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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Book Bloggers Don't Matter?


I was playing around on Twitter today and someone tweeted this article by someone who apparently attended BEA last month in NYC and would now like to make some pretty vague (and may I say uninformed) generalizations about us book bloggers.

The author starts out talking about the death of the book. And then moves on to how it's a bad thing for publishers to court book bloggers, which the writer of the article says we book bloggers are "often known as “mommy bloggers” because they are housewives who blog about romance novels, horror/vampire stories and paranormal novels".

Give me a break!

Book bloggers come in many different forms. I am not a housewife. I am not a mother. And anyone who has read my blog thus far knows that I read widely. Even if I were any of these things, I would still take offense; book bloggers don't fit neatly into a box.

She also claims that book bloggers limits the books that get publicity because we all apparently read the same things and therefore reinforce the reading of only romance novels, horror/vampire stories and paranormal novels. I'm going to go ahead and call BS on that sentiment! Because of interacting with my fellow book bloggers, I read much more widely than I ever have before.

Why is it a good thing for the book business as a whole to look towards book bloggers for reviews and promotion? Here's a few reasons:
  • We are readers. We know how to speak to other readers.
  • Many of us are tech savvy. Publishers cannot limit themselves to traditional means of publicity. Social networking has changed the whole game. Book bloggers know their way around the interwebz and many of them know how to get a broad reach.
  • Reviews from real people are worth their weight in gold. If you have a friend tell you to read a book or a business tell you to read a book, who are you going to listen to? I'd choose the friend because I know that they're going to give it to me straight.
  • With more book buying being done online rather than in traditional brick and mortar stores, it is imperative for publishers to reach out to the online shoppers. Book bloggers are a great way to do that.
There is always going to be room for the traditional book reviewers and the traditional publicity but it doesn't do anything to help readers or the book business if publishers were to take as narrow view as the author of the article takes.

 What did you think about this article?


  1. I agree that her perspective on book bloggers was hard to swallow. Even *if* most book bloggers were as she described, who cares? They read, help others find new material to read, help writers sell books and write more for an audience that wants more. How could this be a bad thing?

    Then again, I am am really into people reading and writing. Kind of like I can't see how digital devices are spelling the end of "the Book". The book is not the physical item of paper and ink. It's the text within those pages. If the text is electronic, it is still text, and more power to the Book in whatever form it takes.

    The article writer's statements about children's fiction confused me. The covers of those books are designed to attract the eyes of their chosen demographic- kids. A little garish color never hurt a single story.

  2. I love your post! I just started blogging only recently and I'm already feeling how much hard work has to be invested into my blog...feeling like our efforts being discounted haha.

    And mommy bloggers!? Seriously? I'm a teen for goodness sake!

  3. If books are dead, then why are there more books published now than at any other point in history.

  4. I saw that article floating around twitter too...argh! Way to put an entire community in one small box! Also, what's wrong with being a mommy or a housewife? I hate that there is a negative connotation to those terms :(

    This is one non-housewife/non-mommy/eclectic reading blogger that is quite peeved about this stereotype-driven piece!

  5. When I read it earlier I was baffled by the generalizations she made. She's apparently got a limited scope on the book blogging scene and probably should've done a quick google search before shooting off at the mouth. I think she's just jealous and hates that actual readers are helping drive the market.

  6. As someone that writes a blog in one of those mentioned stereotypical genres I'd have to say I'm offended. Paranormal isn't the only thing I read I just choose to blog about it because it's more fun to blog about the fantastic rather then the fact that I read Siddhartha the other day. Talk about heavy not fun to write about material, what am I in college again? geez.

    Oh and I'm a single female with no kids and a business degree from a top university. And even if I was a stay at home mom, what does that matter?? Why should their opinion mean any less? Those stay at home mothers have a very important task of raising our next generation. And I think its awesome that they are readers who also blog in their very spare time.

    I dont know how many great book suggestions I have gotten from reading other peoples blogs, we have more influence over the general public then the writer would like to give us credit for.

    Ok my rant is over now. LOL

    -Amanda P

  7. Wth!! We don't all review the same books. some maybe but not all.. From what I see some of us does old books in the mix of new books in different genres.

    He hasn't been looking through the hundredth of us. I'm No mummy nor housewife, yet. I'm a librarian who happens to love to read. and this blogging thing really helps! And there's nothing wrong with a mummy housewives reader blogger. isn't that the point? people who read to advocate reading?

    I bet this writer is just angry he/she doesn't have enough scope to reach out to us so we read and blog their book o.0

  8. This article definitely got people riled up! What amazed me is that yes, she definitely attacked book bloggers with her over-generalizations, but she also came down on print books dying and issues with translations...which makes sense since she is an academic author and translator. It was one person's narrow view of the world. Hopefully the comments opened her eyes a little.

  9. You gave such a great response to an obviously generalized and poorly formed argument. I am also not in any of the categories stated and while many blogs may fit that generalization, it stigmatizes them when book blogging is all about community and learning through reading. As for genre, while I feel that some are overhyped & overread, it comes down to choice and taste. Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes. Thanks for raising awareness about this, Meg!

  10. @JoJoTheModern Yes, I fully agree with this age not spelling the end of the book. Ebooks are only a different medium for reading books (I do prefer my paper books though but I'm old-fashioned that way). What's so wrong with a new medium?

  11. @Felicia Blogging does take a lot of effort but bloggers are an invaluable resource for publishers, authors, and other book industry types. We're really the grassroots!

  12. @celawerdblog Yeah, this was sadly a very not well-researched argument on the part of the journalist :/

  13. @Kat @ NoPageLeftBehind There's nothing wrong with "mommy bloggers" but it's not fair to put book bloggers in one small box with another genre of blogger. We're all different!!! I wish this writer could see that.

  14. @Terri I think one of the most awesome things about the rise of the book bloggers is that we the readers really do have some sway when it comes to the book industry. Yay for grassroots!

  15. @Amanda P Bleh, I have to say that I don't think this writer did a whole lot of that whole research thing that writers are supposed to do. It's kind of sad because the whole article makes the writer look very ill-informed. I'm a pretty ecletic blogger but I've picked up a lot of good reads from my genre blogger friends. There's a place for all of us!

  16. @Lisa Like I mentioned to a few other commenters, it's really shameful that this writer didn't look into some of the stuff that book bloggers can do for the book industry. We're the grassroots forces and we have a lot of sway! This article just makes the writer look ill-informed.

  17. @booksNyarn I'd seen from a few people that comment moderation seemed to be on and it was taking an awfully long time to get comments moderated. Hopefully that was just a coincidence and not the writer or the website trying to silence people's opinions!

  18. @Teacher/Learner I can't tell you how many reading recommendations I've gotten from fellow bloggers. Book blogging really is about community and one would think that publishers and authors would want to hear from real readers. It can only help them!

  19. I will admit I fit the box she is posting about... I am a stay at home mum.

    But I don't agree with any of the other points. I love reading more involved books like biographies and the few books that I have been sent to review have included historical books, crime thrillers as well as the fantasy/romance.

    Pffft crazy people. lol


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