Do Bloggers Owe Their Readers? And Vice Versa? (Let’s Talk Bookish)

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

The Prompt:  Do bloggers owe their readers anything? Do bloggers deserve anything from their readers? Do you think there’s a specific etiquette that bloggers/readers should follow when interacting? Do you as a blogger pressure yourself to provide certain things to your readers? Do you do certain things when you read a blog post?

smaller star divider

This is an interesting question, but because book bloggers are almost 100% unpaid, I think the answer is short: bloggers and their readers owe each other nothing besides common courtesy. And because the book blogosphere is so good at this, I don’t feel it’s necessary to elaborate much on the topic either. In over 10 years of blogging at Pages Unbound, Krysta and I have very rarely received a rude comment; when we have, those comments were frequently from people who are not book bloggers but rather people who found our site from outside sources like search engines or Pinterest. In the book blogosphere as a whole, readers usually leave polite comments, even when disagreeing, and bloggers usually leave polite responses. I think that’s the most anyone of us “owe” anyone here.

If a book blogger managed to successfully monetize their blog (I haven’t seen this yet, in spite of seeing some attempts), I’d say they owed their readers more. If readers were paying to read certain posts or subscribe to the blog in some way, I’d say the blogger owed those readers quality content and whatever content they might have promised, whether they said they were going to publish two discussion posts a week or list all the middle grade books coming out in the summer or whatever.

But because blogs are free? There’s no kind of contract here. Sure, a blogger should strive to write interesting and comprehensible content — but they don’t have to. If readers don’t like the content on a blog or think it’s absolute gibberish they can just . . . not read that blog. There’s nothing stopping them from exiting the site and never visiting again.

And while I try to support book bloggers in general by reading their content, commenting, and liking their posts, I don’t actually owe that to them as a reader, and I understand no one owes that to me Book blogging is largely the realm of hobbyists, and when there’s no money exchanging hands, everything is just very casual.

Briana

14 thoughts on “Do Bloggers Owe Their Readers? And Vice Versa? (Let’s Talk Bookish)

  1. Georgiana says:

    Love this topic, and I agree that in the case of non-paid services, politeness is the only thing we owe each other.
    I remember how, when I started blogging, I took so seriously the idea that I need to deliver something weekly to my audience … but it was only a self-imposed need, after some time I realized that maybe nobody notices when I post more rarely 🙂 And if they notice, there’s no problem, as I do not owe anything to anyone in terms of regular posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      When I first started blogging and only followed about 10 bloggers, that was probably the only time I had any conception of, “This blogger usually posts on Tuesday and Friday,” and would look forward to the posts. Now I follow hundreds of blogs, and I definitely have no idea what schedule any of them are “supposed” to be on!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rosie Amber says:

    Totally agree that all sides need to remain polite, it makes it all a pleasant experience and people will feel comfortable leaving a comment. We all love comments on our blogs and it is even better when the blogger can reply if the comment needs one.

    Like

  3. Books Teacup and Reviews says:

    I also think we don’t awe anyone for running blog for free and it’s something everyone here knows without putting it in words. Yes paid subscribers would like good quality content but otherwise there is no obligation to do or expect something from bloggers or readers except being polite.

    Like

  4. Jenna @ Falling Letters says:

    No surprise that I agree with you here. Though sometimes I need to remind myself of that! IE when I am writing a review and debating how ‘useful’ I should make it to readers who haven’t read the book, versus just using the review to document my thoughts and reactions… I have to remind myself to write for whatever reasons I want, and other bloggers can take it or leave it.

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      That’s a really good point about “usefulness!” I think I fall into that that, too, thinking about whether I should give certain types of information, how much I should explain, etc. And then sometimes I wonder if people even “use” reviews like that; I often read reviews AFTER I’ve already read a book, so in that sense, the review isn’t helping me decide whether to read it.

      Like

      • Jenna @ Falling Letters says:

        This is true as well! Personally, I do read a lot of reviews for books I haven’t read yet, but are already on my radar for one reason or another and a review doesn’t often sway whether I’ll pick it up. But even then, what I’m looking often looking for is how a person reacted to the story or how it made them feel, not necessarily a practical/’objective’ description of the book.

        Like

        • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

          I also sometimes wonder if trying too hard to be useful makes me sound insincere. For example, if I disliked a book and that’s clear, and then at the end there’s some sort of recommendation about who would like it. Does that come across as, “And people with bad taste would like it”? :p

          Like

          • Jenna @ Falling Letters says:

            Ahaha, I have never thought about it like that… I suppose it depends why you disliked it. For me, it’s rare that I dislike a book because I truly believe it’s objectively bad (those I can usually avoid or DNF early on).

            Like

  5. whatcathyreadnext says:

    I suspect the majority of people who read our blog posts are other bloggers so mostly what we “owe” is mutual support. I would say there are things that are no-nos such as spoilers or not warning of spoilers. I guess our other main readers are the authors of the books we review but what, if anything, we owe to them is a whole different topic I suspect.

    Like

Leave a Reply! We'd love to read your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.