BookTubing vs. BookBlogging – Is This Really A Thing?

2015-Discussion-ChallengeApparently, BookTube and Book Blogs are at war, and I’m wondering if I’m the only one who didn’t get the memo?

I decided to write this post to share my thoughts on why this perception may exist, and why I think it’s important for members of both communities to not be afraid to speak up and say, “hey, there’s actually no bad blood here”.

My awareness of this “issue” began with watching Thoughts on Tomes video on YouTube. A couple of days later, I actually stumbled upon this post, which was written by the Blogger in question in Sam’s video.

First of all, it is my opinion that Book Blogs and BookTube are two separate communities. Yes, both groups love to read and put reviews out there on the inter-webby-waves, but we are two distinct platforms, which overlap at times, but aren’t really one and the same. When you think about it, BookTubers rarely participate in the same memes or tags that Book Blogs do, and Book Bloggers don’t collaborate with BookTubers on joint features (not necessarily because they don’t want to, but we’re on two different platforms, it would be tricky). I’m sure BookTubers read Book Blogs, and I know Book Bloggers watch BookTube, but that’s usually where the cross-over ends, and I don’t think this distinction should be viewed in a negative light. Book Blogs and BookTube essentially cater to different audiences, and it’s OK that there are two different communities. What isn’t OK is when those communities start being negative towards each other.

From watching videos, reading blog posts, and generally snooping around the Internet, it seems that there are a couple of main points of contention:

  • BookTubers get paid to do sponsored content and Book Blogs don’t.

I don’t know if there are some Book Blogs out there that manage to make some cash from their hobby, but it seems to be more common-place for BookTubers. Not all BookTubers get paid to do sponsored content, but some of the “bigger” ones do. Personally, I’m divided on this. I think it’s great that they can be compensated for the ridiculous amount of time and effort it takes to make content (whether that’s written or video-based). However, I do question if it’s possible to remain objective when you are directly benefiting from promoting the product. This is still a relatively new practice, and I think that’s where most of the doubt seeps in – because it is a new practice, no one really knows how much ££ is made from these deals, and when something appears to be secretive, it’s automatically associated with being shady.

  • BookTubers get more attention from Publishers.

This perception likely comes from the number of ARCs BookTubers haul compared to the number of ARCs Book Blogs haul. As a Book Blogger, I am in awe of the number of hits BookTubers get, but again, different audience and different media platform. However, BookTubers seem to be insistent that actually, Book Blogs get more attention from publishers because they are longer established and publishers are more comfortable working with them. Hmm. I see the point, but I’m not sure I agree, BookTube has taken off in a big way and has been around for quite a few years now, and publishers are obviously going to want a piece of that pie. And that’s perfectly OK. But I can see why Book Bloggers want to make sure they’re not left behind.

  • BookTubers are an elitist club that are closed to new-comers.

I’m not on BookTube, so I’ve no first hand experience of this, but I’ve seen and heard about some people’s personal experiences, and they’re not always positive. I think in most cases though, this is a perception, more than a reality, and it can happen in the Book Blog community too. Book Bloggers and BookTubers will have certain friendship groups that have formed, which may give the appearance of a “closed group”, but the majority that I have interacted with are friendly and willing to chat/respond.

Recently, some Book Bloggers have started a BookTube channel (Asti and Tara), and I know there are some BookTubers who also have a Book Blog, though inevitably I think most will have more of a presence on one platform than the other, because we all need time to actually read the book too. I think this is a great way for the communities to be meshed together, as neither Asti or Tara can now be referred to as just one or the other.

Asti’s recent BookTube channel launch made me think of other ways the two communities could come together, so part of the reason I made this post, was to highlight the BookTubers I love and follow. BookTubers and Book Bloggers often do shout-outs, spotlights and other types of posts and videos, to highlight their favourite channels and blogs, but they rarely involve referencing members of the “opposite” community. I was originally planning to do this once I’d finished my Bloggy Love posts for all the Book Blogs I follow, but that will take some time to get to. So, be warned, at the end of this post is an extensive list of some BookTubers I love to watch!

