Are Wild Adaptations of Your Work a Sign You’ve “Made It” As an Author?

I meant to write this post back in Summer 2022, when Netflix was teasing their adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion to very mixed results. People felt the dialogue was too modern, too far away from Austen’s vision. The whole thing must be a travesty. I haven’t watched the movie even though it’s been out a while (I don’t subscribe to Netflix), so I have no idea if it’s terrible or not. But the ordeal got me thinking. Wild and far-fetched adaptations of many books and plays exist, and while the adaptations themselves may or may not be good, the fact that creators feel free to deviate strongly from the source text is often a good sign that shows the text is popular and entrenched in public consciousness.

The most obvious example of this is Shakespeare. His more popular plays, like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, The Tempest, etc. have been adapted numerous times, and it seems no change is off-limits. Adaptations can change the setting, the time period, the characters’ genders, even the end of the story. No one would be surprised to see their local theater put on an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that takes place on Mars and features all the characters as aliens. And while some people might be annoyed by this interpretation, a lot of other people would be excited to go see it!

These wild changes are possible because Shakespeare is well-known and well-loved, and a number of interpretations of his work already exist. In an ideal world, when creators make changes to Shakespeare (or any other text they are adapting), they are making those changes thoughtfully and trying to send a message about something on comment on a theme present in the original text. However, there are so many versions of Shakespeare’s plays that it wouldn’t be unimaginable that sometimes ~interesting~ adaptations are made simply because the adapters are trying to think of what they can do differently to make people show up. When people have seen 10 versions of Romeo and Juliet, and probably have a favorite, how can you make them watch yours?

The freedom to change things about a source text does not exist for most authors who are not as established as Shakespeare and Austen. Books can be incredibly popular and well-known even by people who haven’t read them (Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, for example), but fans still expect any film adaptations to be faithful to the book. The adaptation will be judged as successful or not, by many people, based primarily on how closely it mirrors the book. And this makes a lot of sense when there is only one adaptation. Creators can make changes, but audiences are likely to hate them (think the Ella Enchanted movie.)

So whether Netflix’s Persuasion is good or bad, it’s still a compliment to Austen that creators feel free to play with her characters and her texts. If I were an author, I admit I would probably be annoyed if people made wild changes to my work, but in the end, I’d have to see it for what it was: a sign that I was hugely successful.

What do you think?


Have Book Bloggers Been “Deinfluencers” All Along?

I recently have discovered the term “deinfluencing” thanks to a Buzzfeed article. According to Amanda Hetler on,

“Deinfluencing is the newest Instagram, TikTok and YouTube trend where influencers tell their followers why they should not buy a product. This trend started with the beauty and lifestyle categories but has since moved to other areas and popular products. Influencers discuss products they think are overhyped, and they may provide alternatives to their followers.”

Apparently there is now a trend because influencers feel they have been too much associated with recommending people buy products (especially pricey ones?), and it makes them look honest or relatable to talk about products that aren’t great or are fine but not worth their high price tag.

This is very funny to me because . . . isn’t this what book bloggers (and bookish influencers on other platforms) have been doing all along? Although some creators do choose to focus their platforms only on uplifting the books they actually enjoyed and would recommend to others, negative reviews are a staple of the bookish community. We have always been telling each other when we didn’t like a book and/or thought other people might not like it either (with the caveat that opinions vary on books).

And as for the expense of books, the bookish community also has a very long tradition of championing libraries and the free access to books, movies, and other materials they provide (to those people who have a public library, obviously). While criticisms arise from time to time about consumerism in the community, particularly on visual platforms like Instagram, there has always been a recognition that not everyone can afford to buy dozens of the newest books or to shell out for special editions, and bloggers are generous in sharing resources they know about for accessing books, whether it’s free e-books, access to ARCs, or something else.

So while the rest of social media is apparently applauding themselves for talking about products they don’t like or think are overhyped, perhaps the bookish community can congratulate ourselves for having been ahead of the trend. Maybe we can claim we started it!


Censorship in the U.S. Has a New Look. It’s Highly Organized (Often by Lawmakers) and Both School and Public Libraries Are Being Targeted.

We need to talk about censorship. It is a topic that comes up frequently in the book blogosphere and we have covered it over the years here at Pages Unbound. But, for many years, censorship was seen as an isolated–if dangerous–problem. The typical book challenge might involve, for instance, a single parent at a single school demanding that a book be removed from the school library or the school curriculum. Many of these cases might not even make the news. (The ALA believes 82-97% of book challenges go unreported.) If these cases did receive media coverage, people would often express outrage, but then suggest that students rebel by going to the public library to read the book instead. Times have changed.

