Do Book Bloggers Still Hype Books?

Do Book Bloggers Still Hype Books

Ever since early 2020, when the covid-19 pandemic started to shut society down, there seems to have been a shift in publishing and in book blogging. In past years, publishers used to hype up certain books of the year, and bloggers would join in, rounding up anticipated reads, posting ARC reviews, or trying to post a review the day of (or shortly after) publication, if they could not get an ARC. Sometimes my feed would have five reviews of the same book, from five different bloggers. Those days seem to be gone.

During 2020 in particular, it almost seemed as if book marketing had stopped, on the publisher end. I had difficulty naming any big releases last year, and I saw almost no one talking about anticipated reads. The world went inside, and enthusiasm for hot titles waned as people grappled with trying to work or school from home, manage childcare, navigate health crises, and mourn loved ones. Perhaps it helped that publishers didn’t even seem to be publishing certain books. Release dates were pushed back and it wasn’t even clear anymore when certain books would actually be available.

Now, in 2021, I can at least name some titles that are supposed to be “big” this year. It helps that certain popular authors had new books come out. Even so, however, my feed is still empty of hyped releases. Anticipated book lists are sporadic and I no longer see five reviews for the same book at the same time. In fact, there were several notable releases of the past year, such as Maggie Stiefvater’s Mister Impossible, for which I somehow did not notice any reviews in my feed.

I do not know if it is just me, but it seems like book blogging has changed a lot over the past year and a half or so. I no longer see several bloggers all blogging about the same books, and I can no longer point to any one title that is currently “hot” in the book blogosphere. Because I no longer seem the same book pop up in my feed all the time, I have started to rely more on other sources for book recommendations. It is yet to be seen whether this is a new trend, or just an aberration.

Have you noticed the same trend? Do you still see the same books being reviewed? Have you started to read other books, instead of the ones being hyped?

62 thoughts on “Do Book Bloggers Still Hype Books?

  1. Diana @ Thoughts on Papyrus says:

    The hyping has definitely slowed down, especially in comparison to 2018 and 2019 when I started blogging about books. Sometimes I do see the same books being reviewed, but no more than 2 or 3 posts of such nature every two weeks or so and these tend to be blog tours too where bloggers can’t help but talk about the same books.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. TheFantasticalWorldOfReading says:

    I wasn’t really here before 2020, so I’m not the right person to answer this. I try to follow people who have kind of similar reading taste like me to get some recommendations and with that I do see multiple reviews off the same book around the release and there are still quite a few people who are doing monthly or weekly anticipated posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      That’s interesting! Maybe I’m just following people who have stopped posting as much. When I have more time, I would like to start following more blogs, though!

      Like

    • Krysta says:

      That’s true. I know all the stories about the success of BookTok really depressed some bloggers because they felt publishers hadn’t been honest when they said there “was no money” to pay them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Samantha @WLABB says:

    I guess that depends on the circles you run in. I am NOT seeing that so much for YA books, but I am for romances. I think publicists contacted me more, sent me more widgets than ever last year and this year. But YA? I am not seeing much. Not many tours or even posts on IG.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I’ve noticed a decrease in posts about YA books recently, too. I’m just not sure why! I don’t read much romance, though, so it’s interesting that some publishers are apparently trying to pivot during this time and find more ways to market.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Krysta says:

      I’m not sure. I still follow a bunch of book bloggers and I see new bloggers join all the time. I just don’t see them posting as much as they used to. Maybe they are spread out on various platforms?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kim @ Traveling in Books says:

    I see all sorts of reviews and ARC reviews on the blogs I follow, but not many big name titles. Those are all on the BookTube channels I watch. Butit seems like most of the SFF channels these days are devoted to reading blacklist books by the same handful of (white male) authors. I can only think of a few channels that talk about upcoming or new releases regularly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Krysta says:

      That’s really interesting! Maybe bloggers aren’t receiving ARCs for big releases anymore? Maybe, as Briana suggested, publishers are giving those away to BookTok and other platforms that they think have a bigger marketing impact? Though it seems to me that lists of books big on BookTok are also a lot of backlist titles by white authors, so who knows.

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      • Kim @ Traveling in Books says:

        I’ve heard that most BookTokkers are taking about backlist books. I have no idea myself, since I am not on TikTok. But it seems to me that BookTube and Bookstagrammers have been getting the physical copies, since they are visual mediums. For example, there are a few Bookstagrammers I have seen with fewer followers than I have, but I think they will get physical ARCs from Tor. I’ve never been able to get even a digital ARC from them, even with more blog followers. Perhaps they think we’re too far behind the times? I don’t know. I am getting less interested in ARCs as time goes by (been burned too many times, I think), so I care less about them.