Before you scroll down and open numerous tabs on your browser, tell me what you think of the BookTube versus Book Blog debate? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

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33 comments

  1. Well, I didn’t get the memo either…. I watch quite a lot of booktubers and read a lot of book blogs but you’re right when you say that they are totally different platforms. As long as people stay honest in their opinions, and don’t hate on others, I have no problems with either. I just think that sometimes, people like to create drama. Maybe that’s where the “wars” come from…

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    1. I definitely read a lot of blogs, and watch a lot of BookTubers, though I don’t consider myself to be part of the BookTube community obviously because I don’t contribute to it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t support it. I do think sometimes drama can be created or escalated over a minority/nothing, and rather wasting energy directing it at the negativity, we’d be better off creating positivity to counter-act it, which was kind of the reasoning behind this post. Hope you find some great new BookTubers to watch! There’s a good mix in there. R x

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  2. I had my first experience with this last year at BEA. There was a discussion panel about the many ways book bloggers have helped the publishing industry. However, in that panel, there were only book tubers present – which was fine, but the content of that discussion pretty much alienated the book bloggers who write their book reviews and promotions instead of filming themselves. We were not represented. To top that off, one book tuber from the panel (she’s uber popular, apparently) said, “nobody wants to read a book review, they’d rather watch someone talk about it”. I walked out after that, as did several people in attendance. That basically left a bad taste in my mouth.

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    1. This post was written in response to an incident that apparently happened at this year’s BEA. But I did hear about last year’s incident at the time. Being still so new to the community then, I observed it, but didn’t have a comment for it. Excellent point though, Joy, because this time round the general consensus is that Book Bloggers are hating on BookTubers, and that it doesn’t happen the other way around, when clearly it can and does. If I remember correctly, the BookTuber who made that statement, I don’t follow and never have, and it’s not because of that comment, I just don’t personally enjoy their style of videos. I follow a lot of BookTubers, and there are lots of high quality, entertaining channels out there. I do feel the BEA incident last year was nearly more BEA’s fault than anyone else’s, calling the panel Book Bloggers, and then featuring BookTubers, and no book blog panel at all, is it any wonder the blogging community was beginning to feel forgotten and dumped? Though again, the organisers’ fault, not the community’s. I think it’s just about time we started supporting one another instead of making it into some form of competition, because as I said in the post, I think we are complementary to one another, but due to our audiences and platforms, we’re not even in competition in the first place. Thanks for commenting, Joy! R x

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  3. Thanks for the great list of booktubers, I do like to find new ones to watch. I have heard bits and pieces of goings on in this issue, but not much. It is interesting because as you say, we all love books and we each have chosen our platform. I much prefer to write a blog, but I watch vlogs and read blogs. Saying that I interact with bloggers much more. I see no reason for bad feelings.
    Amanda.

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    1. No problem, Amanda, I hope you find some you love! I prefer blogging because I prefer the slight more anonymity that comes with it, that and I just wouldn’t have the inclination towards videos and editing. But I love watching them! I don’t comment on many videos to be honest, but I do watch A LOT. I definitely think there are missed opportunities for both communities to work together 🙂 R x

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  4. Thanks for mentioning my channel Rachel! I was actually on Twitter when the whole booktube vs. book blogging thing was going down, and I found it really quite sad. Yeah, there will always be some differences because they are different platforms, but that doesn’t mean one is better than the other. I’d say in a lot of ways they both take similar amounts of work, the work itself is just different. I’m having fun trying to integrate the two when it comes to my content, and think it’s great you’re going to try and do the same. And, you know, as a new booktuber I’m happy you shared your list of booktube channels you watch because I don’t know a whole lot just yet. I’m off to go check some out now 🙂

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    1. No problem! It’s so interesting watching BookTube videos of bloggers I’ve been following for a while. I can hear your voice! And *see* the personality I’d been reading on screen! I found the whole thing incredibly sad too, and the fact that there *may* be the odd “bad egg” with negative opinions casting a negative light over the community for all of us, it wasn’t fair, so I thought I’d grow a set and try to add my thoughts into the mix. I see LOADS of BookTuber Shout Out videos etc. and it would be really nice if the BookTube community integrated the Book Blogging community and vice versa (assuming some BookTubers read Book Blogs). I’m even trying to think of features that could be done on both platforms so I could reach out to one or two and try to partner on something. Oh there’s some on that list I simply LOVE, I spend ages going through their back-videos too (be warned BookTubers, I do do this!). Very entertaining. Thanks for the positive comment, Asti, I wasn’t sure how this would be received. R x

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  5. AHOY TO INCOHERENT BABBLE!

