Discussion: Reviews: Why Write Them?

I’ve been reading a lot of discussion posts lately about providing original content for your blog. Most of the commenters, and even some of the original posters, say that discussion posts are where it’s at, that they often don’t even read the book reviews. There are a lot of reasons given: lack of time and fear of spoilers seem to be big ones against reviews and love of, well, discussion is one for the discussion posts.

That made me wonder: If no one (well, not many people) is reading reviews, why do we bloggers spend all this time writing them when we could be creating more discussion posts or reading more books? Why not just have a blog full of all discussion posts?

Obviously we’re book blogs, that’s what we DO. And if you’re requesting ARCs, you kind of have to write at least some reviews. Personally, I enjoy writing them even though I find them hard because I’m not good at expressing myself with words. I don’t have many people to talk about books with, so if I write type it all out, it’s kind of like talking to someone else even when no one comments. (I need more friends who read my type of books!) I’ll keep writing them even if no one ever reads them.

I love discussion posts, too, but ever since I started thinking about this, I’ve been more cognizant of clicking on and reading those reviews. I try to comment too, but sometimes it is hard to think of something to say. I like reading reviews. I admit, I don’t read all of them on my Bloglovin feed. I read the ones for books I’ve read (to compare opinions), for books I’m already interested in (to find out if the blogger liked it), and for ones that catch my eye for some other reason like title or cover (to get new ideas).

Do you read reviews? Do you get many comments on your reviews and how do they compare to the number of comments you get on your discussion posts?


  1. Like you I read the reviews that catch my eye on my Bloglovin feed – they are either books I have read and reviewed, books I want to read, or books that look interesting. Some days, I don’t read any.

    Comments – no I don’t get many 🙂 My blog does not appeal to many people because I read and review all genres.

    I don’t request ARCs for that reason – publishers will not look at you as an ARC recipient if you review more than two Genres – I found that strange at first, but I am ok with it now as I understand their reasoning, I actually prefer to buy my own books.

    Great post – made me think about where I want to go with my blog, but when it comes down to it, I am happy just carrying on as I am.
    Rosemary recently posted…Never Go Back – Lee ChildMy Profile

  2. I tend to mostly read reviews for books that I’ve already read, because then it’s easier for me to comment because I actually have something to say about it. But I do sometimes check out reviews of books when I’m not sure whether I want to buy the book.

    In terms of getting comments on reviews, I get a lot of comments on some reviews (these tend to be the well known books e.g. recently, Crown of Midnight, All Our Yesterdays), and on others I only get a few. But I definitely have to say that my discussion posts get waaaaay more comments!
    Nara recently posted…[Tag] Seven Deadly Sins of ReadingMy Profile

  3. I read a lot of review posts. I really love them and find a bunch of good book recommendations that way. I do try to comment on review posts and I do find I get a reasonable amount of comments on my review posts.
    CeCe recently posted…Tell Me What You Love!My Profile

  4. I think people do still read reviews (as made evident by a survey I’m hosting), they’re just pickier about the ones they read. You’re more likely to find 20 reviews of the same book than you are to find 20 posts about the same discussion topic.

    With reviews, I read ones that catch my eye. If it’s for a book I’ve already read 5 reviews for, I’ll skip it. If it’s for a book that doesn’t interest me, I’ll skip it.

    But I read almost all discussion posts because they’re more likely to be unique (a topic I haven’t read about before), and they just catch my eye more often.
    Ashley recently posted…The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten WhiteMy Profile

  5. Thanks for linking up with Let’s Discuss 😉

    I know discussion posts and opinion posts are definitely on the rise – but honestly, I’m still in it for the reviews! haha. I feel like discussion posts and such are really interesting to read and a way to kind of bond with the blogger and find out more about them … but the reason I like finding out more about them and their views on things is because it then tells me more about whether or not we’re similar in our opinions and such – which then leads me to be more likely to want to hear their reviews on books versus a blog that has 100% reviews and no personal touch – you know?
    Helen @ TFC recently posted…Let’s Discuss (15): Link up your discussion posts!My Profile

    • I love Let’s Discuss! I don’t write many discussion posts but I visit every week to see all the others.