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        • Krysta says:

          BookTok doesn’t appeal to me since it seems to be really short clips that give you an “aesthetic” and don’t really tell you anything about the book itself. I do see lists from bloggers and B&N and such that talk about “as seen on BookTok” however and it’s stuff like The Song of Achilles, Sarah J. Maas, They Both Die at the End. I do love backlist books and it’s great some titles are getting new love, but it’s not like BookTok is at the forefront of the market.

          I don’t really know how publishers choose how to give away ARCs, but sometimes it really seems like they are picking names out of a hat. I can’t really get an ARC approvals and our blog actually has some of the highest stats I’ve seen since most of the big bloggers stopped blogging. Meanwhile, as you said, smaller bloggers DO get ARCs. But I’d rather read on my own schedule, anyway, so I’m not too concerned about ARCs.

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          • Kim @ Traveling in Books says:

            Yeah, I’m not interested in the short-format videos of TikTok in general. Long form stuff is what I look for. Last night, for example, I put on a 1.5 hour reading vlog and just let it play while I was doing stuff.

            It almost feels like none of the BookTube/BookTok stuff is at the forefront of the market. At least not from what I’m watching. Most of the fantasy vloggers are reading backlist stuff by (predominantly white male) SFF authors, and only a couple of vloggers I watch actively talk about new releases. Most of the ARCs I see are on Bookstagram.

            I have no clue how publishers choose ARC recipients, either. There are publishers who will approve me for just about anything, but will randomly decline my requests for no reason. No idea why. Maybe they roll dice or something.

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            • Krysta says:

              I feel like an old, grumpy person, but I don’t particularly see the value in a 10s video that doesn’t tell me anything. Part of me is going, “Is this what the internet is now?? We can’t even tell people a book summary because our attention spans have diminished that much??” I don’t want to be screaming that the sky is falling, however, so I guess I’ll just sit back and watch what happens.

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  5. danielle pitter says:

    I’ve seen some anticipated reads on Instagram Reels and videos, rather than on the blogs. I still follow a lot of book blogs, but mostly when they do a personal review. It even takes me awhile to get into the new stuff because I’m so backlisted from stuff from 2018-2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      That’s an interesting thought. Maybe people are saving big releases and such for platforms that they think will get more views? I don’t mind backlist titles–I am still catching up, too!–but it seems odd to me to see a sudden shift when bloggers used to be very concerned about keeping up with the market.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Ari Augustine says:

    I think the hyping of books from bloggers got lost in the madness of 2020, especially on Twitter, which is understandable given everything that happened. I didn’t personally observe a decrease in publishers reaching out, however. If anything, I had *more* arc offers in 2020 than I did in previous years. BUT I am on several lists, so it’s hard to say if I just noticed the emails more or if there were, indeed, more emails LOL Most of them were major adult titles, very few of them were YA. It’s also my understanding after speaking with fellow editors, agents, and publishers that sales were remarkably high last year. Like, record high. So perhaps the usual marketing effort wasn’t needed? On our blog, we do a mix of new releases and backlist books, and we try not to hype up what everyone else has already hyped. So sometimes we don’t post on new releases for that reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      That’s a good point I’d forgotten about! Book sales did go up during the pandemic, so maybe publishers didn’t want to spend more on marketing. I think a lot of new releases were held back, too, so maybe there was less to market.

      Yeah, I didn’t think having everyone review the same book was particularly helpful. If I review a book everyone else reviewed in the past three days, no one’s really going to be interested in my review, are they? It’s just surreal to see bloggers back off from hyped releases when blogging used to be very concerned with keeping up with the market.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amber says:

    I see a lot less hype! But I feel like that’s less because there is less hype and more because I spend less time on Twitter? I also think a lot of influential book bloggers faded away over the last couple years. :/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ari Augustine says:

      Not to mention the Twitter algorithm is on the fritz at the moment, so I wonder how that’s impacting how often we see promotional posts from publishers.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Ari Augustine says:

          It’s bizarre, but people are starting to notice that Twitter hasn’t been showing content of followings anymore. For example, I often see tweets by people I don’t even know because a follower of mine (or someone I am following) has followed, liked, or RT’d it, but I rarely see tweets that follower has made. For whatever reason, the algorithm is clogging up the feed with everything, which makes it insanely difficult to see relevant tweets. I wonder if this is contributing to the issue in some way, especially since it seems to be impacting events like Pitchwars.

