Discussion: Is a book blogger’s worth determined by how many books they read?

Posted June 19, 2015 by Jana in Discussion / 25 Comments

This is a topic that has been bugging me probably since I started blogging six years ago. I’m not the fastest reader in the world. I’m not SLOW, but I can’t possibly read as quickly as many of my friends do. I can’t do a book a day. I can’t even always do a book a week because I have a lot of hobbies aside from reading. I also like to take time between books to absorb what I read and reflect on the experience I had. It’s kind of like breaking up with someone. I can’t just start dating someone else immediately. I need my time!

Back in January I set a goal to read a book every 4.5 days. I was doing really well for a while, but I’ve fallen behind. Required reading for my YA lit class in my grad program took up all of my reading time for a few months. I went on vacation for a month, and even though I like to think I read a lot on vacation I don’t ever have as much time as I plan on having. I love sightseeing and shopping, too!

So I guess this all boils down to one question. Is a book blogger’s worth determined by how many books they read? Do people get more followers if they post reviews almost every day? Do publishers trust the bloggers who read 200-300 books a year more than those who read 70-80? I’ve always been a firm believer in the quality versus quantity concept, but I’m not so sure that’s the case here.

What have you noticed? Do you feel like you don’t read enough? How many books did you read last year? How are you doing on your Goodreads reading challenge so far?

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25 responses to “Discussion: Is a book blogger’s worth determined by how many books they read?

  1. I absolutely do NOT think a book blogger’s worth is tied up in the number of books they read per week. Like you, I feel I am slower than most of my friends… that book a day thing would wear me out and I think I would miss TV too much. :-) I think as long as you are a consistent reader and maintain your love of books, that’s all that matters. For what it’s worth, my book reviews have always generated less traffic than anything else I do on my blog, but I still have them because I think they let potential followers know at a glance whether or not we have similar tastes (not to mention I just love writing them and keeping track of what I read).

    I’ve wondered about the ratio of publishing vs. followers before, and can see that the number of visits I have increase when I’m publishing on a more regular basis, but I definitely think there is a cap-off point (I’ve actually done some research on this, and the consensus is 2 to 4 well-spaced posts a week is the sweet spot). As a follower, I’m always glad for new content, but the ones that post just to post on a daily basis get really tiresome. I’m more likely to unfollow if I remember deleting emails but will often seek out the site for new content if the last email I read was a good one.

    The first year I did a goodreads challenge, I came in almost 20 books shy and felt really disappointed with myself. I eventually realized that as long as I’m enjoying what I’m reading it doesn’t really matter how many books I get through in a year. I currently have my goals set at 80 books, and I’m comfortable with that number because, broken down to a weekly basis, that’s the number of books I usually finish without rushing. Thanks to some audiobook listening, my challenge shows I am 15 books ahead of schedule (is that cheating? As I totally don’t feel like it’s cheating as long as I’m experiencing the story and enjoying myself).

    Wow! I really wrote you a novel! I guess I had a lot more to say about this and I thought I did LOL. Great topic!

    • Jana

      Haha! You DID write me a novel! I love it, though!

      I love my TV too. I know I would read WAY more if I got rid of my TV, but I simply can’t do that! What are some of your favorite shows? My book reviews generate fewer comments, but I’ve seen more page hits in recent months. Perhaps they are beginning to help non-commenters. lol. I also write them mainly for myself, though, like you do. If others enjoy reading them, then great!

      I agree with you on the 2-4 posts per week. I just unfollowed a blog the other day because my inbox was filling up way too fast. Haha. And 2-4 feels was less overwhelming and more manageable. Do you do any memes? I was heavier on them when I first started, but now I just do a few TTT’s is the topics interest me.

