Let’s Talk: Blogger to Blogger | Are Reviews a Lost Art?

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Let’s Talk: Blogger to Blogger is a discussion feature that is aimed and dedicated to bloggers. In which we discuss and debate topics from around the blogging community and inspire others.

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Hello! And welcome back to another Blogger to Blogger post!

This has been a topic that I have been thinking about for quite some time. Reviews – and if they are becoming a lost art. I’ve seen a quite a few bloggers admit that they don’t read many reviews unless it’s a book that they have been either a) dying to read or b) have read. And others, admit that their reviews aren’t as popular as other posts on their blog.

Some also say, and I have said this before, that we don’t read reviews before we read the book so we aren’t influenced by that reviewer(s) thoughts. I would like to say that I have grown out of that, because I don’t feel like others’ view influence me THAT MUCH. But there are times when I DO wait. Yet, if someone tells me to read X because it’s just fantastic, I am still going into the book knowing said person loved it. So it’s like a vague, verbal review. LOL

From a blog standpoint, I admit that my reviews don’t get as many hits like other posts, say Blogger to Blogger. Those that do, is usually a book that is really popular or on the hype train. Which is sad, because I want to feature more back list titles. Not saying I wont because of numbers

but why feature a book to showcase, have a discussion about, and/or recommend if no one reads it? 

Do we post for numbers? No. But part of being a blogger is promoting books, right? (correct me if I am wrong, here) so when those reviews aren’t read, I feel like it defeats the purpose.

Is it the [bloggers] writing? Is it the format? Is it because there are so many and you just can’t simply read them all? Or is it simply because the redundancy? The easy answer would to change things up, make it more engaging. But how I post and what I write works for me, and coming from someone who hates change.. Yet, we need to be open to change, and evolve. It’s a double-edged sword.

Let’s talk

  • Do you think reviews are becoming a lost art?
  • What do you like when reading reviews? 
  • Do you think the format, book itself and/or length of the review influence your readers?
  • Are your reviews popular on your blog vs other post types? 
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42 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Blogger to Blogger | Are Reviews a Lost Art?

  1. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I still read a good number of reviews, but I don’t make as much of a point of reading them as I do discussions. I still think reviews are valuable – and I definitely read reviews on Goodreads, even if I don’t always go directly to blogs to read them. But it is true that I often pass up reviews of books I’ve never heard of before unless something specifically catches my eye about them – which is sad, but also just a fact of life with time constraints.
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin – Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    1. tonyalee

      I still read a good number too, I think. Maybe not as many as before blogging, because less time.

      I think they are really valuable as well. But i find that more unique posts get attention, so reviews are left on the wayside, ya know?

  2. Erin Lankes

    I’d have to say that I kind of agree with you, and it’s sad. I really do wish that more people read reviews, and not just because I’m a blogger, but because I’m a reader and I care about what people think about books.

    I know that I pour my heart and soul into each review that I write, so it kills me when I see that they are my least popular post. I don’t spoil things in my reviews, so I really don’t understand why people don’t read them. I know reading reviews is what made me want to be a blogger, and I just don’t understand why it seems like it’s not important to people.

    I do read reviews, although I’ll admit that I’m very careful about the ones that I do read because I want to avoid spoilers. However, if I know that a blogger doesn’t spoil readers, I read their reviews before I read the book. I also read reviews for backlisted books. For me, I love discussing books, and what better way to talk about them than on a review thread?
    Erin Lankes recently posted…Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge 2016: First Half of 2016My Profile

  3. Dede (Dianna)

    You bring up some good points. I love to read book reviews. Thanks to book bloggers, I’ve found many books that became favorites — and I probably wouldn’t have given the book a second glance before.
    When I post my own reviews, it’s more of a way to share my thoughts. I probably should check pageviews to see if they’re lower in visits. Several of my readers have emailed me to say that they love the reviews I post, so I do feel like SOMEONE is reading them.
    Dede (Dianna) recently posted…5 apps that save me time and moneyMy Profile

  4. Jessica@Lovin' Los Libros

    Great topic chica! I’ve wondered the same thing too. I find my memes and discussions get way more feedback than my reviews. Which is fine, but kinda sad at the same time. I almost wonder if it’s me. Is it my writing style? Are they too long? Or are people phasing them out?

    All great questions! I would love to shake my reviews up and do fun things, but oftentimes, I just don’t have the time to sit and think what would be a neat way of expressing how I felt. That’s something I’d like to brainstorm more when I get time.