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  8. Raji (@journeyintofantasy) says:

    Interesting post! Personally, my blogging style hasn’t changed much over the pandemic, but I agree with you that books are not being hyped as much as before, particularly when it comes to YA. It’s definitely annoying that release dates of so many books have been pushed back by months to the extent that some no longer even have a release date.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I can’t even figure out WHEN some books are supposed to be out. Or if they are out and I just didn’t notice. The dates on GR and store sites and such aren’t even accurate.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mary Drover says:

    I’ve definitely noticed this trend, and I’m honestly really enjoying it. I’m sure I’ll change my tune once my TBR has whittled down a bit more, but I’ve been struggling under a more than usual amount of books on my owned TBR, and it’s nice not to have the constant barrage of hyped books trying to tempt me away from it. And truthfully? Hyped books are usually hit or miss, so it’s also nice to be reading books that I know I’m going to like. What I’m reading now is not because I’ve seen it all over my Instagram feed, but because I picked it out knowing that I was almost guaranteed to love it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Krysta says:

      I can see your point! I’m often unimpressed with hyped books, so I do tend to prefer to read books that I really want to read–not books everyone else thinks I should!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I’ve been wondering if it will come back mainly because most of the bloggers I follow seem to have stopped posting in general. I was never part of the, “Book blogs are dying crowd!” but it is kind of concerning for me to see a nearly empty feed every day.

      Like

  10. Marie says:

    This is such an interesting topic, I love it and it really made me think. I agree with you, I feel like we’re not getting as much hyped books as we used to, before. Maybe it’s because the blogging world has changed, ARCs aren’t as distributed to book bloggers as before, instead going over to bookstagrammers or even on Tiktok, so… maybe there’s a bit more hype being created there? I’m not sure. I also feel like the book blogging community isn’t as “alive” as it used to be a couple of years ago, so many people choosing these new media to stay on, instead of book blogs. Maybe that’s why we feel like we don’t see much hype anymore, I wonder?
    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Krysta says:

      I’ve noticed a less vibrant blogging community, as well. A lot of the bloggers I used to follow have stopped posting and it seems harder to find new blogs to follow. I’m not sure if it was the rise of BookTok and other platforms, but it does seem like many bloggers were really disillusioned by realizing that publishers COULD work with them–but were never going to.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Katie | Doing Dewey ❤️ (@DoingDewey) says:

    I think a lot of the bloggers I follow have been at it for long enough that they’d stopped chasing the hype books and started reading more backlist titles well before 2020. I’ve only seen a few hyped books everyone is reading (Patricia Lockwood’s new book and Piranesi come to mind), but that feels normal to me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      This is a really heartwarming explanation! I love reading backlist, too, and it is nice to be able to settle back with a book you really think you’re going to enjoy, instead of reading something because you think everyone else is.

      Like

  12. aimal @ the devils we find says:

    Interesting post! I actually stopped blogging altogether for the past year and a half and just got back into the swing of things, so I can’t say how things have changed during the pandemic. But I have noticed that as publishing switches gears to marketing on visual-based media, such as Instagram and TikTok, it does feel like bloggers have been left behind. Perhaps because publishers are simply not focusing their marketing on bloggers, there don’t seem to be books that are getting more “buzz” than others?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      That could be! Perhaps it’s harder for all the same books to get hyped if bloggers aren’t receiving ARCs anymore. It will be interesting to see if this is a trend that continues.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. NottsReader says:

    i think the reason for lack of books at the moment is due to the shortage of paper around. due to most of the world just coming out of covid.
    As for Arcs I think there still available at the moment, but with the less books being published, affects the number of ARCS avaialable but as some one who reads ebooks there seems still plenty around.
    I also can not think of many major writers that have books coming out at the moment.

    Like

    • Krysta says:

      Yes, I have seen books pushing back publication dates because of the paper shortages. Though some popular books like Mister Impossible did come out this past year–and I’m surprised I didn’t see a single review! It was so weird!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. erinshelby says:

    I never was one to do book review posts “on release day”… but I am doing more book giveaways now than I ever did before! In fact, I’m not sure that I ever did any before 2020!

    Like

  15. thegirlwhoreadsforyou says:

    I feel like there has been a switch from blogs to Instagram though. I haven’t been a blogger in the past, so I may not be the best person to make this comment, but bookstagram is really active when it comes to hyping up books before a release, or the day off, especially when you’re part doing it as part of a blog tour, or when you have an arc. I do think that this is now done for indie authors more, and the big publishers just stick to more conventional paths.

    Like

  16. Leon R.M. Auguste says:

    Got to admit Krysta, it’s certainly an interesting time for book marketing, post-2020. I would have thought it would have been the opposite too, where bloggers (and blogging in general) would have been consistent (especially since we all moved indoors and life became more condensed and hopefully a bit easier). Perhaps after 2022 or 2023, things will get back to normal in the book blogger sphere? It’s hard to tell though, too early 🤷🏻.

    Like

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