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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About Rachel

Avid reader & book blogger. Lover of Business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

33 Responses

  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  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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  8. Cait @ Paper Fury

    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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  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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  10. Kathy

    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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  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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  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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  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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