Why Do Reviews Receive Fewer Comments & Pageviews? Let’s Analyze!

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Last month I wrote a post on 5 Ways to Help Increase Reader Engagement in Your Book Reviews. It was a post focusing on how bloggers could improve the structure of their book reviews to attract more readers. Most of us know that book reviews receive generally less pageviews and comments than other types of posts. While there are some things that we can change about our reviews to attract more readers, some things are really outside of our control. Instead of thinking of ways to improve reviews, today I want to analyze the deeper issue of why reviews have less views in the first place.

When don’t people want to read reviews?

Fear of spoilers

I think this is one of the big reasons why people tend to avoid book reviews. A lot of readers prefer to “go in blind” when reading a book. They don’t want other people’s opinions to cloud their judgement or opinion of the book. Some reviewers also aren’t the best at hiding spoilers. What is and isn’t  a spoiler is sometimes hard to determine.

They aren’t interested in the genre

This can turn a large number of your followers/readers from reading your book review. If you post a review for a romance contemporary and they have no interest in that genre, they will likely skip over that review. Or if you review a mixture of YA and NA, your YA followers who don’t like to read NA will skip over your NA book reviews. Everyone has book genres that they prefer and by posting a review for a specific genre, you lose readers who aren’t interested in that genre. That’s just the nature of book reviews. You may be able to slightly overcome this if you combine reviews across multiple genres in mini reviews.

They haven’t read the book

People may skip past a book they haven’t heard of before, haven’t read yet, or aren’t interested in (even if it’s in their preferred genre). Sometimes it’s hard to have an opinion of any kind when you haven’t read the book yet and you’re not super interested in it. When I get into the mode of commenting, I’ll likely skip past reviews I don’t know much about because then I wouldn’t have much to say in a comment. It’s so much easier to comment on a book review that you are really excited for already or you have read yourself.

They don’t like the book’s cover

I’m looking at your cover snobs ;) I’m very guilty of this. I tend to judge books by their covers and am more likely to click on a review with a pretty cover in my Bloglovin’ feed.

It’s part of a blog tour

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I tend to avoid blog tours in general. I just trust blog tour reviews less than regular reviews. I feel like some reviewers try too much to like the book (or lie) simply because they want to stay in the blog tour. I know reviewers have the option of dropping out of the blog tour if they don’t end up liking the book, but how many “change” their opinion for the sake of staying in the blog tour and sugar coat their reviews. I don’t have any facts or anything to support this…just a general feeling/fear I have :/

They don’t enjoy reading reviews in general

Some people just don’t enjoy reading reviews at all. It may be a combination of the reasons above. Maybe over time they’ve grown tired of reading reviews or the way reviews are written doesn’t interest them.

funned out

What does this mean for reviewers?

Are reviews really becoming more unpopular or is the audience for specific book reviews simply less than the audience for a discussion post and it’s always been that way? Is this just the nature of reviews? If you think of the audience for a discussion post, more people can relate and comment on those posts because they aren’t restricted by the reasons above. Should we even be comparing them? Simply because the pageviews/comments are LESS doesn’t mean the audience for book reviews is nonexistent. There will always be people who want a second opinion. People who come up to you and ask “what did you think of this book?”

I think the format of how book reviews are presented may change over time, but I don’t think book reviews will ever really die out. Giving our opinions on books is kind of the root of what book blogging is all about, whether you do that through traditional reviews or some other feature. A little off topic, but sometimes I wonder if we are too focused on appealing to fellow bloggers rather than the non-blogger readers. Have you ever asked yourself, “what do non-blogging readers enjoy?” I’ve been contemplating this question for a little while now and it can be inspiring to think in that way. Are we even trying to attract that type of audience (which is larger than the blogging readers) rather than focusing on ourselves?

Do you enjoy reading reviews? If not, why? How do you think reviews will change over time? Or will they?

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Wow you got to the end of the post! As a reward for your efforts, you may have a cookie *gives digital cookie* Oh, ya, who am I? My name is Stephanie and I'm the blogger behind These Paper Hearts. I enjoy reading young adult romance and fantasy, cuddling with my cat, coding websites, and playing soccer. Thanks for stopping by!