Book challenges and book bans are no longer isolated cases. They have risen dramatically in recent years, and they are often organized by groups dedicated to creating lists of books to be removed not only from school libraries, but also from public libraries. Cases are now so common, you can read frequent round-ups of book censorship news on sites like Book Riot and Publishers Weekly, which cover everything from proposed bills to ban books across various state to bills that could criminalize the loaning of certain materials to bills that could pull funding from libraries deemed to be providing access to “inappropriate” books. Readers can no longer rely on just going somewhere else to find and read a book, if the book could be pulled from the entire state, or if librarians fear facing criminal charges for lending books.

Often these books bans come under the guise of “protecting children” and proposed legislation might suggest that the bans are just enforcing reasonable guidelines about what is “appropriate.” The trouble is that these proposed guidelines are often being proposed by individuals with no background in child development or literacy, and they are oftentimes overly vague. And they are usually focused specifically on removing books that focus on racism, LGBTQ+ characters or themes, and social justice issues. It is worth looking into where you live and what sorts of legislation is being proposed. Are books being removed from the library? Moved to different sections? Are the guidelines so vague that everything from nonfiction books about puberty to adult fiction romances could conceivably be considered illegal to have in a public library? And is it really necessary for outside organizations or lawmakers to propose new guidelines for “appropriate” reads over the expertise of educations, librarians, and publishing professionals? Guidelines that could remove access to books from everyone, instead of allowing individuals to make their own informed choices about what to read?

The potential for these organized attempts to remove potentially hundreds of books from both school and public libraries is very real and should not be understated. If you can, consider researching any book challenges or bans happening near you. And then speak up! Write to your lawmakers. Attend a library board meeting. Let your representatives know that you stand against censorship.

Do Three Star Ratings Count as Negative Ratings?

I have written previously that I do not give star ratings much significance. While I may look at the aggregate star ratings on Goodreads for a quick assessment of how people have responded to a book, I generally do not attach a lot of importance to a single reviewer’s rating. Yes, a one-star rating might intrigue me and encourage me to read more. But that’s the thing. I always want to read more. Star ratings are highly personal and subjective and, on their own, they do signify much to me. The review is what tells me what the reader actually thought of the book, and why. The review is necessary to explain the star rating.

Still, many people, especially seemingly authors, attach a great deal of important to star ratings. One Tweet I saw a few weeks ago lumped three stars in with negative ratings, calling for readers to be “required” to explain any ratings of three stars and lower. The implication was that three stars is “bad” and the reader either needs to justify rating a book low, or is somehow obligated to provide authors with critical feedback so they can improve their craft. (I believe reviews are for readers and not authors, and authors should, for the sake of their own happiness, not read reviews of their books. But that is a topic for another day.) But I was perplexed. I personally do not see three stars as negative at all.

Three stars is, to me, an average rating–and that is not a bad thing. It is in the middle of five stars, after all, so, intuitively, I think of one and two stars as more negative and four and five as more positive. Three is potentially neutral, meaning the book is not a standout but it’s not terrible, either. And that’s not bad! It’s not bad to be average! But I could go even farther. Goodreads, a site many avid readers and book bloggers use, indicates that three stars means a reader “liked” a book. “Liking” is not negative. It’s positive!

As much as we might hate to admit it, most things are average. That is what average means. I probably rate most of the books I read around a three because, statistically, most things should be average. It is rare when I find a book that stands out from the rest. One that feels wholly original and exciting. One that might change my life. It is also rare that I find a book I absolutely cannot stand. But things being typical? That I expect!

Personally, I see three stars as either neutral or leaning on the slightly positive side, if we go by the Goodreads ranking. But it seems that many reviewers and authors disagree. And, that, at least means I will keep on reading reviews to discern the significance of any star ratings.

What do you think? Does three stars count as a negative rating?

5 Ways I Think Public Libraries Can Continue to Improve

Ways I Think the Public Library Can Improve

We love libraries here at Pages Unbound! From books to computers to programs, libraries offer many services that support their communities and promote equal access. Still, there’s always room for improvement, right? Here are some of my thoughts on how public libraries can continue to improve.

Advertise tutoring services as a positive tool for everyone–not just struggling students.

