a video. And it sometimes feels like you need to have a certain aesthetic and persona to do it. I’m not a perky/quirky person, for instance, so I feel like I’d fail at Booktube.

      I also don’t really get Bookstagram. People take lovely photos, but I don’t read a book because I’ve seen a photo of it. I like book blogging to get recommendations, so Bookstagram doesn’t really fulfill that need for me.

      However, neither Briana nor I have a special camera and we use stuff from the dollar store for props. So you can do it on a budget, but I guess it won’t be quite as impressive as people who own enough books to make rainbows and so forth.

      As for ear buds–I have the same problem. Sometimes you can find packs where you can switch out the buds for several different sizes. I need to buy those and put in the smallest size. But earbuds just in a package never fit in my ears! I thought I was the only one. I didn’t understand how everyone was wearing these things.

      Like

      • Grab the Lapels says:

        BookTube definitely feels like a boon for conventionally attractive readers. I don’t like being appearance focused. If the point isn’t what you look like, why not use a microphone and then video your hands holding the book, showing passages — that sort of thing. Like a hand model.

        I decided I didn’t take Boostagram seriously when I learned about sock Sunday. Women wearing cute socks take pictures of their legs and post them to the internet. Erm………. gross. I mean, I’m not anti-legs, but I’ve been fighting against segmenting women into individual body parts at Grab the Lapels, so I can’t support it. Maybe do a full body shot with socks? Maybe do just your feet? Although I’m sure some people still find feet-in-socks sexual.

        Like

        • Krysta says:

          That’s a good point. It’s kind of like how movie stars are all gorgeous. I’m watching Lost now and keep thinking, “Wow, that plane just happened to be full of conventionally attractive people, huh?” It gets weird after awhile! I would totally go for hand model Booktubing, though! I also like that because I still like to maintain my privacy online (which I realize no one does anymore, but that concerns me, especially where minors are involved) and just showing hands could help with that.

          I have never heard of sock Sunday, but I don’t really get it. I’m not that into socks, I guess? And then you have to buy a bunch of expensive cute socks just to post them?

          I think maybe the people doing sock Sunday didn’t consider the implications of segmenting their bodies/perhaps attractive people with weird attractions to legs and feet? Sometimes I think people are thinking, “Ah! I love socks!” and that’s pretty much the rationale for the trend.

          Like

          • Grab the Lapels says:

            I get the feeling a lot of viewers didn’t like that movie The Favorite because it has lesbians, but one of them is not a sexy hot lesbian, and she’s the one everyone wants to be with. I looked at my library’s entry for the film to read library patron reviews, and they are all one star. Also, this is Indiana.

            Like

  7. Sammie @ The Writerly Way says:

    Happy eighth anniversary! *throws confetti* I haven’t been blogging for very long (a year and a half? Gosh, has it been that long now?), but I’ve noticed some of these in my time, too. Like the less reviews and more discussions thing. Which is good and bad, I guess. I have to say, there are some pretty fantastic discussions going on around the blogosphere, though, so I’m not complaining. But I do love reading book reviews, too. I’m noticing more authortubers and booktubers now, too. Definitely interesting to see how things change!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Congratulations on a year and a half!

      I kind of miss seeing more reviews! I like talking about books and getting recommendations. Discussion posts are great in their own way, but tend not to feature specific books.

      I find Booktube fascinating because, as a reader, I like to read things. Not watch videos. But I seem to be outnumbered in this based on the extreme popularity of Booktube. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sammie @ The Writerly Way says:

        I’m the same. I like having things playing in the background when I do things, so sometimes I’ll throw on an authortuber or something, but generally, I listen to scary stories or music, something I don’t mind tuning out if I have to. I tend to get annoyed with videos, because I can’t skim to the parts that I want and quickly pick out the points I’m interested in. xD Clearly, I’ve been spoiled.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. anhdara13 says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    This is such an interesting post. I’ve noticed some of this myself too in my three years of blogging, but I think my small circle of ‘blogger friends’ has blocked some of the toxicity on Twitter, so that’s been helpful.

    Like

  9. Jenna- JK I'm Exploring says:

    Happy eight years! I’m at a little over three years and I’ve definitely taken many hiatuses. Each time I come back something has changed drastically and it’s so weird because I’m like “did I just not notice this was happening before?” I’ve also noticed that while I primarily blog about books it’s my non-book related posts that get the most views. I have no clue why but I feel as though it has something to do with “follow for the person” that happens on booktube.
    I have all of the social medias, blog, booktube etc. but it becomes ridiculously overwhelming because if you don’t post for a couple days or post one wrong thing people unfollow so much faster than they do with blogs.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Congratulations on three years! I can imagine that returning after a hiatus would be really confusing! We’ve never officially taken one because there are two of us, though at one point or another basically only one of us was keeping the blog afloat. I don’t know what I’d do without my co-blogger to keep me in the loop and help with all the social media, etc.!