      I’m trying to not beat myself up over the goodreads challenge! I’ve always beaten it before, but I set a higher goal than I’m used to and I’m not sure I’m going to make it. lol. You’re right. As long as we’re enjoying what we read, then there’s no need to pile on the pressure of meeting a certain quota. Audiobooks are SO not cheating! My grandpa is blind, so audio is his only way to read now. They totally count. :)

      Thanks for stopping by! It’s so nice to hear your thoughts. :)

  2. I’m so with you on this: As a book blogger I constantly feel this pressure to read more books. My current pace, which is kinda like yours (roughly a book a week), seems too slow sometimes and I feel like bloggers who read more (and hence review more) are viewed better than those who don’t. OBVIOUSLY this is not true, and it’s just me being a little insecure about how much I read. I guess it’s because a few years ago I would be able to read easily over 100 books and in recent years that number has gone (primarily due to TV, haha). But yeah, totally not true. OUR PACE IS AWESOME.
    Great post! Definitely a lot of interesting thoughts here :D
    Rabiah recently posted…Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

    • Jana

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels a little insecure now and again. lol. I’m totally willing to admit that TV is a big reason I don’t read as much as I could. But that’s ok! Our pace IS awesome. :) Thanks for your thoughts, Rabiah!

  3. I’m also a slow reader. I am able to devote a lot of time to reading, and I also listen to a lot of audiobooks, so I am usually able to read 2-3 books a week, but there are times when I’m reading a lot less and I do fall behind.

    Definitely a book blogger’s worth isn’t related at all to the number of books she reads. We all read at our own pace. A book blogger is someone who simply loves to read and wants to talk to books with other people on the internet.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Book Haul #90

    • Jana

      Thanks for your thoughts, Quinn! I’ve been wanting to get into audiobooks more, but I don’t know which ones are good and which ones are meh. Any recommendations?

  4. I don’t think it matters(or that it should matter) how fast or how much a person reads. It’s all about what you get out of the books you do read and how you convey that to other people. Cliche as it is, everyone’s different. Someone could read 500 books in a year but get nothing out of them. Someone could read just one book and it could change their life. Some people simply just have more time to read than others or they need to read fast to absorb or need to leap right into a new book after finishing one because if they don’t, it’ll cause a reading slump.
    As for publishers and quality vs quantity, I have no idea. I’d like to think quality means something but I don’t know how much they look into the quality over the blog stats. Personally, one well written review, even if it’s neutral, is a lot more likely to get me interested in a book than a hundred reviews that only say ‘it was great!’
    islandgeekgirl recently posted…Vengeance Road Character Profiles Wrap-up

    • Jana

      I totally love the point you made about what a person takes away from a book. I know I love to savor the books I’m reading, especially if I’m really connecting with them. If I read slowly I have the ability to absorb and remember what I read in the future. Great points!

      • Mostly I just think once you start stressing over the amount of book you do or don’t read and the amount of posts you do or don’t do, reading and blogging start to feel less like a safe place and beloved hobby.
        islandgeekgirl recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday

  5. This year I decided not to do the GR challenge so I have NO clue how many books I’ve read so far. It is so freeing to not care at all! I could never, ever, ever do a book a day. I’d not want to honestly. I’m not a slow reader but it would take hours out of my day to accomplish that. I don’t think the number of books read make the blogger. I agree with the top comment that 2-4 posts a week is perfect. Great post!
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Stacking the Shelves

    • Jana

      I’d love to throw the GR challenge out the window and just read freely! I might have to do that! 2-4 posts per weeks sounds great to me too. Thanks, Kristen!

  6. From the publisher perspective…

    Obviously I’m not a publisher so I can’t be certain here, but based on what I’ve seen and read, I don’t think the number of books you read matters too much to them.

    I do think the number of posts you publish holds some weight because they always say they like to see “active and consistent bloggers” but not all of those posts have to be reviews, you know?
    Ashley recently posted…Starbucks Makes Me a More Productive Person (New Plugin & Theme!)

    • Jana

      I totally agree, Ashley. If I were in the marketing/publicity field I think consistency would matter the most to me because I would know that that blogger is trustworthy and in it for the long haul. And there’s nothing wrong with throwing in non-reviews every now and then. My discussions get more comments and page hits than my reviews do, so it’s kind of a win-win anyway. :) Thanks for your thoughts!

