Reports of the Death of Book Blogs …

Reports of the Death of Book Blogs are a little premature, perhaps even exaggerated. The question being asked on this post is: is book blogging dying? Right, posing the question on a book blog provides the answer– the book blog is not dead. This book blog is not dead. This, after all, is my 721st post since I began Bookword in December 2012. 

I pose the question because three times in the last week I have come across reports of the demise of the book blog. I have never come across this suggestion before, but I can spot a trend. Three suggestions in one week – perhaps book blogging is on its way out.

Checking the possibility

So, I looked online. Actually, there was no evidence for the death at all, although it is claimed that other social media activities (TickTock or podcasting, for example) are pushing out blogging. There is no evidence for the claim which is perhaps based on individual experience and taste.

It’s a little like the promise of the paperless office. Remember that? In my experience workplaces use paper andon-line file management. In the workplace where I volunteer the IT is so unreliable that we have to manage with both paper and online files, and in every office there are piles of paper and people staring at computer screens. I suspect that there are an increasing number of podcasts about books now, but they exist alongside book blogs.

I asked Google (a typed question not a spoken query) if book blogging was dead. Google replied promptly by presenting me with a list of the top 100 book blogs based in the US, and several rather older and similar lists. I added UK to my question and came across another list of 100 top book blogs. If there are 200 top blogs in the US and the UK then book blogging is clearly not dead. 

The criteria for being top (or the best) are not provided. Nor was information about who compiled the list. My inner researcher (yes, I used to work in a university) was despairing of these lapses, but my basic question is answered. Book blogging is not dead.

Indeed, I couldn’t find any evidence that it is even ailing. Perhaps it arises from an assumption that if podcasts are increasingly popular, blogging will be less popular. People used to say that Kindle and other digital readers would spell the end of ‘real’ books. Again, both seem to thrive. It’s a question of plurality, of variousness not of a zero sum.

Book Blogs Live

I went back to the list of 100 top book blogs and noted some blogs that I am familiar with. And I noticed that among the ‘toppest’ were many corporate sites: publishers, periodicals, professional bloggers. I don’t think these existed in such great numbers when I started Bookword, but since their purpose is, among other things, to sell books I conclude that they see a value in blogging.

The more individual blogs, the ones where people just like to write about books they are reading, these blogs also appeared in the list. I enjoy these more. We often leave comments on each other’s blogs. We promote each other’s sites on Twitter. 

The list also included information on how often the blogger posts. The frequency ranged from 10 a week through to once a quarter (ie four times a year, or once every three months). These were the extremes, most seemed to post around once a week. (Here on Bookword it’s every 5 days, but I think I am going to slow down slightly to join the once a weekers.)

Flexibility

One of the great things about blogging is its flexibility: form, content, style, frequency, birth and death. There are no rules.

I began my blog to connect with other readers who like writing and talking about books. I keep going because I still want to do that. That’s why I read other blogs. Even if DoveGreyReader has disappeared, there are still many great bloggers out there. Here are some of the blogs that I keep visiting:

Book Bloggers: keep on blogging!

Related posts

Book Blogging Is Dead, But That’s Okay on FrappesandFiction. The blogger explains why she likes blogging about books (March 2022)

Being a Nice Book Blogger – a post looking at the claim that book blogging was harming literature (March 2017).

The death of real books/the end of e-books – a post looking at the sales of ebooks and real books, both holding up at that time (August 2017)

It was Mark Twain, btw, who said, ‘the report of my death was an exaggeration’. He is often misquoted.

Picture credit for Blog Cortega9 on WikiCommons.

16 Comments

Filed under Books, Podcast, Reading, Reviews, The Craft of Blogging

16 Responses to Reports of the Death of Book Blogs …

  1. Thanks for the link to my site, Caroline, and for this thoughtful essay. As you say, the criteria for those lists of ‘top’ blogs are obscure. I’d like to think book blogs will continue as long as people enjoy sharing their responses to what they read – and for as long as there’s an online platform on which to do it.