Often, I see “cute” little social media posts showing frustrated students who need tutoring because they’re apparently just so bad at school, but the library can help with their tutoring program! I don’t like the implication that tutoring is only for failing students because it stigmatizes the process and makes it seem like people who need tutoring should be ashamed of it. I’d rather see libraries advertise tutoring as a positive tool that can be used by everyone as a way to improve. Firstly because students should not be encouraged to wait until they are failing to seek tutoring. By that point, the semester is usually over and their grades can’t make the same improvement they would if they had been getting feedback all along. Secondly, even “good” students can benefit from personalized feedback. Showing some motivated-looking students in the pictures and writing a blurb about how tutoring is beneficial for all would go a long way towards encouraging more students to try it.

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Stop making jokes about how hard math is/how no one likes math.

It seems like libraries attract many workers who see themselves as “humanities-oriented” and who are self-proclaimed, “Bad at math.” I have heard many librarians over the years joke about how they can’t do basic math functions like addition and subtraction. I have heard them assume that, “No one likes math,” because, apparently, they personally don’t. I even see the aforementioned tutoring services offered explicitly in connection with math, as if it is to be understood that MATH IS VERY DIFFICULT and everyone struggles.

This…isn’t true. I really liked math as a kid. Lots of kids like math. It always felt very alienating for me as a kid to go to the library and watch the staff struggle to add up my minutes read and hear them joke about math like it’s a dirty word. Libraries are supposed to be all about making learning accessible and fun these days. That should include math, even if all the staff aren’t equally comfortable with their own math skills. They don’t have to solve equations flawlessly in front of the public, just not unthinkingly disseminate the ideas that everyone should find math scary, or that people can only be good at one thing–English or math.

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Don’t worry about going viral.

I like seeing library staff making funny videos as much as anyone. However, sometimes it seems like libraries are taking social media advice that isn’t particularly meant for libraries. I check library social media pages to see what programs and services are being offered, and to learn about closures. I don’t follow them for the pun of the day, cat memes, and other non-library content that gets a lot of “likes” but isn’t related to informing the public about how the library works and what it offers.

Going viral can feel nice, but I don’t know if churning out a bunch of funny content just for the views makes sense for libraries. The goal surely is to appeal to their service area so local people understand what the library can do for them–and consequently then walk into the library to increase circulation, program stats, etc. A secondary goal could be to inform people in general about what libraries offer–and humor could help with this. But high views on random, non-library content won’t translate into increased library usage. And cluttering a library page with non-library content is frankly baffling.

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Remove library policies that allow patrons to be removed for body odor.

These types of policies still seem to be floating around. They are explicitly aimed at people experiencing homelessness and they are very unwelcoming. Yes, other patrons might be bothered by body odor, but it’s not a person’s fault if they do not have access to bathing and laundry facilities, and it seems cruel to tell them they cannot stay in a safe space because of that. Libraries are public buildings and that means people will be exposed to other people from all walks of life. And that is okay.

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Remove the one-desk model–or accept that all staff at the front desk should be trained (and paid for) reference duties.

Back in ye olden days, most libraries had two desks–the circulation desk and the reference desk. The staff at the circulation desk only did circulation duties–checking books in and out, and looking up accounts. The staff at the reference desk did reference duties–looking up the locations of materials, suggesting books that could help with research or providing suggestions for read-alikes, placing inter-library loans, etc. The reference staff traditionally had to have more education/degrees and were subsequently paid more. Then, libraries thought customer service would be improved by a one-desk model. This meant patrons did not have to puzzle through which desk to approach, or get annoyed if they approached one desk and were asked to talk to someone at the other desk instead. Now, everywhere seems to have a one-desk model.

The difficulty? Patrons don’t know if they are talking to a circulation staff member who has only been trained on circulation duties, or a reference librarian. In my personal experience, the reference librarians provide much more helpful reference services (no surprise–they are trained on these duties). The other problem is that the circulation staff are now doing the same job as the reference staff–but they are still usually getting paid less. If library administration want circulation staff to be doing reference at the front desk, that’s fine–but they need their pay to reflect this. Having a one-desk model sometimes seems like a sneaky way to save money because the public usually do not know the difference between job roles and assume everyone at the desk is equally trained and equally paid. But many libraries have begun talking about equity in the past few years. Why not take action with a little pay equity?

What ways do you think the public library can improve?