    Is this war recent (as in within the week)? Or the one that’s been happening for a while? But then again, will the divide really end?

    I don’t know if I agree with the participation of memes/tags based on platform alone. A tag isn’t mutually exclusive to a group and [I think] I’ve seen more-often-than-not (though it might be due to skewed visibility) that bloggers would say “I saw this tag on ABC booktube”. I can’t claim the inverse is true because I actually rarely watch booktube.

    Speaking to your point on cliques, it’s a pretty common thing irrespective of popularity; though these are the ones that get chirped on most. For example, could I say that your Babes & Books feature gives off a clique-y vibe? Yeah, I can, but it doesn’t mean you’re defined by just this group. However, it doesn’t mean that people won’t see you as more than just this either. Do you see the non-problem we create for ourselves?

    I’m not downplaying that you can’t have a close group of friends, it’s just that this idea of closeness creates this immaterial divide that’s hard to get past.

    I haven’t known those to be “top tier” bloggers (or otherwise) to not be receptive of people who reach out. Though, I have seen the rare case that they rarely respond to comments (or leave comments on smaller forums). That’s sort of understandable. I think there’s just this pretense that bigger names are self-absorbed, I guess? That they don’t have time for the little person behind the screen? I don’t know; this sounds like I’m shooting at blanks.

    In the end, both platforms have their own merits and a blend of intended audience. Though, personally, I do feel like the BookTube communite gets more visibility from the “other readers” category who aren’t any type of blogger/tuber (and may be just a Goodreader).

    I think the sad thing about this whole war is that it won’t end. It might simmer down for a while but the problems will surely resurface because if I’m honest, all of the concerns you brought up aren’t the first, second, or fifth time I’ve heard about it. I can’t really fault those who are concerned about the visibility, notoriety, fame, wealth, etc., that people have with these outlets. It’s their voice to have. The problem for me does then look towards the fact that this numbers game detracts from the fundamental point of literacy to begin with. But both sides are well taken.

    So, yeah, this fucking vomit of mine needs to end (for now). LOL.

    Cheers,
    Joey via. thoughts and afterthoughts

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    1. Yay – here comes the word vomit! I feel like I need to do some finger push-ups to prepare…

      The “war” as such apparently happened on Twitter about 3/4 weeks ago (it took me a little while to build up the courage to post this, and to make sure I had worded it correctly), you should really watch Sam’s video and then read the blog post to get a feel for what went down. The only other previous incident I really know of was at BEA last year, and it was pretty much the organiser’s fault as opposed to the community. Pretty much. I don’t think there is a “war” as such, I think there may be some issues among a select few, but rather than letting it fester I thought I would throw a bucket of positivity around it to put it out.

      I should clarify the point about the tags – I have seen Book Blogs take tags they’ve seen being done on BookTube and adapt it for a blog, I’ve done it, and referenced the creator of course. Though, you’re right, I’ve never seen a BookTuber take a Book Blog tag and adapt it. I can’t speak for the BookTube community, but I do feel “we” watch more BookTube than “they” read blogs. (I’m doing “we” and “they” because I don’t feel it should be an us and them scenario, but it clarifies the groups I’m referring to). I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it would be nice for the communities to interact more. When it comes to the tags either group do, what I mean by that, is that we are two distinct communities in the sense that BookTubers don’t “tag” bloggers, and bloggers don’t “tag” BookTubers to do said tags, so there’s little in the way of collaboration/interaction between the groups.

      I specifically mentioned friendship groups in this post as opposed to cliques. Cliques has a negative connotation, that it is a closed group, whereas friendship groups are naturally formed – for example, me and you doing (S)he Said, and me, Brandie and Stef doing Babes and Books. Those features were borne out of an online friendship, but I would do joint reviews with other bloggers and other features with other bloggers if the situation presented itself. Those friendship groups in and of themselves don’t make us closed off, but I can see how to newcomers it may look that way because our friendships are established, which is the perception that can sometimes be created. In that sense, I guess I’m defending the friendship groups on BookTube because there can be said to be a similarity I can relate to in Book Blogging. However, what I was specifically getting at are the bigger names who don’t really reply to comments, and are in tighter groups, who feel unwelcoming to newcomers. I’ve faced this in Book Blogging with a select few, and apparently the same thing happens in BookTube. However, I think this will happen in all online communities, and it’s a slightly different topic to BookTube versus Book Blogs, as the “elitism” can happen in both communities. The only solution to this is for the majority of us to be inclusive, which to be honest I feel we are, we all find our own niche, but even now I’m still making new friends and forming new features (so, newbies, hit me up!).