      Like

      • Jenna- JK I'm Exploring says:

        Social media is definitely the main time consuming part for me. Especially since the only way to gain a lot of followers are to post every day or multiple times a day because of the algorithms. Be glad you have a coblogger to do it!

        Like

  10. Carol says:

    I’ve been blogging almost two years. I love talking about and sharing great reads but I do find that I get more engagement on discussion posts. I’ll keep doing book reviews because that’s my first love. There is a niche of readers who still enjoy reviews and we promote each other!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah! I still love reviews! But I think discussions get more views because people feel they can jump in. Reviews tend to attract people who have already heard of the book in question.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Never Not Reading says:

    Honestly, when I started blogging I was SHOCKED how many book bloggers there still were because I thought blogging was dead and everyone had moved to YouTube. I’m glad that there are still people here doing this for me to talk to. 🙂 It does make me sad to see how people are moving away from reviews, though. I am also surprised that reviews don’t generate as many page views, because that is *mostly* what I read. *shrugs*

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      It does seem like people are constantly starting book blogs! To me, it makes sense. I like to read. I would like to read more about books, not watch videos about books.

      Sometimes I think it would be interesting if books were advertised on TV, though, (aside from the latest James Patterson) or if there were a book channel. I think people might actually watch, since they’re watching BookTube.

      I think reviews are tough because people like reading reviews about books they’ve heard of/are already sort of interested in?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Never Not Reading says:

        I agree, I am a lot more likely to read a review of a book I’ve heard of or have already read, which is kind of nonsensical because the whole point of reading reviews is to find NEW books to read… But honestly, I prefer the reviews of books I’m familiar with because I will be more likely to be able to engage with the review and comment and discuss with the reviewer.

        Like

  12. Genesis @ Whispering Chapters says:

    I was one of those that started blogging in 2014 and between 2017 to 2019 I took a break from book blogging and now I am back but with a whole new blog because I wanted to start fresh. It’s sad to see other bloggers leaving and not coming back. There’s so many I miss!
    I agree on how before it was just blogging on your blog platform and that was that. Now, I’m on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, trying to handle Facebook. It’s like you’re your own one-woman marketing team. It can get super exhausting!
    The discussion posts definitely generate more views. Something I’ve realized is that they do get more views when it comes to any type of discussion (books or else) but also when you write a personal post, meaning about your life, that also gets so much more views because there are people that can relate to or identify to whatever it was that you shared.
    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      I know! Many of my favorite bloggers just…disappeared. 😦 I guess life caught up with them.

      And, yes! It’s sooo much! I feel like I can’t keep on top of everything and I have a co-blogger. I don’t know what I’d do by myself. How does everyone else do it? Everyone else is so amazing.

      Like

  13. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan says:

    A lot of the old blogger have left and many more new ones are in. I enjoyed making new friends along the way. Great post!

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I think our regular readers understand that, although we blog about many types of books, we do focus a lot on YA and, thus, that I am coming from a place where my experience involves the YA blogosphere. It’s just a fun post with some of my personal observations. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Karen (@teamsheltie) says:

    This will be year 10 for me, and honestly, I’m happy those How to Blog posts have gone away. I think they made a lot of bloggers feel inadequate and that they shouldn’t be blogging if they couldn’t keep up in a certain way.

    The how to posts nowadays seem to be more helpful in nature than THIS IS HOW YOU MUST DO THINGS.

    Guest posts, cover reveals, book blasts all seem to have gone away as well. Even blog tours are minimal. They didn’t seem to generate much traffic so I’m sure that’s why. And it got boring seeing the same post on 100’s of blogs.

    On a positive note though – I think there’s way less envy over book hauls and the like. The remaining bloggers are supportive of each other. At least from what I’ve seen.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    Liked by 1 person

  15. lesserknowngems says:

    Congratulations and celebrations. I’ve been on and off for a while now. I don’t have any data on this, but it feels as if the book community has become more fragmented, for better and worse. There isn’t really one community anymore, but more a series of sub-groups. This is good since people can talk about the books they enjoy, but it can be more difficult to find the “your” sub-group. Do you agree on this observation?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I definitely ask once in a while who the “big” book bloggers are and…basically no one knows. In 2012, I probably could have named at least five, and I think basically everyone would have agreed with me. I think there were probably always sub-groups (I’m always amused to stumbled across someone who has been blogging for eight years as well whom I’ve never heard of before!), but I’m not sure there are any really big bloggers tying the groups together.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: a slow start | news from the reading room – |reading backwards|

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