Let Readers Be Readers

Let Readers Be Readers

The question of what readers “owe” authors arises periodically in the book blogosphere. Often, strangely enough, this conversation is driven by book bloggers and reviewers themselves, many of whom believe that their purpose in life is to promote authors through their unpaid labor by posting reviews, participating in blog tours, Tweeting release dates, and convincing all and sundry to buy certain books. Some reviewers will even argue that readers “owe” it to authors to read a book in full, or to never post a negative review. This is because their primary goal is to “support authors” rather than to engage in discourse about the book or assist potential readers in deciding whether the book is right for them. Lately, however, the conversation on Twitter has taken a bit of a new turn, as authors jump in with the expectation that readers–all readers–“owe” them certain types of reviews and online engagement.

Previously, the discourse seemed to be driven mainly by individuals who presumably see themselves as bookish influencers. They run blogs, post on Bookstagram, make BookTook videos, engage on Book Twitter, and probably promote titles on Amazon and Goodreads in addition. They keep up with the book industry and maybe even have jobs in it or tangential to it (publishing, libraries, schools, etc.) Their presence on online platforms seems to have made authors forget, however, that not all readers are bookish influencers or want to be. Some authors are now on Twitter demanding that all readers review their books online and that, when they do, they review it in a certain “appropriate” way. For instance, according to some, no reader should leave a star rating on Amazon or Goodreads without a review. Any star rating seen to be negative is apparently especially egregious if the reader does not leave a review justifying their low rating to the author. Authors have forgotten that some readers…are just readers. They do not exist to market the book online. They just want to read it.

For years, authors and the publishing industry has treated book bloggers and bookish influences are their unofficial unpaid marketing team. They expected book bloggers to read and promote their books free–maybe for an ARC, if they were lucky–and felt empowered to make demands that book bloggers do things like not only review the book, but also do it by a certain date (maybe withholding the review till after publication, if it was negative) and then cross-post the review to several platforms like Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram, in addition to the blog. Book bloggers may have grumbled a bit about their time, talent and labor being unappreciated, but many did it. Perhaps this acquiescence has helped authors forget that the public does not, actually, exist to work as their unpaid laborers.

Goodreads, one might recall, started out as a social media site for book lovers to connect with their friends and see what they were reading. Others joined simply to use Goodreads for themselves so they could keep track of what they were reading and how they felt about it. The vast majority of people who use Goodreads presumably do not see themselves as bookish influencers and feel no obligation to support authors with high ratings and in-depth justifications of their feelings on a title. They just want to read a book! Reading is, one might also recall, a hobby. It is something people do for fun, to relax and enjoy themselves. The vast majority of the public has no idea that there are authors out there who think they are “owed” free marketing by their readers. They bought the book. They paid for it. That was where their obligation to the author ended. Now, they get to enjoy the product they bought as they see fit.

And Amazon reviews? Most people, presumably, see reviews as intended for the potential consumer of a product and not for the author. Reviews typically tell people what they can expect from the item in question, so they can make an informed opinion as to whether it will suit their needs. Reviews are separate from marketing copy because their purpose is actually not to sell the product. Or, not necessarily. A positive review could help sell the product. But, again, the review is to help the consumer to decide. A really good review will share pros and cons of how the product might be effective and how it might not. Some people will find its function satisfactory for their specific situation and others won’t. That’s okay. The review is functioning as it ought.

Readers should not be expected to provide automatic positive reviews on behalf of the author because then the review becomes meaningless. It’s just marketing copy. And readers, frankly, should not be expected to provide reviews at all. Some people do because they want to be useful or they like sharing their opinions. That is kind of them and could be considered going above and beyond. But if they don’t want to, that’s fine. The author isn’t paying them to write a review and they don’t owe the author their time to do it. And if they just want to leave a star rating with no review, that is also fine. Is a mere rating less useful to consumers than explaining the rating? Probably. But readers do not owe the author a justification of their reaction to a title. Readers are not the unpaid marketing team for authors.

Let us remember that reading is a hobby. Reading is something people do for pleasure. The vast majority of readers simply want to read a book and that’s it. They are not obligated to work for the author to promote the book online. They are not obligated to spend their time writing a review. The reader’s obligation to the author includes two things only: obtaining the book legally and being courteous to the author by not tagging them in negative reviews or personally insulting them. Let readers be readers, and stop expecting the world to do unpaid marketing.