      Yes, sometimes you can tell from opinion posts — especially ones about books rather than blogging — whether you have much in common with other people.
      Jenna recently posted…Weekly Rewind: September 01-07My Profile

  6. I write reviews because first, I want to keep a journal of my first impression of the books that I’ve read. I love mementos, I love going down the memory lane. Five years from now, some of the books that I’ve read will fade from memory and what better way to remind me of them but my reviews. By that time, I could even laugh at how crappy my reviews are. 😀 Like you, I would keep writing them even if no one reads them. I am posting 3-4 book reviews a week. What I noticed is that people tend to flock more on a review of a book that they have read or about a book that have been hyped so much. As for me, I have this very weird habit when it comes to reviews. I love negative but snarky reviews. I don’t care if I’m interested with the book or not. I only care about myself having a good laugh.

    I agree with the discussion posts. People are more confident to comment because nothing can go wrong with giving your opinion. I thought of what you said like posting discussion posts every day. It is brilliant and tempting but I’m quite worried about that. What if we ran out of discussion ideas? 😀 I am not really an imaginative person so that would really bug me. Haha.
    Charlotte recently posted…The Blogging Bucket ListMy Profile

    • That’s why I started keeping track on Goodreads. I used it for several years before I started my blog, and I hardly ever wrote anything. I just used the stars. Now I really wish I had written even a few sentences even if I wasn’t going to do a full review.

      I have a negative (and hopefully snarky!) review coming up! Right now I’m doing two reviews a week but I’m starting to get ahead in my reviews so I might start doing a third. I don’t want to schedule TOO far in advance. I know some people like that, but it’s not what I want to do. September is all filled up and I’m ready to move on to October, which is a little farther out than I’d like. On the other hand, with the holidays coming up, maybe I should have some in reserve in case I’m too busy. I manage a restaurant and we get busy during the holidays too. People are all out Christmas shopping and don’t want to cook when they get home so they eat out.

      I could never think up enough discussion posts to fill a whole blog, I’d have to quit first! Right now I’m at one every two months. So I’m good until November now, haha.
      Jenna recently posted…Weekly Rewind: September 01-07My Profile

  7. I do read book reviews, especially if I am thinking about buying that book or I have read the book before and want to see what someone else thought. Book reviews I think are an important part of a book blog, but they don’t have to be the only thing on them. I read a blogger’s reviews first to determine if we have similar taste. If we don’t chances are I won’t be taking into consideration their reviews because we will have different opinions.
    My reviews usually get at least one comment or two, but my discussion posts are where I get the most comments. There is at least double the comments on my discussions than on my reviews.

    I guess I think there should be reviews on a blog, but I don’t mind if most of the other content is discussions or something else bookish.
    Arial recently posted…BOLD Discussions – Insta-loveMy Profile

  8. Oh this is a great topic! I’m actually guilty of not reading many of the review posts on my feed, but that’s because I am afraid of spoilers, or am genuinely not interested in the book they’ve just reviewed. I only read such posts when it’s on a book I’ve already read, or one I really want to, although I rarely pass by discussion posts, because I have opinions on many of them! Sometimes too, it makes me think that I should allot more effort into writing discussions then reviews because they’re what most people care about. But of course, I’m a book blogger, and it’s my obligation to promote books by reviewing them. I don’t generate as many views and comments on review posts, but that doesn’t bother me too much because people still visit, if they want to, and it’s something I myself love to do 🙂
    Jasmine @ Flip That Page recently posted…On Social Media And PromotionMy Profile

  9. I’ve heard about blog readers looking for more original content, but not reading reviews? Never! Thanks for bringing this to my attention, though. The main reason why I started a book blog was because I was so fascinated by the community, as well as ARCs, which I’d never heard of before then, so I wanted to join in on the fun. During my early days, reviews and blog tours were almost all I cared about. Now, though, I feel like a book blog isn’t ALWAYS about books and reviews. A book blog, to me, is an extension of yourself, so I think people want to see more personal stuff, rather than just the surface, which would be reviews and memes and stuff like that. That being said, I still think reviews should be shown equal amounts of love, because without them, us book lovers wouldn’t be able to function!

