Hello loves! Happy Friday! I hope you’re all hanging in there. It has been an interesting few days for me, personally. And honestly? I’m so ready for the weekend. But, first, I wanted to talk about something I’ve been thinking about recently. A little conundrum in the book blogging word. Namely, the level of engagement with book reviews, why it seems to be so low and why that might be?
So, let’s discuss!
Engagement With Book Reviews
So, confession time. This post is actually inspired by another blogger’s post! Dini @ Dini Panda Reads was sharing her end of the year stats when she began discussing posts that she wished got a little more love. Unsurprisingly in the context of this post, it’s book reviews. In her words:
There isn’t one in particular that I’m really thinking of but generally, the least liked/commented-on posts on my blog are my reviews. This often makes me question my reviews but I’ve heard a few other bloggers mention that it’s the same for them, so I try not to let it get to me (too much)!Dini @ Dini Panda Reads
Dini, I can promise you: it’s not your reviews at all. 😘
In fact, it got me thinking and looking at my own stats. If you look at my stat reflections from 2022, you’ll notice a similar trend. Out of roughly 112 posts, about 18% of my posts were book reviews (so, roughly 20ish posts). Out of those 20 reviews, I had 27 total comments, roughly 175 likes and 450 views.
Which could seem like a lot! And I’m happy for it! But, when you compare it to my top two categories, you’ll see the differences are not small. (Discussion posts had almost 200 comments, 250 likes and almost 750 views. Whereas personal posts had roughly 115 comments, 225 lies and almost 900 views). Practically double, compared to my reviews.
Yet I label myself a book blogger. One of the main things we’re known for is to review books. So, why is the level of engagement with book reviews so low?
I have a few ideas. These are based completely off no scientific evidence or any attempt at data gathering on my part. Instead, it’s based on a confession.
You see, I don’t traditionally read book reviews by other bloggers. In fact, I almost never do. Which might feel like a betrayal as a book blogger! But, below is why I don’t and, purely guessing, but maybe that’s why others might not, either?
- No desire to be influenced: Personally, I know myself. It’s really easy for a thought that wasn’t mine to get stuck in my head and marinate for a while, as I parse whether to believe it or not. So, when I stumble across a review of a book that I’m excited to read and it critiques X, guess what? The entire time I’m reading the book, I’m thinking about X. Even if it was something I normally wouldn’t notice. Knowing that chance of impressionability, I don’t like to risk it, especially for books I’m stoked about reading. I want the chance to form my own opinion first.
- Avoiding spoilers: Most bloggers are great at denoting when they include spoilers! But for those that don’t!! WHY.
- Gauging interest levels: Honestly, I have pretty specific tastes in what I read. And, surprisingly, a lot of bloggers I follow don’t actually review books I’m interested in! *shrugs* Yet, because I love their other content, I like to follow them and read those posts. I have a feeling this is the same for many who follow me.
I’m sure there are more reasons why someone might not read a review. Especially since reviews range so widely in styles and content, surprisingly enough. I just can’t help the irony that, as a book blogger, I feel obligated to review books. Yet they are always my least favorite posts to read. And write. 💀
Yet, is this a bad thing, this lower level of engagement with book reviews? Honestly, I’m not sure. Personally, I write reviews and cross-post them to other review sites to help author numbers. (Yet I am in the camp that the reviews themselves are for other readers, not authors. But that’s an entirely different discussion for another day.) Though I wish that all of my post did better than they do, I think I’m least bothered when a review does poorly. Perhaps because I don’t always enjoy writing them? Or because I feel guilty because I don’t think I do a great job with them?
Who’s to say? 😅
I do think there can be a negative in terms of trying to connect with publishing, however. Especially if you’re trying to get ARCs or other promotional opportunities. Your numbers sometimes gotta look good for those opportunities to happen. And, when comparing the often skewed numbers of other social bookish platforms, having engagement with book reviews be low for book bloggers can be…not great.
So, in sum: I think there are many reasons why we don’t read book reviews with the same vigor as we might, say, a discussion post. Or even a topical list! I just don’t have any concrete proof. All opinions over here today!
I’m curious: if you write book reviews, what is your engagement level with them? Do you get a lot of traffic or content with them? Or are they the “lower” stat type in your blogging repertoire, like mine? Do you enjoy writing book reviews or do you drag your feet like I do?
I’d really love to know your thoughts! And, if you’re looking for some bloggers who write such quality reviews, it convinces a non-review-reader like me to read them, look no further than these gems: