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.
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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