Are Book Reviews Becoming Irrelevant? | Rants & Rambles

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Rants & Rambles is a weekly feature where I share my own personal thoughts and opinions about both bookish and blogging related topics. As stated, these are MY OWN opinions and while you can choose to disagree with it, I hope that you at least respect it.


This week on Rants & Rambles I want to discuss:

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As book bloggers, our main focus is to read and review books. We help to spread the word about upcoming releases. We recommend books that enjoy, as well as warn others of books that were not so hot.We are are CERTIFIED BOOK PUSHERS

But with that being said, I have a slight confession to make: I DON’T ACTUALLY READ BOOK REVIEWS.

Well, I don’t usually read them. The only time I will actually read a book review is for books I have already read, and even then I don’t always read them because I don’t want my reading experience for that book to be influenced by someone else’s opinions. Even if a person loved a book as much as I did, they may have loved it for different reason and I don’t want that to affect my own reading experience.

Another thing is that I don’t trust ARC reviews. I USED to trust them, but I’ve been badly burned one too many times by ARC reviews. Sometimes I even wonder how honest they really are, but that’s a discussion for another time. I sound like a bit of a hypocrite since I too review ARCs, but honestly guys, my reviews suck. Half the time they are just word vomit and I am always surprised that anyone reads them in the first place!

What I’m really trying to get at with this post, is how relevant are reviews in the book community today? Have we as bloggers become tired of reading them? When looking at the numbers, reviews don’t seem to be trending. For me, reviews typically get the least amount of activity. Compared to discussion posts, tags, and memes, reviews don’t generate the high number of views or comments like I see with other types of post. So how useful are reviews then if no one is really reading them? How much of an influence do we REALLY have when one is deciding whether or not to pick up a particular book?

I don’t really have a solid answer for my own question, but when it comes to the book community, I do feel that reviews are starting to lose their touch. I’ve seen how-to’s on how to ‘spice up’ your reviews, but how EFFECTIVE are they really? I think the problem is that many of us are already ‘in-the-know’ when it comes to upcoming releases, so we are able form our own opinions and therefore choose not to read review posts. 

For the most part, I think reviews are a great marketing tool to help spread the word about new books, but among us bloggers, the appeal is starting to lack. But that necessarily doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Change can be a good thing and I’ve always felt that book blogging is more than just writing reviews and promoting works!


I’m not sure if this discussion even makes any sort of sense, I never said I was good at this sort of thing! Personally for me, book blogging has always been my creative outlet. I do it as a hobby and the thing I love most about it are NOT the ‘perks’ of getting free books and ARCs, but rather the amazing friendships I’ve gained so far and that sounds like a pretty darn good perk to me!

That is all for this week’s Rants & Rambles. I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts!

How often do you read reviews? Do you think reviews are becoming less popular in the book blogging community? 

Let me know in the comments!

3

46 thoughts on “Are Book Reviews Becoming Irrelevant? | Rants & Rambles

  1. I must admit, I don’t read all reviews that pop up in my reader but that’s because I follow a lot of books, so I only read reviews if they are for books I’ve read or for books I’m interested in. I do have a list of blogs I try to stay caught-up with, and if they post reviews I will read them. I’ve found some very interesting books that way which I might not have found otherwise!
    While I post reviews on my blog as well I’m by all means professional. I doubt spicing up a review would attract any more readers since the whole point of a review is that it’s honest. It doesn’t need anything more than that – although I have read a few which were quite funny because the blogger’s personality came through. Those are definitely more enjoyable than dry reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I too have a list of blogs that I visit daily. They are usually bloggers that I have became close with so I trust that they are honest when it comes to their reviews and they tend to not sugar coat things. I do love reading GIF reviews though! They are so entertaining and fun!

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  2. I totally understand what you’re saying and it breaks my heart a little bit when my reviews don’t get as much views because they’re the reason that I started blogging in the first place. Because of that I’ve been making an effort to read and comment on more reviews, especially if it’s a book I’ve read or one I’m really interested in reading. If I want people to look at my reviews, I also have to do the same for others/

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    • I’ve gotten to the point where I’m okay that my reviews don’t get as much traffic like my other posts. Interacting is definitely key and I always take an hour out of my day to do my occasional blog hop, but sometimes I feel that my comments can get repetitive and it annoys me -_-.