      Luckily, I don’t think there is a “war” as such, it flares up every now and then because of a small number of people, but like I say, I think if others don’t address it head on, it will be allowed to fester, and may lead to more aggravation over the perception that there is a problem. So I just thought I’d speak up about it now. Maybe one little post will inspire members of either community to cross post, or leave a comment on a platform that isn’t their own, or approach a member from the “opposite” community about doing a collaboration, and how cool would that be? Only takes a little step to make some positive change 😀 R x

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  6. I’m glad to see this post! I was going to do this for one of my Discussion Thursdays but I put it off. I also found this out through Sam’s video! Honestly I think this whole things between book bloggers and book tubers is ridiculous! We discuss the same content. Book tubers may get more attention because companies realise and take advantage of this new internet sensation that THEY believe would be most beneficial for their marketing.
    But I think we should all just accept each other. We talk about the same content and read the same books (well not really) so there should not be a divide between us.
    I might actually do this topic this Thursday! xoxo

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    1. I put off posting this for over a week too, I was nervous about it because I wasn’t sure how it would be received and wanted to make sure I worded it exactly how I wanted it to come across. I’m so glad people understand where I’m coming from with it! I couldn’t agree more, Josie. Two platforms, two styles, two communities, but one intention. I would love to see more collaborations between BookTube and Book Blogs! Link me up to your post if you do one R x

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  7. Umm…I didn’t get that memo either. I like the way you’ve described them as two separate communities – spot on. I don’t know much about booktubing as I tend to stay in my little corner, but now I can check some out!

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    1. You definitely should! I’m obsessed with watching BookTube! Lol I do think we’re two separate communities, but I do think we can share the love more too R x

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  8. I think the argument is kinda silly…like you said: they’re DIFFERENT platforms and they appeal to dIFFERENT people. But humanoids always get into tangles over stuff being different , right?! It’s a bit of a shame really. But I know the blogger at A Perfection Called Books and I’m really sad her words got totally flung out of context. 😦 She’s a really nice blogger.

    As for the getting paid…yeeeees, on one hand I can see how it might make you think the booktubers (or bloggers) aren’t going to be as honest. But I understand it too much. To get paid to do something you LOVE? Like that’s incredible and I don’t think it’s fair to automatically doubt them. (Although, to be sure! There’d be people doing it for the money not the honesty/love of books. I don’t want to make any blanket statements. :P) Aaanyway. super interesting discussion, Rachel!!

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    1. Good point, Cait! We often have to remind ourselves that difference should be celebrated! I think it was taken out of context and a misunderstanding too that went too far, and there was really no need to make an issue out of it. I’m glad someone who knows the blogger has commented. It’s done now though, I just hope that by adding my very small contribution (which likely won’t be seen by many, but hopefully some!), that it encourages others to speak up when they feel things that are being said are incorrect. R x

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  9. I also missed the memo. I wasn’t aware that we’re supposed to hate each other. 🙂

    Thanks for the list of BookTubers. I’ve been looking for more of them to watch. I prefer writing my reviews, so I don’t think I’d join BookTube, but I do like watching their videos.

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    1. I’m glad so many who have commented are oblivious! It just goes to show a trivial matter had negative attention brought to it that wasn’t needed! I don’t think I’ll become a contributor either, but there are some channels I love to watch! R x

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  10. I must be more introverted than I thought because I had no idea this kind of competition happens. I know it happens across some book bloggers, but I also know some book bloggers who also do videos, including the videos on the book blog. I don’t know that I prefer one way over the other but I do tend to read book reviews more because I can go through them much faster than it takes for someone to talk about a book. When I follow a lot of people, the last thing I want is to spend 15 minutes or more on a book review when I can read the same thing in about a minute or so, add it to my TBR, and move on to the next. Of course, I have seen some book tubers who are just flat-out entertaining, and I enjoy watching those. Just my li’l ole opinion.

