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Book Bloggers: Sense of Community

This year’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week kicks off with a message on the sense of a community. From day one of my discovery of book bloggers six years ago, I had the impression that book bloggers do represent a community that has burgeoned owing to not only the advent of social networking and the internet but also the diminishing, if not disappearance altogether, of traditional media coverage on books. Newspapers and magazines no longer focus on book reviews, conveying a false message that books and reading are relics from a lost time. But the truth is, whether media decide to continue with their skimpy book sections or not, there will always be readers. Book bloggers aren’t dilettantes who dabble in reading every once in a while. Nor are they people who feel like browsing the bookstores because they have fifteen minutes to kill between appointments. They are readers who splash around with books and give real, honest opinions about what they read. Nor are they literature professors who analyze and dissect novels. It’s unfair and impractical to equate book bloggers to traditional media that give books publicity.

Although book blogs aren’t professional, their influence surpasses that of traditional media because book bloggers are readers who share their private reactions and reflections on the books read. Therefore, book bloggers wield such a power in driving the book industry and promoting reading because of their unique reading taste. One might find book bloggers who specialize in every sub-genre: general fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, foreign literature, mystery, science fiction, romance, and multiple disciplines of non-fiction. Personally I resonate with a trusted circle of book bloggers with whom I share a common reading taste. Their opinions become my primary source of books to be purchased and read. That said, the diversity of interests is conducive to broadening a reader’s horizon—to read out of the comfort zone. I owe the many book bloggers for books that I otherwise would never have read.

Finally, I believe the interactive nature of book blogging has compensated for more than the loss of traditional book publicity. Books that have topped bestseller lists usually get around the book blogging community. More eclectic books also find their representation in blogs. How often do you make a pass at a book because the genre to which it belongs does not align with your interest? What if a book blogger you trust recommends such a book? The beauty of such a well-rounded community is that average readers (not mediocre) who are passionate about books can now share their thoughts and expound on what the novels mean to them. The personal touch and meanings that appeal to individual are usually underrepresented in the media to begin with. Although I don’t consider myself an active blogger, consider how little I interact, but I enjoy the comfort knowing there will be book bloggers who share my reading taste and who will direct me to books that enrich my life experience.

27 Responses

  1. That has to be the best post I’ve read today about the book blogging community!!! Love it! 😀

  2. Great post, Matt!
    I do read professional reviews at times, and though I enjoy reading them I feel they lack the personal touch as compared with the reviews written by book bloggers.

    I love this community and I’m glad to be a small part of it. 🙂

  3. Love this post and agree wholeheartedly. Yes, bloggers have challenged me to read outside my comfort zone. And honestly, I’m a better reader for it. I credit Jennifer at Literate Housewife for my newfound audiobook love. And that’s just one instance.

    Thank you for always having such thoughtful posts. When you do interact, I consider it that much more meaningful.

    • Book bloggers often give me courage to take one step forward to reading books that are out of my comfort zone. I feel more comfortable trying a new genre when a book blogger recommends it. This is the power of personal touch.

  4. Very nicely put Matt! I agree with you and also find the book blogging community a compensation for dwlndling coverage in the media and lack of local bookstores. Thanks to book blogs my reading world has been completely opened up!

    • Danielle you were among the first book bloggers whom I read. I remember stumbling upon your blog as well as a few other book blogs and I thought my reading habit would change completely. Thank YOU for always pointing great books my way. 🙂

  5. Great post, Matt- very well put. And I think you participate quite a bit! Blogging has absolutely enriched my reading and my life- it’s been kind of amazing for me actually and people like you are why.

    • I’m very excited to have met you and other bloggers who share almost exactly the same reading taste. It’s almost scary that happens, but in a good way. This is what community ensues, to bring people together, especially those who have common interests. I have a huge TBR pile thanks to all the bloggers who pointed out books to my way.

  6. Great post Matt, I love bloggers reviews because it is more personal, it’s an added touch I need.

    • Professional reviews I do read, but their choices of books speak little to me. Book bloggers’ diverse interests really fill that niche and they enrich my experience as a reader.

  7. This is the best post on the book blog community I’ve read today… I think you’ve captured us perfectly. Well done, Matt!!

  8. Great post! It’s nice to see a post that really speaks to the heart of the book blogging community.

    • Thanks Trisha. I’ve been book blogging for almost 6 years. Everyday I read blog posts that give me ideas for new books and authors to read. I might not have met a lot of the book bloggers, and I am not very good at doing the community, but I always feel grateful that we have built something that brings book bloggers/readers together to talk about books. The community should feel proud and grateful in the age that book publicity in media is dwindling.

  9. I love the book blogging community. I would have passed over so many great books if I hadn’t read about them on blogs. I am comforted that there are many like-minded people out there who love to read as much as I do!

    • Not that I don’t enjoy browsing the bookstores. Given the time I would stay there all day digging the treasure. But book bloggers have changed the way I hunt for books. Instead of browsing aimlessly, which I enjoy doing, I bring a list full of books they have recommended.

  10. See, this is exactly why I love you. You bring such perspective to what we do, so eloquently. You make me feel good about us!

  11. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve quit missing The Washington Post Book World!

  12. excellent post. I love this: ” But the truth is, whether media decide to continue with their skimpy book sections or not, there will always be readers. “

  13. Oh, this is great. I consider you a “real” blogger! I think that there is a great blogger community but it also has different sections and segments. Part of the reason I love this week so much is because everyone comes together.

  14. […] a series of posts for Book Blogger Appreciation Week: On sense of community, on finding a niche in the community, on habit change, and on secrets to […]

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