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      • Right?! I read a discussion today where a blogger stated her reasons for why she no longer does TTT and her they were so on point! Most of us end up having the same books on our list and most of the comments turn out to be ‘I had (insert book title) on my list too’. It can get overwhelming sometimes for sure.

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      • That’s the reason I don’t do it, it gets really repetitive really easily and while it’s awesome that it’s so popular and helps you get a lot of views, the comment section isn’t as creative. Some people even say like loved it! Here’s mine. And I’m just like 😕. I’d rather you start a conversation with me that makes me interested in your personality and blog than just self promoting in my comments

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  3. I get what you mean about book reviews not getting as much views as other blog posts; and I’m fine with that. Why? Because I love reviewing books. I personally read them, especially when someone who I really trust reviews a book. I find that reviews help me decide whether I should or should not buy a book. Sometimes, I still buy them if I really, really like a book; but, most of the time I just listen to my own thoughts about it. With regards to reading them, I personally enjoy it because it shows me how many different views on has on a certain thing. I love reading about it. Shows us how complex human beings we are, especially in our thinking. Would I continue writing book and movie reviews even if they aren’t the most read post in my blog? Absolutely.

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    • I too wouldn’t stop writing reviews, despite the fact that they are not my most popular posts. I mainly write them for me because I think it allows for me to be creative, which is something I rarely get to do. Other bloggers reviews don’t usually play a role in whether or not I decide to read or buy a book, but there are some reviewers who get really creative with their reviews and I like reading those since it can be a refreshing change from the usual review.

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      • True. That’s very true. But there are “some” that really would make you want to read the book, even if you arent really interested at first. Hehe. Happens to me all the time.

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  4. I am so glad someone has brought this up and feels the same way as me. I don’t read book reviews because I don’t want to love a book, read someones review and my opinion and love for that book dwindle through someone elses influence (which is all you said opps sorry) I took a year out of book blogging and and coming back it seems no one wants to read reviews anymore. Book Reviews are what book blogging is about but I hardly see reviews being featured now.

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    • I’ve noticed that some bloggers have been complaining about writing reviews as if it has become more of a chore than a choice and it’s kind of sad. I do wonder if at some point, reviews may no longer matter and that we will find other ways to promote books. I definitely don’t think that this may be a bad thing though. New ideas allow for growth and that can be a good thing!

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  5. This is such an honest discussion! I totally see where you are coming from… It honestly makes me so sad to think about it especially since reviews are what made us book bloggers in the first place 😦 I’m definitely trying to comment and view more reviews in order to hopefully reverse this trend 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Interacting with other bloggers is definitely important because if you want your blog to get love, you need to share some love as well. I wouldn’t stop reviewing books just because they aren’t my most popular post because I love writing them for me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I only ever read reviews in three kinds of instances:

    1. I’ve already read the book and I want to know what other people think about it.
    2. The book cover (or, in rare occasions, the book title) caught my interest and I want to know if it’s any good.
    3. I’ve been hearing the book EVERYWHERE and the book review is rated as a 3-or-below star, so I want to know why that person didn’t think the book wasn’t as good as how other people think it is.

    Other than those, I admittedly scroll past other book reviews. Even so, I still try to comment on the reviews I do read as much as I can. I want those bloggers to know that I appreciated their review and that they helped me. 🙂

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    • I do like reading reviews when people give overhyped books low ratings. I always want to know if the ‘hype is real’ and when it turns out it not, I feel less pressure to love that book. It reminds me that we don’t all have to like the same book and it is also a great way to meet new bloggers, bonding over a book we hated, haha!

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  7. I do notice that reviews get less comments than other posts and a lot of people try to find new ways to talk about books instead of reviews. I think it is great to see bloggers coming up with unique ways to showcase books, but I simply enjoy writing reviews and I will not stop 🙂 I also like to read them, especially for books I’m not sure about.

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    • I don’t think I would ever stop writing reviews either. They are fun for me and they are even helpful for me when I need a recap for a specific book, especially for series. Too many books and not enough time to always reread them.