Why I Believe It’s Important to Clearly Indicate the Age Category of Books

In December 2022, a photo of a Target bookshelf labeled “Young Adult Books” went viral because not a single book on the shelf was actually YA; indeed, the section was primarily steamy and explicit adult romance. This, of course, caused some consternation. Personally, I don’t think it was a weird conspiracy of store employees trying to get teens to read these books, as some people were arguing. I think the most plausible explanation I saw was that an employee was rearranging the shelves, put all the books that were meant to go there up, and simply forgot to change the sign. (Probably to something like “BookTok Books”?)

However, I think the wrong signage is a mistake that deserves to be fixed because there are people who are not familiar with the book industry who rely on such signage and shelving to choose books to buy. Yes, teens can read adult books, but the fact remains that some people might be specifically intending to buy an adult book and some might be specifically looking for a young adult book, and it should be obvious to them from the way the books are labeled and categorized in a store which one they are getting.

I raised this idea on Twitter, and I was met with some disagreement; more than one person told me that the onus is on the buyer to “do their research” before buying a book, and it’s completely their own fault if they buy a book for a twelve-year-old child that is actually BDSM erotica. But I don’t think that someone shopping in a physical store should need to either 1) spend 30 minutes researching popular YA books online to buy before they show up (something someone actually suggested) or 2) pull out their phone in the middle of the store to Google all the titles they see. If nothing else, this diminishes the convenience of a physical store; if I spent a significant amount of time researching before driving to the store, I might as well buy the book online! It’s also advice that pushes readers away from physical bookstores (yes, Target is not a bookstore) because it takes away the idea of serendipity and discovering books by browsing.

And I think one of the most important reasons that books should be correctly categorized in stores is because people who do not read themselves may buy them. I think the idea that some people don’t read at all, or that some people read but aren’t obsessively following the book industry and new releases, seem foreign to those of us who are Very Online in the book community. But it’s true! I think back to my grandmother, who knows I like to read, and when I was a child I would frequently receive books from her for my birthday or holidays. The selections were strange. One year in high school, I got a middle grade book I felt was too young for me. When I was twelve, I got The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. I haven’t figured that one yet, except maybe my grandmother thought it was a kid’s book because there was a kid on the cover?

The point is that my grandmother is exactly the type of person who might have known, “Oh, my granddaughter says she likes reading young adult books,” walked into this Target with the incorrectly shelved books, and bought me a book that was entirely inappropriate for me. (I don’t care if you think steamy romances are appropriate for teenagers; I would not have wanted to read one in high school and would have been upset. And if my mother had found out about it, SHE would have been upset with my grandmother and started an entire family feud.) Similarly, parents who don’t read much themselves might take their kid (who may be a teen or even a tween) to a store and let them loose in the young adult section and tell them to pick something out, assuming that since the books are for teens they will be “age appropriate.” They are not going to pull out their phone and Google the book to make sure it’s not really accidentally erotica for adults because why would they expect that to happen? They might have no conception it’s a thing that could happen, and reasonable people don’t walk into a store assuming the employees are incompetent and that they must double-check every decision the employees have made.

Clearly differentiating young adult books from adult books (and doing the same for other age categories) is helpful to consumers in a variety of circumstances, but it is most helpful for those who aren’t intimately familiar with the book market as a whole but would still like to buy books. The Target bookshelf seems obviously like an accident, but it’s one that could have led to a very poor purchase for a buyer!


FAQs New Book Bloggers Have

FAQs New Book Bloggers Have

Are you new to book blogging? Do you have questions about blogger expectations, or just the way other book bloggers do things? Read on for a list of commonly-asked questions from new bloggers and our take on what book blogging currently looks like.

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How often should I post?

The simple answer is as much as you want! There is no right or wrong way to blog, and you will find many bloggers with many different schedules. Blogging is, for most book bloggers, a hobby and supposed to be fun, so there is no need to stress about posting.

However, if you are trying to grow your followers and gain traffic, a more practical answer would be that posting at least once a week would likely be beneficial in this regard. You want to post with some frequency so you have content for new viewers to engage with and explore–so they can see if they think your blog is a good fit for them–and so your blog appears to be active. If you haven’t posted in two or three months, old followers might keep your blog in their feeds, and thus see when a new post is published, but others might not click the follow button.

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What should my blog/sidebar absolutely have?

Our guide on How to Start a Book Blog covers this question (and others) more in depth. However, it is worth noting that your blog should absolutely have a follow button! While it is possible for other bloggers to add a blog to their feed manually, it is more likely that people will follow if it’s easy for them and they can just click the button. Other things to include are a small bio, a search bar, your social media links, and recent posts.

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Do I need to answer every comment on my blog?

Discussing books and bookish things is one of the best parts about book blogging, so many bloggers do make a commitment to interact with their comments. Interacting can also an effective way to grow your followers, if that is a goal for you. However, life happens and people understand that. So if you sometimes take awhile to answer comments, or answer only the ones you have time for, or just miss one by accident, that’s okay. It happens!

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Do I need to comment back every time?

Many bloggers do because they think it is polite, or because it is considered one way to gain more followers and/or traffic. People can find your blog more easily if they see you commenting around other blogs. However, blogging is a big time commitment and not every blogger is able to comment back every time. And that’s okay, too! Book bloggers are generally very friendly, and no one is keeping track.

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Should I answer every e-mail I receive from authors wanting book reviews?

The answer will vary from blogger to blogger, but many book bloggers don’t–especially if their review policy already clearly states that they are not currently open to review pitches. It seems like many authors or marketers have a, “Why not try?” approach and simply e-mail every blogger they can find. In such cases, they probably aren’t really keeping track of who hasn’t answered. Also, for what it’s worth, I used to e-mail back politely declining every request and some authors would just respond with different pitches the next day. So either they weren’t reading my response, or they didn’t respect it. Consequently, I now only answer e-mails when I want to respond in the affirmative. And this saves me a lot of time.

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Do I need to be on all the social media platforms?

A few years ago, there was a sense that book bloggers had to be on all the major social media platforms to stay relevant and get views. Recently, however, more bloggers have committed to staying only on the platforms they genuinely enjoy interacting on. It’s also worth noting that, at least here at Pages Unbound, social media does not drive a lot of traffic to the blog. It’s just another way to connect with fellow book lovers–if you want.

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Do I need to participate in memes?

Memes are a great way to interact with fellow book bloggers, create content when you are stuck for ideas, and get some traffic from others who are doing the meme. Here at Pages Unbound, we did more memes when we were just starting out and it was an invaluable way to find links to other blogs we could follow and enjoy! However, as with most things in book blogging, it’s really up to you!

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What are ARCs and how do I get them?

ARC stands for Advanced Reading Copies–books that may not be in the final state for publication, but that are given to readers to be reviewed ahead of the publication date. Publishers used to be more forthcoming with physical ARCs for book bloggers, but more and more seem to be moving towards digital copies only. Many bloggers use the websites Netgalley and Edelweiss to request digital ARCs for review. You can learn more about requesting ARCs on our Complete Guide to Starting a Book Blog.

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Do I need to request ARCs to stay relevant?

Not at all! Many bloggers do not request ARCs. Reading ARCs often means having to read to a deadline and feeling pressure to keep up with new, hyped releases. Many bloggers choose to read what they want, when they want to avoid the stress. Also, reviewing backlist and midlist titles is perfectly acceptable!

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Can I blog about topics other than books?

Absolutely! Many bloggers also write about movies, TV shows, music, and their personal lives. Some even have combination blogs like books and makeup, or books and running. It’s your blog. You get to write about the things that make you happy!

Do you have advice for new bloggers? Let us know in the comments!

Do You Collect Books? (Let’s Talk Bookish)

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme that was created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and then cohosted with Dani @ Literary Lion. It is currently hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits. The meme encourages participants to discuss a new topic each week and visit each other’s posts to keep the conversation going.

Prompt: Do you enjoy collecting books? Do you feel like physical books are overpriced? Do you buy books after you’ve read them to add to your collection? Do you buy special edition collector sets? How invested are you in your book collection? 

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Over the years, I have been pretty open about the fact that I do not collect books, usually for practical purposes. Books are heavy and take up a lot of space, and having to move them or find ways to store them typically is not easy. When I was younger, I had dreams like other bookworms about having my own personal library. But, it turns out, affording a house big enough to convert a whole room into a library is not as simple as my teenage self thought. Consequently, I have had to cut down my collect dramatically, and now I try to keep it from growing to an unmanageable bulk.

