No, Book Blogging Is Not Dying: Here’s Why

Krysta and I have been blogging here at Pages Unbound since May 2012, and for probably at least the past eight years, people have been sounding the alarm that “blogging is dying.”

Concern rose with the introduction of Bookstagram and Booktube, as those platforms tend to attract much larger audiences than blogs, and worries have reached a fevered pitch with the rise of BookTok within the past year or so.

Publishers have noticeably decreased support/their interest in book bloggers, as they have moved to sending ARCs to book influencers on literally every other platform besides blogs, and many publishers no longer even mention book bloggers among the bookish influencers they appreciate — or are interested in working with. One publisher has a form that influencers can fill out to request ARCs, and selecting that you are a blogger is literally not an option.

However, I believe that there is far too much conflation of the idea that publishers are working with bloggers less with the idea that people are reading blogs less. My personal experience is that there are still many people writing blogs, and there are many people reading blogs. The audience for blogs is not going away, whether or not publishers send bloggers ARCs.

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Traffic at Pages Unbound

My personal experience here at Pages Unbound is that our blog traffic has increased nearly every year (ignoring 2019), and it’s noticeably higher in more recent years than in 2012-2016.

(See bar chart of annual page views below.)

Caveats

There are some caveats here, of course. For instance, the increase in my personal blog traffic could be attributed in part to things like my becoming better at SEO, getting better at using Pinterest, commenting more on other book blogs, etc. That is to say, it’s possible I could have had better traffic in, say, 2014 if I’d done some things differently, so the fact my traffic was kind of mediocre then doesn’t mean every blogger’s was.

Because, of course, my blog traffic is not necessarily representative of all blogs. There were likely blogs in 2012-2015 that had significantly higher traffic than we did at Pages Unbound. And, unfortunately, I don’t know exactly what that traffic looked like. My observation is that bloggers were a bit more secretive years ago about their traffic, and it would not have been normal for a big blogger (or really any blogger) to publicly announce how many page views they were averaging.

So did a “big” book blog in 2014 have 5 billion page views a year, while a “big” one now has maybe 300,000? Have the “average” page views blogs get decreased over time, even while my own page views have gone up? I can’t be 100% certain, but I still think it’s significant that my own traffic has been increasing year by year, while other people keep claiming blogging is “dying.”

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Our Book Blogger Stats Survey Results

Another metric we can look at is the results from the book blogger stats survey I’ve run every two years since 2016. There are the caveats here that this is a totally unofficial, unscientific survey, and the sample size of respondents is relatively small compared to how many book bloggers actually exist. However, the surveys can still help give a sense of what the “average” book blogger is getting in terms of traffic. (Read the 2020 survey results by clicking here.)

Below, I have inserted the graphs showing how many page views bloggers say they average per day, from each of the three surveys I ran.

You can see there is some slight variation. In 2026, a greater percentage of book bloggers put themselves in the 51-75 views per day category than in 2020, for instance. However, the general trend is that between 2016 and 2020, the vast majority of book bloggers were getting between 0 and 75 views per day, and there hasn’t been a lot of change in that respect. (For instance, it isn’t as if bloggers in 2016 were all getting 300 views per day, and that dropped precipitously in recent years.)

2016 Results

2018 Results

page views daily chart

2020 Results

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Edited to Add: I Really Mean People Follow Blogs Themselves

After seeing several comments suggesting that the success of blogs is contingent on keeping up with social media trends on the side, like joining Twitter, Bookstagram, or Booktok to cross-promote your blog and get blog traffic, I want to point out that that is not necessary. When I say blogging is not dying because people are reading and following blogs, I literally mean there is an audience for the blogs themselves.

The vast majority of our traffic at Pages Unbound comes from search engines (whether Google, Google-alternatives, or Pinterest), followed by people actually following the blog through WordPress or alternatives like Bloglovin’. We have a Bookstagram account but get practically zero traffic from it. We get some traffic from Twitter, but it is relatively little compared to other sources — and much of it is from OTHER people tweeting our links and not from our own Twitter account.

It is completely possible to blog and only blog and have a pretty large audience. πŸ™‚

Here is the source of our traffic for 2022 so far:

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Conclusion

My personal observations is that people are reading book blogs, and that hasn’t changed in the 11 years I have been blogging. People are also writing blogs, and while of course there’s turnover and old bloggers stop, there is also a continuous stream of new bloggers joining the community; I see people nearly every week on Twitter excitedly announcing that they have finally started their own book blog.

Publishers might not be sending book bloggers as many ARCs as they did in the past or running as many blog tours or nominating book bloggers as exceptional and noteworthy influencers — but that’s actually a completely separate question from whether blogs have readers. They do.

Publishers are focusing on other platforms because a Bookstagram photo can easily get 2,000 likes, while a “big” blog post might get 100 likes, or a TikTok can get 10,000 views in two days while a blog post gets 150. Publishing is a business, and I get why publishers are focusing their marketing budgets in places they think they’ll get more bang for their buck.

But blogs aren’t really losing readers; the other platforms are just gaining them. So, no, blogging is not dying. It has not been dying. And I do not expect it to die any time soon. Or, frankly, ever.

