I, personally, love book reviews.
When I first discovered Goodreads in ~2013, I remember being amazed that there was an entire community that reviewed books – and I immediately wanted to be a part of that. In the years since then, I’ve written almost 300 reviews, and they’ve made up the bulk of my posts on this blog.
For me, book reviews are a key way for me to decide if a book is worth prioritizing in my TBR pile. Whether it’s buying books at Indigo or figuring out which library books I should bring home, one of the first things I do is check Goodreads to see how my friends have rated it. If the ratings are high and the review is positive, that’s more than enough to convince me that it’s worth a read.
Book reviews seem to be less popular in the blogging world
I noticed, though, that while I read a lot of reviews on Goodreads, I don’t tend to read a lot of book reviews that are posted to book blogs. This was also reflected in my blog stats: discussion posts and weekly memes like Top Ten Tuesday had the most engagement, while book reviews were rarely interacted with. ARC reviews were a small exception to this, in that they generated more engagement compared to backlist titles.
Why is this?
On one hand, reviews are definitely a great way to learn more about a book and see if it’s a good fit for you to read. But if it’s a book that you had never heard of, you’re not likely to give it a second glance – which seems counter-intuitive to the book discovery portion of book blogging.
Book reviews also tend to be more analytical, since it’s reflecting upon what you read. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers tie in personal experiences to their reviews, but for the most part, reviews don’t teach you much about the blogger beyond tropes they like or dislike (unless, of course, they’re filled with snark).
Discussion posts and book tags let more of the blogger’s personality shine through, which makes them more relatable. Book blogging isn’t just about books, themselves, after all – it’s about people. One of my favourite parts about blogging has been getting to know other bloggers, and these more personal posts have helped a lot with making these connections!
I’ve been trying to leave more meaningful comments, and definitely find it easier to do this with discussion posts or book tags. That said, I’m definitely going to try to comment on more reviews now that I’ve noticed this, and I hope to discover a lot of new books in the process!
What are your thoughts on book reviews?