    So, yes, I do read reviews – though mostly only on books I’ve heard of or an interested in. On my old blog, we used to get more comments on discussion posts than anything else, but I still enjoy reading and writing reviews (though like you, I’m not really good at expressing my views coherently!), because that is what’s part of being a book blog, IMO.

    Great discussion post!
    Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan recently posted…Tagged! 7 Deadly Sins of ReadingMy Profile

    • It’s harder to put personal stuff into reviews unless you just ramble away, but I do think you can do it with memes if you try, especially the Top Ten Tuesday and Feature & Follow Friday type (more so than Waiting on Wednesday). That’s one reason I started my Weekly Rewind posts and include a bit about my life that week. This way I don’t have to come up with a discussion post every week!

      For some reason I’m not very interested in blog tours. I’ve heard people say they don’t seem to get many hits from them, which I guess is the main reason to do them. I’ve done one but I made sure to I was getting signed up to review instead of some other type of promo post because I prefer the reviews even on blog tours I visit.
      Jenna recently posted…Review: What Janie Found by Caroline B. CooneyMy Profile

  10. There are some blogs I love so much that I’ll read ALL of their reviews. Other blogs, I just read reviews of books I’m curious about and have heard about prior to their review. I also read reviews of books I’ve already read because it’s fun to just talk about books! haha

    It’s said that some people don’t read reviews, but everybody isn’t going to like all of the same types of content.
    Sara (of The Page Sage) recently posted…Inside the Industry: Author, Freelance Editor, and Editor of MathematicsMy Profile

  11. I know exactly where you are coming from when you write reviews! Not one of my friends read, and I mean at all, they don’t read any type of books. I also struggle with reviews as I always feel not only am I missing something I wanted to mention, but everything I’m remembering to write is not expressed very well. And it gets worse when you read someone else’s review of the same book and you can’t help but feel that it is so much better than yours. But through my blog and other blogs is the only way I can fulfill my craving for discussions on books I love or am dying to read. While I love love love discussion posts, it’s always for the reviews that I come back to a blog! I have never posted a discussion post in my very short time as a blogger, but my reviews have gotten less comments than memes I post. For me, book blogging will always be first and foremost about reviews.

    Live to Read, Love to Read

    • I often feel like I’ve missed something when writing a review too. I try to take notes, but sometimes I just don’t feel like stopping when I’m reading and writing things down. I highlight a lot of sections on my Kindle, so at least I have that when I’m reading an ebook. Other people’s reviews are always better than mine.
      Jenna recently posted…Weekly Rewind: September 08-14My Profile

  12. I saw this on Twitter and thought I’d jump in… I think there’s a place for reviews and discussion posts. I have not done many discussion posts, not sure why, but that’s one of the things I want to do on my blog more in ’14. If I can think of anything interesting to discuss, that is… LOL.

    I like to read reviews, if it’s a book I’m interested in. Sometimes I get ideas for new books from reviews I just stumble across. As for writing them- yeah even if I don’t get comments it helps me remember down the road what the book was about, and to get my thoughts in order about a book I’ve just finished, especially if I really liked it.

    • I have several half-written discussion posts, so I’m hoping to do more of them this year too. I had a really hard time coming up with ideas for them, then I though of a lot and I started drafting (but never finishing) the posts.

      I’ve really slacked off on my reviews lately though. I have a few that I just keep putting off — and I really liked the books. I need to work on that.
      Jenna recently posted…Life of a Blogger: Non-bookish hobbiesMy Profile


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