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Disclaimer: This post is not so that I can have a whine or a moan about all the things that annoy me as a blogger. I mean, I could write a post about that, but then we'd be here all day. Ha! Kidding. Sort of.
No, this post was inspired by a couple of things including a few twitter conversations and blog posts I’ve recently stumbled upon. First off was a tweet which asked if the popularity of blogging was on the wane. This related to blogging in general, by the way, not just book blogging. The author of the tweet had noticed a decline in the number of hits and comments her posts were getting. And it got me thinking….
First up: blog comments. We can say that we blog for a love of books and a love of blogging until we’re blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that while that may be true, its also fair to say that we all love comments. I have never met a book blogger who didn’t love comments. Ruby from Ruby's Reads did a post on comments and community lately which I got involved in, and bottom line as I always say is that in matters of book blogging (I can’t speak for fashion bloggers etc. because I’m not one) is that you have to give comments to get comments.
Case in point: When I first started blogging I used to comment EVERYWHERE and I used to take part in a couple memes too. Man, that was time-consuming. But guess what – I used to get a lot more comments on my blog posts back then. Double, even triple than what I get now. I know that lack of comments is a sore point amongst a lot of bloggers. It’s hard not to let it get to you. I mean, you put all this work into a review, and then, it looks like people will only comment if you leave a comment on their blog. I know. I mean, I said this post wasn’t going to turn into a whine-a-lot post, so let’s move on and get back to the point.
Have you noticed a drop in comments or page views on your blog lately? I have –this summer has been quieter than usual. But I can’t say for sure if this is because blogging is on the way out or if I haven’t been commenting on as many blogs as I normally would because I’ve been outside enjoying the sun. I think though, that if you put a lot of work into something, then after a while, you kind of expect it to grow, and to flourish on its own. That hasn’t happened with a lot of the book blogs I read, including my own. Nowadays I schedule posts at the weekend and might not check on them for days at a time. I did this last week - you can take a look at the resulting lack of comments on the reviews I posted last week for proof!
So, who comments on blogs?
It seems to me that mostly the only comments I get on my blog are from other book bloggers (I’m not complaining – I love all comments and I love my fellow book bloggers!). Oh, unless I’m running a competition and then suddenly EVERYBODY wants to leave a comment. Ha! Seriously, though: who reads your blog? Are the majority of book blog readers other book bloggers? Are book blogs ever the first port of call for readers looking for book reviews? I’m really not so sure. Referring to my stats, I can see that my book reviews often lag behind cover reveal and movie trailer posts in terms of page views. So, if not blogs, then where are readers going for book reviews? Traditional press, Amazon and Goodreads all come into play here, I guess - and there's also a new kid on the block:
The rise and rise of BookTubers.
A couple of people in the aforementioned twitter conversation mentioned that YouTube was where it was at in terms of book blogging these days. I admit I sort of rolled my eyes at this. I mean, yeah, I’m totally out of the loop and I didn’t even know that BookTubing was a thing with an actual name until a week or so ago. But it is. And it’s really popular. BookTubers get, not hundreds, but thousands of hits on their videos (which include book hauls, bookshelf tours, book reviews and fridayreads videos) and if you’re lamenting the lack of comments on your blog, then become a BookTuber because as far as I can see, people are only too happy to leave comments on videos.
Personally, I prefer reading book reviews rather than watching them (book hauls on the other hand are heaps of fun!), but BookTubing seems to be flourishing, while us bloggers, we’re seen as tragically unhip nowadays. Seriously. I’ve seen blogging referred to in ‘relic’ and ‘fossil’ terms on twitter lately, and many of the author blogs I used to follow now lie abandoned as their owners leave en masse for the shiny new heights of Tumblr. Because people love shiny new things.
And blogging is outdated. Or so a lot of people say.
Me, I’m not sure. I want to believe that book blogging is relevant and that book blogs are somewhere the readers look for book recommendations and reviews. I mean, if you’re a book blogger then you already know that maintaining a blog is a hobby that entails a whole lot of work. It's time-consuming too so if you’re going to stick with it for any length of time at all, then you have to love it. Because blogging comes with its own pitfalls and annoyances too. When I first joined the blogging community it was a very happy, welcoming place, and book blogging was thriving. Since then, I’ve witnessed a lot of drama in the book blogging community and I think it has hurt blogging. Nobody wants to deal with a drama queen, after all.
So, what do you think?
Do you think book blogging is outdated? Or are book blogs still your first port of call for book news and reviews?
And what about comments? Do you leave a comment on a blog if you enjoy a review? And if not – then why not? This is like the great unsolved mystery of the book blogging world. I have seen so many posts written by book bloggers asking why, why, why they don’t get many or sometimes any comments on their reviews.
What are your thoughts on BookTubing? Is this the successor to book blogging? And why? Is it more personal? More accessible? More engaging?
If you’re a BookTuber feel free to leave your link in comments. I’m late to the party and I don’t know many so I’m looking for BookTubers to add to my watch list.
If blogging has been stressing you out or getting you down or if you’re wondering if it’s really all worth it after you’ve spent hours working on a review that still has no comments two days later, then you might like to read this post: Bloggers Under Pressure: Tips on how to beat Blogger Burnout.