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  8. It’s really rare that my book reviews or my posts listing other people’s reviews actually get a comment other than a pingback from someone reblogging it.
    I’m at a loss for how to get the news about a book out there in a different way though.
    I don’t read reviews often either, *sigh*. If they’re a new to me author, I might but most often it’s the synopsis of the book which pulls me in, not the reviews.
    Since the majority of my reading these days is Indie authors reviews don’t always help anyway. They’re either very new on the scene so don’t have a large fanbase to help them by giving reviews or realize that book reviews is only a very small portion of what sells a book in the first place.
    I would rather see a well-written synopsis which leaves me wondering what is going to happen than I would a review written by someone I’ve never met so I don’t know whether I can trust what they say or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally understand where you’re coming from in regards to Indie authors. Many of my favorite books are written by indie authors and I just took a chance on them because the synopsis pulled me in. Someone telling me to read a book because it was amazing just doesn’t cut for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Most reviews have spoilers (and some people write “reviews” that are just summarizing the events of the book) so I avoid them purely for that reason. I mostly read reviews for books I have already read so I can discuss them.

    BUT, I would be lying if I said reviews don’t influence me or help me decide what to read next. If I’m really unsure of a book, I will read a blog that I follow for their opinion or check what my friends have said on Goodreads.

    Yes, they are a marketing tool but you have to get the word out somehow. Movie reviews are the same thing. I rarely read those unless I am really unsure about a movie. If I really want to see a movie that’s been “panned” by the critics, I’ll go whether or not I read the review. Just like I’ll pick up that book I’ve waited a year to read.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I usually put a warning for when I reveal a spoiler, although that only happens when I review a series as a whole. I tend to pick up a book based on covers or synopsis. If I really want to read a book, I’ll read it. Rarely do I take recommendations from friends because if I don’t like a book, I feel bad about hating it. I know we don’t all like the same book, but I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings. This is also why I never recommend my favorite book to anyone. I would probably defend it to the end if someone said they hated it, HAHA!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is such an interesting post, and I applaud your ability to come up with a new topic every week! I’m having such a hard time doing discussion posts monthly, and you seem to do it with ease. 😛

    I can totally see your point of view, though. I read book reviews but only for books I’ve read or books I’m interested in reading, and the very occasional books that have gorgeous covers. And speaking of stats, I agree that book reviews generally get less than other posts, but I can see why — it’s very specific in nature and doesn’t necessarily mean that people are starting to lose interest in them (to me).

    And speaking of ARC reviews… I’m not sure, I haven’t been burned before but perhaps it’s more of a “opinions are subjective” thing to me. No one has ever read the same book, and I could totally hate a book that tons of people have loved before, so maybe it’s a matter of unpopular opinion rather than book reviewers lying or exaggerating about how good a book is? I’m not sure.

    That being said, my ARC reviews normally get a bit more views/likes/comments than my long-released book reviews, and my negative reviews generally get a bit more as well, especially when it’s a popular book. 🙂

    Sorry for the extra long comment! Apparently I have thoughts about this that I still need to explore…

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL, discussion post are not easy. Honestly, I get these random bursts of idea and I basically just hope that no one thinks I’ve gone off my rocker. I may be just going a little bit out there, but I do feel like some reviewers let their relationship with an author influence their rating and I just can’t deal with that. We are rating books, not an author’s personality and I’ve just seen it one too many time where a reviewer would start off their review talking about how nice an author was and the relationship they have with that author and I don’t understand how that has anything to do with the book. But then again, this may just be me. I get that we all have our own opinions, but if every ARC review is 4-5 stars, red flags go up for me. But I love writing reviews and I don’t think I will stop!

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      • I definitely don’t, so I don’t think you should be worried about anyone thinking you’re off your rocker. 😛

        Oooh, yeah, I get what you mean now. I’ve never really read ARC reviews like that, so it’s either I’ve been super sheltered or I just don’t follow people who have tons of author relationships, haha.

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  11. It’s interesting. I’ll read reviews mostly for books I’ve never heard of or books that are super hyped up. I think discovering books is fun and I’ve added some things to my GR list, but I also want to know if the books live up to the hype. Sometimes I’ll read reviews for books I’ve already owned just to see a different perspective.

