As many of us did, I started my blog to talk about the books I read aka book reviews. At some point, people in my real life could only take so much of my nerdiness and were glad that I found a place (where they weren’t required to be present) to do that.
That is why, despite what the statistics say and constant murmur about how “nobody reads book reviews”, I can’t give up writing on book reviews on my blog. Yes I agree they bring fewer comments and likes, if at all, but it is something I do for myself – even if it has shifted being a rant review from the initial days to a more structured format now.
It is true that many book bloggers have reduced the frequency of posting book reviews. And a few have even stopped posting them altogether on their blogs and publish them on Goodreads instead. Well, that is never happening on Elgee Writes.
I am good at over-analyzing things and sometimes I do make sense. I have been wondering why book reviews don’t get engagement, despite the fact that just few years ago, that was all the book blogs were doing.
Why book reviews don’t get engagement, actually?
Why aren’t book reviews getting the attention they deserve? Especially considering they are one of the hardest type of posts to write on a book blog. Well, let me
over-analyze that for you.
“I want review of *insert hyped book title*!”
The popularity of the book reviews is almost dependent on how popular the books you review are. But as a reader/reviewer, I can not always read books that are popular because
- I may not have access to all the popular books due to geography and duh.. money.
- I may not be interested in those books, bringing me to the next point.
“I don’t read historical romance!”
Every reader/blogger has a favorite genre of books. And not everyone will love to read all genres. I for one, read very few Science Fiction and fewer Fantasy books.
I am definitely losing on readers who are looking for reviews of Sci-fi/Fantasy books. For want of more readers, I don’t think I can spend time reading what I am not interested. I know that goes against everything blogging stands for, but sorry.
“Reviews are very subjective”
More often than not, book reviews in blogs talk about what WE THINK of the book, as blogs should be doing. We end up talking what WE liked in a book and what WE didn’t. We do not talk about what was good and bad in an objective manner, nor many of us aim to do that too.
Obviously, we like that kinda subjectivity and prefer to keep that way. So unless the reader shares our tastes and preferences in choosing books, they may choose to ignore our reviews and we can do nothing about it.
“Part three? I have not even read the first!!”
Trilogies are all the rage currently. And when you review a book that is part of a series, you have a fairly smaller audience because unless they have read the other books the readers may not be interested in yours at all.
Sometimes readers might hold out on reading your review until they read other parts so that they can avoid its influenced.
“Have I heard of this book?!”
If your reading tastes are anything like mine, your reviews will be books that very few people have heard of. My reading list rarely consists of popular books, though I am trying to change that and begun reading more Young Adults and romances last year.
So it goes without being said, those book reviews have fewer engagements. As a reader of “not so popular-yet” books, I have to take that chance.
“Reviews are not honest enough”
Of late there has been a shift in the review field, that bloggers are shying away or refraining from giving a negative or even a moderately critical review for any book.
Yes I understand why they decide to do that (saving their mind’s peace is one of the main reason) but still as a reader I might want to know what went wrong in the book by reading a review.
So when that doesn’t happen often they might tend to quickly dismiss reviews as mere promotion tool for the author.
“What to comment?!”
Many a times, readers are genuinely stumped, not knowing what to say. Unless your reviews stand out and make them want to talk about them, book reviews usually do not invoke much response. What could they say about your thoughts about a book they have not read yet?
I usually throw them a lifeline asking something generic at the end of my post so that it might help to comment, even without reading that particular book. But beyond that, there is nothing else I can do about it.
Can we make book reviews better?
On an average, I follow about 50+ book blogs on a regular basis and if each even posts one book review per week I read about 150 book reviews approximately each month. I am sure many bloggers do more than I do.
That makes it quite understandable that people skip commenting on book reviews, which let’s face it, are a drag compared to other posts like tags or discussions.
So it is on us as a blogger to make the reviews more engaging and interesting. I will post more on that in the coming weeks.
Let us talk
Do you still post book reviews on your blog? Why do you think book reviews don’t get engagement at all? If you are a reader, let us know what do you expect from a review to make it more useful? Let us talk.