    • Caroline

      Thanks for this Simon. I agree. I can’t see any reason why Book Blogging would die. There are many ways to enjoy discussions about what we read, including your blog.
      Caroline.

  2. I am always slow to catch on to things – a mark of my entire life – and it’s really only in the past couple of years that I’ve caught up with book blogs so I would be horrified to think of them as waning …surely not. It’s a virtual variation on book clubs and I don’t see any evidence of those decreasing in popularity – in fact, there seems a plurality and diversification of them.

    I, too, remember someone telling me about 25 years ago that the tangible, physical book had its days numbered since technological reading devices would be taking over …..well, clearly that has not happened. I have never owned a kindle and never read a book on a screen and have no intention of starting any time yet!

    • Caroline

      Most things don’t get replaced in the way that people foretold the death of ‘real’ books. Everything just shuffles over and we can have more choices. So pleased you enjoy book blogs.
      Caroline

  3. Jennifer

    I’m glad you’re carrying on blogging Caroline. I always find your comments and insights interesting. And you’ve inspired me to read more widely.
    Ps. Once a week is fine.

    • Caroline

      Thank you, Jennifer. I also value your recommendations and comments.
      And thanks for the once a week endorsement.
      Caroline

  4. I’ve seen these pronouncements occasionally too – usually alongside comments that “everyone” is moving to Instagram. Not true – there are still many of us who feel that a blog post does more justice to a book than a carefully styled photograph of a cover with a few words about how brilliant it is.

    Re those lists of top blogs, I’ve done similar searches and they often turn up sites that I don’t consider blogs at all (Book Riot for example). Not knocking them but they’re a different beast to blogs like the ones you follow

    • Caroline

      Thanks for confirming my hypothesis. My view is that there is room for every kind of discussion about reading. I LIKE blogs, and value the thought that goes into them. I know other people do. And it’s for them that I do what I do in the way I do.
      If I had extended my list, Bookertalk would have been in there.
      Caroline

  5. Firstly, thanks for the mention and kind words Caroline – I appreciate it!
    Like you and others I’ve seen this so often and I tend to ignore it. I love to read other people’s takes on books, which is why I follow so many other bloggers. I get most of my book recomendations from other blogs or from BookTwitter and I trust those peeps more than I do the ‘professional’ reviewers.
    I agree with Simon – I’m sure blogs will continue while we all want to share our love of books! We do this for the love of it and it definitely needs to be on our own terms. If weekly suits you then go for it – I shall look forward to your posts when they appear.

    • Caroline

      Thanks Kaggsy. Reassuring words, and with a great deal of sense. I think I am just hearing people who have themselves moved on from blogs, and they imagine the rest of the world is following them.
      Keep up you great blog!
      Caroline

  6. I think people still want book blogs. I am continuing with mine, though balancing it with life is sometimes difficult. The book blogging community is still large, and my blog is still getting plenty of hits. I appreciate being part of that community and would miss it if I wasn’t part of it.

    • Caroline

      So pleased you will be going on blogging. I agree, there is plenty of activity within the community.
      Thanks for responding
      Caroline

  7. It’s an interesting question! I have certainly noticed that the heyday has passed – at least on my blog, which gets fewer comments than it used to. But I’m also not as good at keeping up with other bloggers as I used to be. I think it’s no longer the place where everyone goes, but there’s definitely a core group who will keep going and find it rewarding – us included!

    • Caroline

      It’s hard to know how to read any metrics there are. In the last 2 months my blog has had more readers than ever. I don’t know why. And like you I don’t trawl blogs as I used to, visit the usual suspects instead.
      I guess some of us will keep going because we like the form, and the responses.
      Thank you for yours.
      Caroline

  8. Thanks for including me! I’m in a bit of a writing/ blogging slump at the moment but still enjoy reading blogs. When you get to know a blogger and their preferences it’s easier to gauge whether you’ll like a book based on their opinion. And if I feel strongly about a book I’ve read, I want to know if they had a similar reaction, or have insights I missed.

    • Caroline

      You are so right. Some reviewers I trust, and often read what they suggest or refer to their blogs if they previously read what I’m looking at.
      Caroline

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