I know this sounds like sacrilege to many a book lover. But, I found that, once I took a hard look at my collection and assessed it honestly, it became easier to let go. The reality is that I owned many books I likely would not want to reread, so it seemed wrong for me to keep the books on my shelves when I could donate them to someone who would read and enjoy them. Now, my collection is primarily books I can see myself rereading, books I know I cannot obtain easily from the library, and books that have a sentimental value to me. The rest I typically donate to the library or to teacher friends for their classrooms, because that way I know they will be shared and read.

The price of books is a factor in my choosing not to buy as many. However, I hesitate to say that books are overpriced. Authors work hard on their craft, and they are aided by many editors, proofreaders, illustrators, marketers, etc. All those people deserve pay for their labor, and I accept that the price of a book should reflect the cost of that labor. I even accept the high prices of e-books because, even though the cost of paper is not being factored into the price, I see the product as the writing and the labor that went into it, not the paper. If the price of a book is higher than I want to pay, I will go to the library or find a used copy from the library book sale or a used bookstore. And, yes, sometimes I am sad I cannot afford to add a book to my collection. But my having a budget I need to stick to doesn’t necessarily mean the item is overpriced. It just means that I personally need to monitor my spending. Life is unfair sometimes, and there are plenty of things I cannot afford to buy, including, sometimes, books.

Going to the library for most of my books, however, does allow me to spend what money I have wisely. Because I have to budget, I do not spend money on many new-to-me authors, but tend to stick with titles and authors I am already sure I will love. The library gives me the freedom to take a chance on other books. Once I have read a book from a library, I may indeed choose to buy a copy of that book to keep and reread later. Or, even more likely, I will buy copies of the book as gifts for friends and family. Many publishers, it has become clear, see libraries as the enemies of authors, but I actually do use the library as a discovery tool that then leads me to purchase books. I do not think I am alone in this.

So how invested am I in my book collection? I am invested, but I hope that maturity leads to some sort of wisdom. I do not ever want to feel like I am overly attached to material objects in my life, or that I will not be able to give something away if it could do more good elsewhere. And, the more books I give away, the easier it becomes. Life goes on. Many of those books I have never thought about again! So I am invested to the extent that I want to build a personal collection that truly means something to me, and not just because I can’t stand to give a book away. But I also hope that, if I should have to, I would indeed be able to let go of my books.

Trends I Think We’ll See in Book Blogging in 2023

Typically, Briana guesses the blogging trends for the new year, but I thought I’d give it a try this year! Here are trends I think we’ll see in 2023.

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Less Stress About Working with Big Publishers

All the hype over BookTok and the swarms of publishers seemingly willing to pay for reviews led to a bit of shock for book bloggers, who had been told for years that publishers simply did not have the money to pay for reviews or promotional content. I think many book bloggers consequently accepted last year that many of the big publishers simply have little desire to work with bloggers. As a result, I think bloggers will focus a bit less on trying to get publishers to pay them. This may lead bloggers to work more with indie authors and smaller publishers. Or bloggers may choose to read more of what they want and less of what they think they “ought” to be reading to be current with an industry that seems like it is ignoring them.

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More Rereads

This ties in with my point above, but I think more bloggers are choosing to blog for themselves and not to stay relevant or to attract large page views that could get publishers to send them ARCs. I have already seen a number of bloggers committing to rereading the books they love and rediscovering a joy of reading, without the pressure to keep up with hyped releases. I think more bloggers will follow this trend.

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Fewer YA Reviews

YA book reviews used to dominate book blogs, perhaps because YA books also dominated the publishing industry, and bloggers wanted to stay current. However, I have seen quite a few bloggers saying they no longer relate to YA. I have also seen more bloggers branching out into MG and adult books, even though they have not said outright why they might be switching to other types of reads. I expect to see more diversified reviews and not just the same hyped YA fantasies reviewed on every blog.

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More Midlist Reviews

In general, I have seen fewer bloggers hyping all the same books. Even books that are being marketed heavily and seem primed to be all over my feed have not appeared! I think this goes with the general theme of my predictions this year, which is that bloggers will continue to commit to reading more of what they want to read, and not what they think they “have” to read. I also think more bloggers will commit to promoting midlist titles and books they see as deserving of notice, even if these books are being overlooked by more traditional marketing pushes.

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More Audiobook Reviews

Interest in audiobooks has been growing over the years, and I see no sign of this trend stopping. I imagine this trend might be even bigger than it appears since not every book review is necessarily going to note that the reviewer listened to the audiobook, unless comments on the narration seem relevant.

Let us know in the comments if you agree, or if you have predictions of your own!