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34 Comments

  • Ashley

    I’ve pretty much stopped reading reviews now.

    I used to be super anal about properly “researching” a book before reading it. I’d check reviews, friends, etc. to make sure I’d really love a book before reading it.

    Now I just feel like I’m over that whole “checking” process. I just like to find a book that looks/sounds good (based on the cover and synopsis) and go for it.

    I think maybe it has to do with the fact I’m much more willing to DNF a book if it’s not working for me. So this has loosened my “screening” process significantly. If I don’t like it, I stop and move onto something else.
    Ashley recently posted…4 Reasons Coding is SEXYMy Profile

  • Sophie

    I really enjoy reading reviews, but tend to read the majority of them in emails, so that won’t help with page views. I’m notoriously bad at commenting, I know I am, but I am trying a lot more to comment on reviews that take my fancy.

    I do agree with a lot of your reasons why reviews aren’t as popular, because if I’ve never heard of a book, or simply aren’t interested in it, I’ll probably delete the email straight away, without even skimming through the review. Sometimes, I also think if a book has been over hyped, and there are reviews for it everywhere, I’m less likely to look at every single review – I’ll probably just pick a few instead.

    Sophie @ Sophie Reads YA
    Sophie recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa MeyerMy Profile

    • Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts

      Oh, that’s another great reason why reviews often receive less pageviews/comments. A lot of the time publishers ask that reviews for a book get posted around a book’s release date. The problem with that though is that people can get sick of seeing that book in their rss feed and reviews that come in later may not receive many views :/

  • Sarah @ Kerosene Lit

    I talked about this on Twitter the other day. I love reviews. I might be in the minority, but I am much more likely to click on a review than any other post. I’ve never felt like I was spoiled in a review. But perhaps I have a different opinion on what a spoiler is. Reviews are also my favourite to write. It’s true that I get a lot less views/comments, but I don’t mind. I don’t want to force myself to change the way I blog just to get more views, you know?
    Sarah @ Kerosene Lit recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Perfect Halloween Reads Currently On My TBRMy Profile

    • Tiffany

      Same! I love reading book reviews (usually for books that I’m already interested in, but I’ve definitely discovered new books through blogs) and I love writing reviews too. It’s why I got involved in blogging in the first place – I wanted to be able to thoughtfully reflect on the books I read, and I have fun with it even if I don’t get a lot of views or comments.
      Tiffany recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Halloween CostumesMy Profile

    • Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts

      I’m glad to hear you enjoy reading and writing reviews Sarah! I don’t mind them, but it would be nice to have more enthusiasm for them. I definitely think you should blog the way that makes you happy. An unhappy blogger won’t last long :)

  • Tanya

    Interesting topic, Stephanie! I guess I’m hit or miss with review posts. It can depend not only on the book but also on the blogger. Sometimes I have no interest in the genre or the book and I will skip the review completely. But there are some bloggers that I enjoy so much that I will read their review, no matter what the book is, simply because I love their style and always enjoy reading what they say and how they say it. I suppose my own review posts get fewer views/comments but I love what commenter Sarah @ Kerosene Lit had to say… I don’t want to change how or what I blog just to get more views.
    Tanya recently posted…New Release + Giveaway: Surviving Ice by K.A. TuckerMy Profile

  • Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    I still love reading reviews. I will avoid those that I have to review so I don’t get an opinion before I read (if I can help it). I do get tired of seeing the same reviews on every blog though. I feel like that might be one of the problems? Great post!!
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…If I Could Rule Westeros + a Falling Kingdoms GiveawayMy Profile

    • Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts

      Too many of the same review can get boring after a while. Especially if you’ve already decided whether or not you want to read the book. Sometimes I like to hold off publishing a review for a book until quite a bit after a book’s published date so that it doesn’t get overcrowded by the others.

  • Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing

    I think you hit the nail on the head with your blogging-readers vs. non-blogging readers question. I always get more page-views on review posts but more comments on non-review posts. I think it is connected with the fact that blogging-readers comment more than non-blogging readers. But personally, I definitely plan to keep writing reviews because A) I have fun writing them and B) my review posts always get more page views than other posts.
    Also, as a book blogger, I still love reading reviews written by other poeple better than reading non-review posts. But that is just me :)
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…What Books To Read To Get Into Halloween Mood + GiveawayMy Profile

    • Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts

      That’s interesting that you still receive so many views on your reviews. I’d say that’s a great sign though that you’re readers enjoy those posts even if they aren’t commenting on them. I’m definitely trying to focus more on the non-bloggers.

  • Maraia

    As a non-blogger who’s active in the book blogging community, I can offer you my perspective on this topic. I do frequently read and comment on reviews, but only on the ones written by bloggers who are willing to engage with non-bloggers. That isn’t the case with everyone. There are many blogs that clearly cater only to fellow bloggers, which seems to defeat the purpose of having a blog in the first place. Shouldn’t bloggers want to spread book love outside this small community? There are millions of people out there who love books just as much as bloggers do, even if they don’t have the time or desire to blog about them. Maybe the reason bloggers don’t get as many comments on reviews is because they ARE focusing only on their fellow blogger readers, who have probably seen the same review on 20 other blogs in the last week alone and have nothing left to say. If bloggers cared more about their non-blogger readers, I bet they would get a lot more comments, and they would be more meaningful than the “Great post! Here’s mine!” ones you get from other bloggers. Asking questions at the end of reviews is a great way to make people feel comfortable enough to comment. Actually replying to comments is an even better way. It’s not easy to break into what often feels like tight-knit community of (and only for) bloggers. I hope this helps! :)

    • Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts

      Thanks Maraia! That insight helps a lot! Sometimes I think it feels like there are so few non-bloggers reading blog posts that some bloggers don’t think of them much when they’re planning their posts. I’ve seen a few surveys conducted by various blogs who ask the question “are you a book blogger or just a reader” and and they always have way more bloggers than non-bloggers. The problems is though, are we creating that community? Are there ways that bloggers could be better reaching out to the non-bloggers? I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit recently. I think too, once you get into a blogger’s mindset, you write posts centered more around what you enjoy reading and it would appear that quite a few bloggers don’t enjoy even reading reviews. It’s an interesting topic to explore and analyze though! :)

  • Sarah's Book Shelves

    Great questions and I’ve thought about all these things as well…and discussed them a bit on my blog. I find myself behaving much the same way with reviews that you mention in this post. Will read them if I’ve read the book and want to see what others think or if I’m interested in the book. I will avoid reviews if I hear a certain book has twists b/c I like to go in pretty blind. And – I do have a small handful of bloggers who I trust and know that we have similar tastes…I’ll read every single one of their reviews.

    Also – I always avoid traditional media reviews…I feel like they reveal way too much about the book’s plot and bloggers are generally better about not doing that.
    Sarah’s Book Shelves recently posted…First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intro (Home is Burning by Dan Marshall)My Profile

    • Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts

      I prefer to go in blind too. I feel like it can give the book the best chance. Hype’s influence can be too unpredictable, but also hard to avoid. I’ve become so depend on goodreads and reviews, sometimes I miss the days of simply reading the book’s blurb to decide if I want to read a book or not.

  • Rachel

    Honestly, I comment (and click) more on book reviews than on discussion posts – probably because I don’t write discussion posts. I’m trying to diversify by clicking on them. ? However, I’m a cover snob – though I tend to comment on most classics that I see.
    Rachel recently posted…The Tide, by Anthony J. MelchiorriMy Profile

  • Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I’m a bit baffled by the aversion to reviews, although everyone is free to read what they want in the blogosphere of course. I think you give good reasons for why some people avoid them, but I’m a review junkie myself — it’s what got me into book blogging in the first place. I perhaps tend to read them more for books and authors I know — I’m always interested in other bloggers’ insights.