  7. This is a very interesting post! As a blogger, I don’t think that your worth should be determined by the number of books you read. We all read at different paces, and that shouldn’t make one of us better or worse than another. From a publisher’s perspective, though, I think it may a be a little more complicated, but I can’t really comment on that! Awesome post. :)
    Jessica @ Bookish Serendipity recently posted…I Don’t Read Chapter Samplers

    • Jana

      Thanks, Jessica! I’m not thinking there’s one right answer to this question. lol. I’m starting to get the feeling that pubs pay attention to the whole package, and not just stats. And that’s very reassuring because we can control pretty much everything BUT our blog stats!

  8. I don’t think a bloggers worth is measured by how many books they read. Just like you I can’t read a book a day. I however read about 2 books a week and have made some changes so I cna read more, because I want to read more, like also reading a book during breakfast instead of silly games on my ipad I don’t really care about. I do want to post frequent on my blog and post about my other hobbies as well, so I have other posts. Then again I also don’t mind when a blogger posts multiple reviews a day.

    I think Ashley has a good point there on the publisher’s perspective. I personally don’t get many review copies form publishers beside netgalley. But I have a feeling that having a complete profile on netgalley and listing your follower stats is more important than how much books you read.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #131

    • Jana

      You make an interesting point, Lola. I am TOTALLY that girl who wastes time on my phone or my iPad because I’m being lazy and don’t feel like doing anything else. lol. I know reading is much more worthwhile, so I like the idea of keeping a book with me so that I don’t get sucked into social media or YouTube videos of cats. :)

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  9. If a book blogger’s worth is determined by the amount of books they read in a year, I’m damn near worthless! I’m a slow reader. I’m an easily distracted reader. I’m a mood reader. I’m a polygamous reader! Which means I’m lucky if I can meet my goal of reading a measly 50 books in a year. Why does the amount of books in a year determine whether or not I’m trust worthy. How is my opinion somehow less valid than a person who has read 200 books in a year? Perhaps publishers will overlook me, and that’s fine. And maybe I won’t ever get hundreds of hits a day, and that’s fine too. That’s not why I blog though. This is my hobby, and I’ll be damned if my value is determined by how many books I read vs. my voice and the quality of content I create.

  10. I don’t think the amount a blogger reads matters at all (unless they’re not reading anything of course, then I’d wonder why they were blogging in the first place ;) ). People have different reading speeds. Although saying that, sometimes I feel like I’m slacking in terms of books read – and it’s only because I’m comparing myself to other bloggers, which is silly.
    Rinn recently posted…Review: Tracer (Tracer #1) by Rob Boffard

  11. I’ve struggled with how much I *should* be reading, especially for the blog. I read about half as fast as I used to and, like you, have other hobbies, or just don’t feel like reading all the time. I’m constantly behind on my GR Challenge, but I’m okay with taking time in between books; and I’ve just incorporated the other stuff into my blog. If I only read two pages, but finished a whole season on Netflix and crocheted, I write about that.

    Some readers definitely love blogs with reviews every day. I read reviews, but I tend to be more interested in discussion/life/list posts, and I know there are others like that. I guess the trick for me is to read a lot, but not so much that it becomes a chore. That’s what school reading is for. ;)
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Favorite Top 10 Topics Ever Done

  12. Sometimes I feel intimidated by the amounts I see others reading. I don’t work, can’t get out much and don’t have a lot of hobbies, so you’d think I would read tons, but I only like to read in bed or outside in my lounge, so that limits when I read. I also spend way too much writing long comments on blogs!
    As far as publishing reviews frequently, I don’t have any blogs I follow that are just reviews. I like to know the blogger to see wheat we have in common besides reading, as it helps me assess their reviews for my personal taste. So discussions, tags, vacation recaps, memes are all good. I publish almost every day, sometimes twice, but probably only 2 reviews a week. And reviews get the fewest comments of anything.
    I say just be happy in the situation you have. You have lots of friends, hobbies, and activities and that’s better than sitting all day and reading by yourself, believe me. You can sit and read more when you’re old.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up 6/27

  13. I wish I could read ALL THE BOOKS! I’m a slow reader and at a good rate read a book a week. With my hectic schedule as of late, I’ve only been reading three or four books a month. Also, us bloggers spend lots of time creating; post, graphics, ideas and editing. I wish I could make book blogging my job, then I wouldn’t have to work 50 hours per week and could read to my heart’s content!

    Wonderful post!