    But I do think that reviews are lacking. They’re almost for the people NOT in the community who come upon them through a Google search or something. In the community I see that blog tours tend to be more popular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reading negative reviews for overhyped books is entertainment for me. Usually people rage because they were expecting so much more and when they are let down, they get angry. I think sometimes, reviews can become a little repetitive and I usually only add the book if the cover is pretty. I’m just picky when it comes to my TBR. Blog tours are great, but they can be a lot of work sometimes and I procrastinate so I choose not to do them.

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  12. One of the first things I remember hearing when I started book blogging was not to make your site all reviews, because people don’t really read reviews. I’m so with you because I typically only read reviews of books I’ve read to see what other people liked about them.

    I think the issue is that people are tired of seeing the same review format. But it’s honestly hard to deviate from it. But I do still rely on reviews because whatever is being reviewed a lot is probably a book I want to know about.

    But book blogging definitely seems to be more about expressing yourself and interacting with the community than it is about reviewing/recommending books.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I personally have trouble getting creative with my reviews and I usually prefer to put my creative juices toward other types of post. I like to keep my review simple and straight to the point. But I love that the book community isn’t just about reading and reviewing. There is so much more to discuss beyond books and this can even bring about great change, which most of the time ends up being a good thing!

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  14. You know, this is spot on for me too! I was looking at site stats today and realized the posts I spend most time on and get least traction out of are book reviews! It’s almost like I should just leave them to Goodreads or something, and just post discussions or other things on my blog. I feel like I’m only obliged to post reviews, less because I want to post them on my blog and more because it’s just so expected of a “book blogger”. I have a lot more fun with discussion posts.

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    • I can totally relate. I’ve even decided to only post certain reviews on GR and not on my blog. With those types of reviews, I get creative and make graphics which I wouldn’t typically do for my blog reviews. A book blog can be so much more than just for reviews. We can incorporate books into other things, like discussions and I think this change doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

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  16. When it comes to popular & hyped up books, I think it’s not necessarily the content of the book reviews that sways but rather the fact that those titles can be seen everywhere. For publishers then, even if hardly anyone reads the actual book reviews, they aren’t irrelevant. They get the word out and that’s what they care about.

    For lesser known books, book reviews matter because they might convince readers to read these books as well.

    From what I’ve observed, not as many people read my book reviews compared to other kinds of blog posts. However, those who do read them tend to leave thoughtful responses for books they’ve read and add a good number of books to their TBR piles as a result of my reviews.

    So at the end of the day, I don’t think book reviews are irrelevant. To book bloggers deeply anchored in the blogosphere, they might be sick of seeing the same book reviews but to non-bloggers, it’s valuable content, even if they don’t ever comment because they prefer to lurk.

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    • I agree that bloggers don’t take that much interest in reviews because many of us are already in the know about upcoming releases so we’ve already formed some type of opinion about whether or not we will read a book. I have noticed that most of my traffic actually comes from Goodreads. I tend to get responses on my reviews there and some will even click the link and check out my blog. I know as a blogger who tends to read indie books, I do appreciate the little reviews that some get so I can get some type of feeling about whether or not I will like the book.

      For sites like Goodreads and Amazon, reviews are definitely helpful for the regular consumer when it comes to deciding whether or not they will purchase a book, but for us bloggers, I don’t think they have the same effect.

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  18. I don’t know if book reviews are becoming irrelevant, but I think how bloggers interact with book review posts has changed. If you think about it, most of us started book blogging so that we could have a network of book nerds to gush about books with. But, once we started becoming certified book pushers, that made gushing about books with each other a little more challenging. As you said, you really only read reviews for books you’ve read, and I have a hunch that many book bloggers are the same way. I too tend to read and comment on book reviews if it’s for a book I’ve already read…which means the book is probably a backlist read. But, how many bloggers are reading and reviewing backlist books these days? It also gets a little overwhelming as a book release date approaches because my feed reader fills up with reviews for one or two titles, so I end up scrolling past most of them unless it’s a book blogger I really trust.

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    • I kind of prefer seeing blacklist reviews over ARC reviews, but only because I just starting reading again so I’m playing catch up with all the books that already have a huge fan base. It has been hard finding bloggers I trust, but luckily I’ve found a few who have not lead me astray.

      I totally agree with you about us becoming book pushers. It sometimes can get overwhelming, especially if you didn’t love the book as much as everyone else.

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