    I do like reading reviews. Sometimes I hesitate to read ones of books I know I have to review, because I do want to go in unbiased. But more often than I not, I read them anyway. LOL.
    Jessica@Lovin’ Los Libros recently posted…Review: The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. StevensMy Profile

    1. tonyalee

      Memes are popular, but i think that’s for return comments? It’s hard to find who is genuine or not with memes. But that’s another topic all together.

      I wonder this too. Is it my writing? Is it because others don’t want my opinion? It’s rough on the person sometimes, at least for me anyway.

      I try to change things up with my reviews, depending on the book. But, I love my format now so I don’t want to change it too much.
      tonyalee recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up (94) | First Snow in 2016My Profile

  5. Lauren @ Bookmark Lit

    I started my blog with the idea of reviewing books, and I think most of us feel that way. It can be the most tedious part of blogging (which is odd) because we now have so many other features and discussions to share instead. I actually like writing and reading reviews a lot of the time. I actually read them before reading the book too! I have the WORRRRST memory, so the likelihood I remember what a blogger previously said and use it in my own review is so ridiculously slim haha. Half the time I barely remember the plot of the book for my review 😉 But really, I think many people still READ review posts, but they don’t get a lot of comments. There’s not much to say besides “great review” or “I think I’ll check this one out” so people may not bother writing anything? One of my goals was to cut back on reviews because I post them three times a week most of the time and it makes my blog feel less.. fun? So I hope to start grouping more books together in review posts and sharing the posts less often, just to leave room for other things on my calendar.
    Lauren @ Bookmark Lit recently posted…Organization Part Four: Reading NotebooksMy Profile

    1. tonyalee

      I started mine with the same thought. to review them. So, I do find it odd that they are going awry. I read plenty of reviews, maybe not in a timely fashion, but I read more than i comment LOL

      I have a really good memory, it’s scary. You could tell me something about a book that you hated, and when I get to it, I will me like, “Oh, Lauren HATED THIS PART.” SO there are times I am hesitant but not as much as I use to be.

      ANd yes, commenting on reviews are hard. I don’t have a set number of reviews that i post per week, depends on my mood, what else is going on etc. But i have noticed for about the last 2 months, there are not as many.
      tonyalee recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up (94) | First Snow in 2016My Profile

  6. Britt @ Not So Teen Reads

    I tend to fully read reviews of books I’ve read before, but only skim on ones that I haven’t. Mostly because I don’t want to get spoiled, but I still want to know what the person that I follow thinks of the book. That way I can either prioritize it on my TBR or not, whatever the case may be. My blog is tiny and my reviews definitely get less page views than other posts. I just assumed that it’s usually because my other posts are usually weekly memes, so they’re getting linked in other places and my reviews aren’t. It doesn’t really bother me because I started blogging/writing reviews specifically so I would remember what I read better and it still helps in that aspect.
    Britt @ Not So Teen Reads recently posted…Sanctuary Bay – Laura J. Burns & Melinda MetzMy Profile

  7. Sheri @ Tangled Up In Books

    Something I’ve wondered about quite often. For me, I tend to, if it’s about a book I plan on reading at some point, I tend to just skim the review and get the gist of what that person felt towards the book. And it’s not really that I’m worried about being influenced because, like you said about yourself, I tend to not let that cloud my judgement these days. For myself it’s more like I want to go into a book, normally, completely blank or blind and not know anything and I always worry about knowing even just the tiniest scraps of information about the book before I start. I don’t know, I mean if I’m in the middle of a series I won’t even read the blurbs of books that follow the first one.

    Some people, and I’ve probably done it accidentally at some point in the past few years, throw out spoilers without even thinking about it or giving fair warning ahead of time so it’s made me nervous about reading a review before I pick up a book.

    I don’t know….maybe it’s time consuming? We’ve all got such busy lives that sitting here reading every single review of the blogs we follow, commenting, getting our own blogging done and reading our own books may become overwhelming and daunting to some people? Especially since reading/blogging aren’t the only things a lot of us have to fill our spare time up with. *Shrugs* Just a possibility.

    Or I don’t know maybe they are just starting to fade away. Which would be sad.

    Very thought provoking discussion lady! 🙂

    1. tonyalee

      That’s another point, whether or not they are series books. It’s always hard to review those as it is, ya know? I think the whole spoilers thing is subjective. There are things I find in books NOT to be a spoiler while others are hunting me down for spoiling them. So, I see that point.