    I find that many of the posts are not truly what I would call “reviews” at all, more what I would like to term “reflections.” I’m planning a discussion post soon about the difference.
    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review recently posted…Top Ten Halloween BooksMy Profile

  • Vlora

    I agree, it doesn’t make that much sense to compare reviews and discussion posts. I don’t even think anything’s changing, it just makes complete sense to me that discussion posts would get more comments than review posts for all the reasons you mentioned above. I often skip review posts for all the reasons mentioned above. I’ll read them when 1) I’ve read the book and want to know what the person thinks 2) I’m anticipating the book eagerly and are reasonably sure the reviewer won’t spoil it 3) the cover/blurb looks intriguing and like it could be my thing.

    I also think that even though there might be fewer comments on review posts, it’s definitely still worth posting them, because I love discussing the book with people who have also read it or hearing that someone will check it out because I recommended it. What you said about non-blogger readers is very true as well. When I didn’t have a blog, I was much more likely to stumble upon a blog because I was Googling a book and happened to find a review of it.
    Vlora recently posted…Carrying OnMy Profile

    • Stephanie@ThesePaperHearts

      I read book reviews for those same reasons you mentioned too. Sometimes I think people believe reviews are becoming more unpopular because the group of people they know in our community are losing interest in them. I mean if quite a few people you know start mentioning that they don’t like book reviews, it can feel like the whole community feels that way. Which may not be the case :/

  • Mara

    I totally agree to two of your statements!

    I love reading book reviews, though the only ones that really catch my interest at first sight are ones with pretty book covers or headers. If the image doesn’t look good to me, I tend to skip through it.

    Second is when the genre doesn’t fit to my liking. I’m kind of (well not really just a “kind of”) a YA girl so when I see a book review that doesn’t have that genre, I won’t read it. (Though I sometimes make exceptions if the title of the review is catchy enough.)

    Also, I do think book reviews will change overtime. People’s interests shift almost every few years and bloggers need to adapt to them in order for their posts gain more views, so I think it’s something that can’t be helped.
    Mara recently posted…The Dreaded DNF Series #1: Girl Online by Zoe SuggMy Profile

  • Charnell @ Reviews from a Bookworm

    Great post. I definitely know that my reviews get less comments and views than any other post, but I still enjoy writing them. And I enjoy reading reviews as well. But, I admit, I avoid blog tour ones and books I know nothing about or have zero interest in. I’m starting to do more mini-review posts, as I can review more than one book at a time. And have more slots open for discussion posts and other things.
    Charnell @ Reviews from a Bookworm recently posted…Mini Reviews: Eva IbbotsonMy Profile

  • Anne @ Lovely Literature

    I love reviews. A well written review can be more enjoyable than a discussion post! I find myself clicking on a review if I:
    1. Read the book (loved or hated it)
    2. Have the book on the TBR
    3. Trust the reviewer
    4. Think the book has an interesting cover/title (less often)

    I’m really into long form reviews, and have to say it was probably ingrained in me from my college education (English — writing and rhetoric, lots of essays and argumentation). That being said, I love a good bulleted review as long as it has humor and some passion. You can tell when someone is just posting it because they feel they need to, and those aren’t fun for anyone. I know I have done that before, and really hate posting things I don’t care much for. So when those get less views, I’m not surprised in the least.
    Anne @ Lovely Literature recently posted…Beer & Book Exchange: October 2015My Profile

  • Chri

    I’m not too big on spoilers – I’m part of a smaller portion of people who don’t mind being spoiled, I think, but that also means my idea of a spoiler is probably a lot different from someone else. I (somewhat guiltily) agree with you on the book cover thing, though. And about blog tours. I’m guilty to judging books by their covers, and I feel like being in a blog tour isn’t always the truest way to share your thoughts on a book? I mean, I’ve been guilty of it in the past, too: of writing my honest opinion, but then trying to paint it in a nicer light, because it’s part of a promotional tour, which is part of the reason why I don’t really do those anymore.