Briana

32 thoughts on “No, Book Blogging Is Not Dying: Here’s Why

  1. Books Teacup and Reviews says:

    As I’m active on Instagram, I saw not just one but many publishers putting up forms for social media influencers. I have also seen some are just for US or UK. I have been lucky working with some publishers getting e-ARC widgets on regular basis and some even has appreciated my blog and reviews so I’m happy to say, for me, my blog has worked well. People are reading more blog posts, even more than last year for me and it shows in stats, even though I’m not posting every day like I did in 2020 which has the highest views so far.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I love your blog, so I’m really happy to hear some publishers have been able to work with you! I do know it’s harder outside of the US/UK because the publishers don’t always have the legal rights to send ARCs to other countries.

      We’re also posting less this year than we did the past two years because we haven’t had as much time, and I haven’t noticed a huge dip in stats either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Books Teacup and Reviews says:

        Thank you! That means a lot.πŸ€—β€οΈ Yes, I get they can’t send all physical ARCs but for some books they have rights and yet most of them send NetGalley widgets. It’s fine as I don’t have to spend much for books unless I really want to. And even ebooks are costly these days.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rosie Amber says:

    I like all you statistics. Book blogging, for me, needs to keep evolving. I work mainly with indie authors or ones from small publishers where they don’t have marketing budgets. A few years ago I was posting two posts a day, seven days a week. But now I only post one book review post, five days a week. I couldn’t do this alone, I am lucky to have a team of book reviewers that work with me. It helps to create content when reading slumps or life gets in the way. Good post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes, I think frequent posting is pretty important for getting higher traffic, so we’ve had the same benefit here in that there are two of us, so we can post more often. I always maintain there’s no “wrong” way to blog, but I often see people who post twice a month lamenting they don’t have any followers, and unfortunately one of the more obvious changes one could make to get more traffic is to post probably three times a week at least.

      Like

  3. FlyIntoBooks - Book Reviews says:

    Interesting post!!
    I feel like trends have changed and yes social media has changed. Nowadays tiktok seemed to be the way to go.
    But still people look at websites and book blogs to get an idea of books. The search profile of key words change over time and today Pachinko may be exploding now because of a new drama being released, whereas 1984 might be decreasing because Trump is out of office now.

    Like

  4. readingwithwrin says:

    Social media has changed things but blogs are still important. And a lot of people blog on multiple places now and not just blogs and do more than one. Personally I have a bookstagram and a blog. I enjoy both, and always link to the other one the account. It’s all about cross advertising and SEO now.

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I have other social media, but personally my blog traffic is related pretty directly to the blog, from blog followers or search engines. I don’t tend to get much cross traffic, so I don’t really get people from Bookstagram actually visiting my blog, for instance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • readingwithwrin says:

        The way I’ve been getting traffic from Instagram is only posting half my review and the rest they have to view on my blog. Doesn’t work all the time, but it does work somewhat. The most I have for cross posting is from Pinterest or Facebook.

        Like

  5. Krysta says:

    I think the argument that “book blogging is dying” puts far too much weight on what publishers seem to think of bloggers and whether they are willing to send ARCs. But the value of book blogging is not reliant on publisher opinion. It’s a space for readers to connect and, while it would be courteous for publishers to recognize and value all the free marketing done by bloggers, it’s not required for blogging to thrive.

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yeah, I started thinking about why people keep claiming book blogging is dying when it doesn’t seem to be dying AT ALL, and the only evidence people seem to consistently offer is that publishers won’t send us ARC. But that’s just a different question from whether people are actually reading blogs.

      Like

      • Krysta says:

        For what it’s worth, a librarian once told me that years ago, librarians were not welcomed at book conventions because libraries weren’t seen as valuable markets by publishers. If the metric of, “who publishers want to send ARCs to” is going to be the way we measure value, it would potentially exclude many parts of the book community. But it wouldn’t actually make those parts less important. After all, how many readers would say that libraries don’t matter just because publishers (maybe, sometimes) don’t like them?

        Like

  6. Janette says:

    I really hope that book blogging isn’t dying as I much prefer to read blogs than instagram posts and I don’t have or intend to get Tik Tok. Blog posts have a much longer shelf life than other forms of social media. I am still getting likes and comments on posts that I wrote as a teacher in 2013 and 2014 and that certainly doesn’t happen with instagram. It’s a shame that publishers don’t value blogs as they used to but I certainly think that blogs will continue despite that

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I prefer blogs, as well, as I think there’s more room to get more in-depth discussing and recommending books. And I believe publishers and authors are really overlooking the value that blog posts can offer in terms of visibility years after publication. Sure, the post probably won’t go viral, but it’s fun to think people will still be reading a blog post about your blog 4 years from now when your publisher has stopped marketing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Gary S says:

    Thank you for being open enough to share this data. People really underrate the power of some good SEO. I’m always keeping up to date on new SEO trends and tweaks. If you can get the search engines, you can find your core audience. Consistency also helps. I think I need to get better at the consistency part.

    Like

  8. lissa says:

    I’m not a book blogger so I don’t know about publishers but I do think they always go where the trend is to get more audience, I guess.

    Blogging is not dying, not to me. I think it’s more a stable format that people will go to because unlike social media, blogs don’t have to rush in and post whatever is trendy, rather, what interest the blogger.

    Have a lovely day.

    Like

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