      It is time consuming. But that would depend on how you follow. Like, when I take breaks at work or in the car, I get on apps and read posts.
      tonyalee recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up (94) | First Snow in 2016My Profile

  8. Karen Blue

    I read reviews on other blogs a lot. I always expect people to comment on my reviews (I usually get at least one comment). I feel like reviews are why I started blogging. My reviews are a lot like Im telling someone about the book, so that makes me excited to write them.
    I know the trend for some is to stop writing so many reviews and post more discussion type posts but I still love reviewing.
    Karen Blue recently posted…Review: THE KILLING JAR by Jennifer BosworthMy Profile

  9. Sara

    Timely post, I’ll be blogging about reviews next week, and why I don’t write them at all now (nor do I read them on other blogs, for the most part). I’m blogging because I enjoy being a part of the book blogging community and having a place to write etc. and I’m not blogging to promote certain books. I’m not doing ARCS etc. I want to go beyond that and blog about reading topics on a more general level and not so much about specific books (this makes perfect sense in my head, but probably sounds like gibberish when I type it out, lol). With my old blog I focused on reviews and frankly I was bored and so were my readers. This time around I’ll be focusing on discussion posts etc. and so far the response has been pretty positive, and I’m having way more fun now 🙂
    Sara recently posted…Why I Deleted My TBR ListMy Profile

    1. tonyalee

      Oh really? Interesting, i can’t wait to see it.

      I think we can still promote books without reviews, sure. I like the community as well, but not as heavily involved.

      That’s awesome you want to take things to a new level. And yes, it makes sense! I also see changing how you do things because you yourself was bored.
      tonyalee recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up (94) | First Snow in 2016My Profile

  10. Trish @ Between My Lines

    There is a huge trend of not reading reviews I think. But I like writing reviews and I enjoy looking back and reading my own reviews so that alone makes me them worthwhile for me. Without a shadow of a doubt, discussions are far more popular on my blog which is fine as I love them too. I’m always a bit amazed at people who write reviews that don’t enjoy reading reviews, as that doesn’t add up to me! I do get though that we are probably all a bit overwhelmed with the sheer volume of reviews that we come across weekly on blogs.

    I’m one who doesn’t read reviews when I’m close to reading the same book, then again I don’t even read blurbs properly, I like going in blind. But for a book I know nothing about but that catches my eye or a book I’ve read, I like checking those reviews.
    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted…The Sunday Post : Get your Bookish News #HackedMy Profile

    1. tonyalee

      Sometimes when I read my old reviews, I laugh. LOL It’s always fun to do that. I know some bloggers that don’t even follow other blogs or read. Which is fine.

      It all depends on the person reviewing, the book etc.

  11. Lois @ My Midnight Musing

    My favourite posts to write are reviews. I love being able to just air my thoughts and feelings about the books I read. However, I do find that reviews are my least popular posts which sucks because I’m usually quite proud of them. Personally I am more likely to read reviews of books I’ve heard about and am excited about and while hype makes me nervous to read a book, I don’t particularly think that reviews influence my reading experience.
    Lois @ My Midnight Musing recently posted…Review: Something Real by Heather DemetriosMy Profile

    1. tonyalee

      I love writing them too, and makes me sad when they are viewed! But I get it – there are a lot of blogs, a lot of reviews etc.

      Hype makes me REALLY nervous. But, I don’t read reviews of overly hyped books because honestly, they all sound the same.

  12. Joan @ Fiddler Blue

    I get a lot of views for book reviews for popular titles (either old or new) but not so much with the indie ones. Discussion posts are kind of like the new trend in book blogging, or at least that’s what I observed, because they do facilitate discussions and comments. 🙂 Personally, I still read reviews but I mostly do it on Good Reads because it’s easier to read multiple reviews for a single book in their website. ^^
    Joan @ Fiddler Blue recently posted…Book Review: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)My Profile

    1. tonyalee

      Yes, it seems like discussions are the THING. I didn’t post many discussions when I started blogging, mainly because I didn’t know what to talk about yet lol

      yeah, Goodreads IS easier. But i hate all the gifs and pics so I try and avoid specific genres on GR.

  13. Jackie

    I don’t think I notice a huge difference in traffic between book reviews and non-book reviews. It could be that I read a fair amount of backlist books, which invites discussion among bloggers easier than an ARC or even just a new release.

    As for a reader of blogs, I’m a bit of a mixed bag. I gravitate towards book reviews for books I’ve read because I’m actually able to leave a thoughtful comment. I tend to stay away from the books everyone is reading and reviewing because I get tired of seeing the same review over and over. I’m more likely to read the review if a blogger I trust writes about it. As for the rest, if I’ve not read it and I don’t see it everywhere, that piqued my interest, so I’ll click on over and skim through it. If they’ve sold me on the book, I’ll let them know.