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    1. Yea, sadly it can do, but it only seems to come to the fore every now and then. This time round I thought I would put some thoughts out there about it. Hmm… I do spend a good amount of time watching BookTube, I put it on in the background even when I’m making dinner and stuff to catchup, which is handy. I discovered you can increase the speed of the video, which is very handy! Lol It takes me longer to read a blog and comment in terms of multi-tasking, but blogging is where I interact most for definite. You should check out some of the BookTubers I’ve linked and see if there’s any new ones for you to follow. I love them all for very different reasons! R x

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  11. I didn’t even know there was conflict between book bloggers and book tubers and I definitely don’t understand why. I mean, we’re all doing the same thing, just in our own chosen way. This is definitely a thing I want to stay out of, but I do find it a bit strange. Would I like to get paid for my blog, who wouldn’t? Do I care if someone else somewhere is compensated for what they do? No, but I do hope they are staying critical if they are because I hate nothing more than when someone let’s such simple things influence their thoughts.

    Personally, I’m not a huge booktube watcher more because it involves a lot more concentration and time on my part watching the videos, I’d much rather just read over a blog post, it’s quicker. I get why they’re popular, though. I do visit booktubes occasionally because I like talking about books and I am always impressed, it takes a lot of time to film the videos and I cannot fault them for the amount of work they put in. I don’t see why we can’t all get along. I would love to see more crossover between the two because that could be fun, but I get it would be difficult.

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    1. Thankfully, I don’t think it’s a mainstream issue, just something that creeps up now and then between smaller groups, but when it is brought to light on a mainstream platform, I think it’s important for others, who don’t agree that there is or should be an issue, to counteract it with positivity.

      I think we’d all like to monetise in some way, if only because doing what we do does take time and effort, and it does support the industry, but it’s not an easy thing to do. The beauty bloggers have mastered it somehow, we needs tips! However, I agree that when a blog, or any other outlet, turns commercial, it is difficult to maintain trust in the critique, and that’s challenging, because without trust in the reviews and opinions, the point of the outlet becomes moot. It may as well be a paid for ad.

      There’s a few BookTubers in particular I religiously watch, and over time they honed their skills pretty well. They’re really entertaining. There are others that wouldn’t be as… experienced? But I watch them, or listen to them in the background when I’m doing other things. I would LOVE to see more crossover, in fact I’m trying to think of ways to make that happen… Will require some more thinking time. R x

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  12. I’ve heard of this “conflict” mentioned before, but I’ve never delved into the reasons why, so thanks for providing an explanation. (I had no idea that much of it is due to ARC jealousy. So silly.)

    I’ve never watched a BookTube video. I have, however, watched a few videos by book bloggers I follow, and that’s enough to realize it’s not really my thing. Primarily, it’s a time issue. It just takes so much more of my time to watch videos than it takes to read a blog post.

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    1. Hey, no problem, it’s just my thoughts on the issue gathered together with some of what I’ve heard/seen. I definitely go through fits and bursts, where I watch tons of BookTubers, and then sometimes because of time constraints I’m more picky about what I watch. Oddly, though, I watch discussion type videos and hauls, but rarely reviews. There’s a select few I would watch reviews from. It helped when I found out you can speed the video up! Lol R x

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  13. I am an author, book blogger, bookstagrammer and as of this week, a booktuber. Seriously, I just love books. I will say that my experience with the booktube community has been completely different than what you posted above. Many booktubers, even somewhat famous ones, reached out to me to offer their welcome and support including suggestions. My blog is completely different to me and I follow different blogs and booktubers for completely different reasons. Part of the reason I follow certain blogs is for their aesthetic feel and look (By the way, hello to Rachel from Confessions blog above…one of my all time favorite book bloggers!) I think there’s enough of us to go around and definitely enough books to read and review. We shouldn’t be arguing over differences but instead enjoying our common love of books!
    Feel free to watch my videos at Peter Likes Books on YouTube or visit me on my blog or social media sites! xo

    Peter Monn

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    1. Hi Peter! Hope you are keeping well! I’m definitely going to go watch some of your videos!! This post was inspired by a lil bit of drama in the community after last year’s BEA, which was partially accidentally instigated by the event organisers. Thankfully since then it has all calmed down, and has been much more supportive since!

      There are so many of us, I spend a LONG time watching videos and reading blogs, and I love it!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment – it means a lot!

      R xx

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