    I actually like reading reviews, though, contrary to all my complaints (admittedly, I’m a shallow person, so if your post has pretty graphics or covers, you’ve probably successfully lured me in xD). I think the main thing for me is that I’m really bad at leaving comments. I’ll read the posts, but especially with book reviews on books I haven’t read, I feel like there isn’t really anything substantial for me to say – just something like “great review!” or “I’ll be sure to keep this book in mind” – empty words like that, so I end up not commenting.

    That’s from a reader’s end, and now that I’ve started up blogging again, from a blogger’s viewpoint I think it all comes down to the fact that I haven’t really even figured out how to blog for myself yet, so it’s way too early for me to start worrying about others.
    Chri recently posted…Hey There, NovemberMy Profile

  • Iris

    It’s so funny… because reviews pretty much make up most book blogs, but they’re definitely the posts that get the least love. I think part of that has to do with the fact that it’s hard to do ‘something new and exciting’ with reviews.

    And I kinda get it, because I don’t really read that many reviews eithers actually. Mainly because I love reading other posts more. I WANT to read more reviews though, because I know (as a blogger) how crappy it feels when you don’t get any comments on them and how underappreciated it makes you feel.
    Iris recently posted…Monthly Recap: October 2015My Profile

  • Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    You’ve definitely nailed it on the head – at first I was scared of reading reviews because of spoilers, but by not reading them then you never discover great new book recommendations that you never thought of reading! I personally love reviews, even if they aren’t in the genre that I prefer because it does introduce me to new reads. And often I have such a bad memory that I can’t remember people’s thoughts on it before I pick it up!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Chatterbox: Why I Read ContemporariesMy Profile

  • Wendy

    I don’t want to know anything about a book going in, so I only read reviews of books I’ve already finished. I read them because I want to see another perspective on the book and to deepen my own thinking about it.

    I actually like “top ten” type posts because I can find out about titles I might enjoy without getting the specifics that I want to discover for myself.

    I agree with Lory’s point about reviews vs. reflections. Over the years I definitely have gotten in the habit of posting reflections, because when you are the 2,534th person posting a review on Goodreads, it seems pointless to add anything other than your personal reactions. I guess I should re-think that when blogging.
    Wendy recently posted…October Wrap-upMy Profile

  • Serena

    I enjoy reading book reviews. If I see one in my newsfeed for a book that I’m interested in, or that has an intriguing cover, or that I’ve read and want to know what others think, I’m probably going to click on it. And I typically make an effort to comment so the blogger knows I read and appreciated their post — I know how it feels to write a review and get no feedback on it! Sometimes, I end up adding a book to my TBR this way, and I’ve even found new favorites because bloggers have recommended them.

    It’s refreshing to read this conversation and see so many people still interested in book reviews!
    Serena recently posted…why I was disappointed by this epic brick of a bookMy Profile

  • Nemo @ the Moonlight Library

    I think you have a lot of valid points as to why reviews on blogs don’t get as many hits or comments, but I know that the reason I don’t really visit blogs for reviews is because I’m friends with those same reviewers on Goodreads or whatever, sites dedicated just to reviews, and that’s where I’ll seek them out and comment on them.
    Nemo @ the Moonlight Library recently posted…Buy Borrow Burn (11)My Profile

  • Ksenia @ Ksenia's Book Blog

    Interesting post. Recently I’ve been thinking about why reviews are less popular, too. I agree with your points. I think reviews became less popular among bloggers, while non-bloggers find them interesting. I don’t think that reviews will die-out, but format definitely is changing. Reviews become shorter, for example.
    Ksenia @ Ksenia’s Book Blog recently posted…Kiss and Tell #1. Exquisite CaptiveMy Profile

  • Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    I enjoy reading reviews – they’re interesting enough to me, and they’re one way I have to find out more about books!
    But yes, some of these things are reasons why I don’t click onto some reviews – especially that blog tour one! Some reviews are a mixture – like those blog tours with really dodgy covers? I definitely avoid those :/
    Great post – it really made me think a bit more about WHY my reviews aren’t clicked on more often!
    Geraldine @ Corralling Books recently posted…Seven Things That Attract Me To A Book BlogMy Profile