    I don’t know if reviews are a lost art, but they are certainly under appreciated. I know there are some bloggers who are vocal about not reading reviews, and I respect that. But we have to understand that these few people are not the voice of all bloggers. They aren’t even the voice of our entire audience really. I was a reader only of book blogs for nearly a year before starting my own blog. As just a reader of blogs, I devoured reviews!

    1. tonyalee

      Yes, I agree. It’s easier to discuss back list because *most* are read.

      Under appreciated is the perfect way to describe it. I was the same way, but mainly on goodreads, because I didn’t know about blogs before blogging (obviously i did to create mine, but you know what i mean)

  14. Tessa

    For better or for worse, I do believe that the traditional review is declining. They are not completely dying out, but they are also not the most popular posts on blogs anymore. I have seen a lot of bloggers (myself included) stop posting as many reviews in favor of other posts, like memes and discussions. But, that certainly does not mean that book reviews are not important. I like to read reviews about books that I know nothing about or am thinking about purchasing, so I know whether it is worth it or not. I will not read reviews of the same books ten billion times, but I still like to get a feel for a book in a review. And I am not the only one who believes that. They are basically the structure of our community.
    On the other hand, I do believe that we need to spice up our reviews as a whole community. Large blocks of text are not the most interesting thing to read, so we need to come up with new and creative ways to show our opinions about a book.
    Tessa recently posted…Mini-Reviews | Breaking hearts, demons, and thoughts on how we treat peopleMy Profile

    1. tonyalee

      Yeah, it seems to be that way. Everyone always talks about spicing things up because it gets boring or repetitive. While I get it, I just want to stick to what I’m good at haha Yet, if they are too long, I even skim. It’s hard to think of new ways, but I am sure we will all evolve with the times lol

  15. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    I agree with you. I feel like even in my short 2.5 years around here, there’s been a shift. BUT I think I saw it coming, if that makes sense? Like, even when I was new, I saw that bloggers usually had crap tons of comments on discussion posts, and like, two on a review. But the discussions and non-reviews were also less prevalent, so I guess that is what makes the difference. Blogs in general seemed more review based.

    To be honest, I like this. It’s more variety. That isn’t to say I don’t like reviews though, because I very much do! Like you said about some other people, I don’t read reviews until I have read the book. Not because of influence or anything, but I hate having ANYTHING spoiled, even the most basic of stuff. This isn’t the reviewer’s fault, it’s just my own weird thing, so I wait until I have read the book. I DO read reviews for books I am on the fence about though. OR that I am never planning to read, because why not? Who knows, maybe I will find my next favorite that way!

    As for what I like about a review? Anything that doesn’t feel like I am reading someone’s book report, basically. I like to see personality! If I wanted a stuffy review, I’d head over to some “professional” outlet. I want to know what likeminded people thing, and I feel like those people would be having fun with it. Admittedly, my reviews are not in any way professional, and probably make some people cringe, but hey, it’s all a matter of preference 😀 GREAT topic!!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Do These Deserve Precious Shelf Space?My Profile

    1. tonyalee

      See, but just because there aren’t many comments, doesn’t mean they aren’t read. For me, it’s hard to comment on a review without sounding dull all the time. So I hardly EVER comment on them. But I DO read them. So the views should show that those people are getting some visits, ya know?

      I get wanting personality, I do. Because again, NO DULL. But. I honestly want SOMETHING that isn’t all about the emotion, especially since I am not a mood reader, or an overly emotional one either. If someone HATES a book because it has a love triangle, that’s fine. but how was the writing? How was the pacing? How was the world? Make sense? So I think there needs to be SOMETHING other than !!!!!! and emotions. But that’s just me. It also bugs me when people comment on lack of a romance for a non romance genre book lol but that’s another topic for another day.

  16. Cat

    To be honest with you all, the only reason I actually started writing reviews was because I wanted to keep a record of how I liked the book and if I’d reread it…. It was for me. After time I kind of forget what a book is about, especially if it wasn’t anything special. I just happened to write my reviews on Goodreads, and now my blog. If someone has also read the book and we can fangirl together – awesome! However, I do it more for me, not for “views”.

  17. Dena @ Batch of Books

    Like you, I’ve found that my review posts get far less traffic than other posts like discussion or book lists, with the exception of hype books.

    I typically skim other reviews. Most of the time, they’re too long and rambling for me to sit and read the whole thing. But I will read an entire discussion post or book list.

    I feel like reviews are definitely starting to fade in popularity, but they’re still necessary for books to succeed on Amazon and Goodreads. So I feel really conflicted about them.

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