Are Book Blogs Fading Out of Existence?

Has blogging fallen out of favour? Are the successful ones merely slaves to clickbait and sensationalism? Are book blogs becoming a thing of the past?

I’ve been away from the world of blogging since the start of 2020. I fell out of remission and had another battle with cancer. The prognosis was very positive because we caught it early, so there was no looming threat, but I was in for feeling like crap for a while. I wasn’t prepared for the long slog after treatment. In the past I’ve bounced back fairly quickly. This time around it has been a completely different experience. I guess with my age playing a factor, and that I’ve undergone chemo treatment twice before in my lifetime, the body has more of a battle on its hands in order to recover. It has been frustrating, but I’ve attempted to stay in positive spirits. Which is why I’ve disappeared from blogging and social media for over a year. I wanted to remove any stress from my life and concentrate on my health.

I did try to return to blogging briefly in 2020, but did not count on the ‘brain fog’ that chemo gifts you. I was forgetting things, finding it hard to concentrate. Focus would drift away. So I made the quiet decision to put all online activities aside until I was firing on all cylinders again. It seems like 2023 is that year (after a prolonged fight against COVID-19 in Jan-Feb this year.)

In the meantime I was still reading blogs, following blogs, but have noticed a disturbing trend. The blogs I follow for years have either stopped posting altogether, changed their subjects (no longer a book blog, but either a travel, mummy, or lifestyle blog) or post sporadically and sparingly. The majority of authors I follow have lost their enthusiasm for the blog format and either given up or moved on to another medium like book-tok, bookTube, or bookstagram. There are new blogs being created, but I’m not finding the type of content I prefer: discussions and critiques around all things bookish.

I’ve also seen many blog articles complaining or discussing the fall from grace of the book blog. I do think that many are loving the shorter format posts of other media either due to shorter attention spans, or being time poor. We have so much more to pack into a day, and there is a plethora of content out there to consume… All of this is just me making assumptions from observation.

The book blog will live on. I don’t think it will die out. There is still a niche for those how love the blog format, who love the recommendations and discussions – who like to take the time to find out about books, because we invest a lot of time in reading and building our libraries.

I’ve also noticed the push to make money from blogging (not necessarily book blogging) and lean towards sensationalised headlines, clickbaity content. It’s frustrating because most of the time the articles don’t really impart any real information. It’s like I have to vet my feed even after the algorithms have curated my interests. Even many of the news sites fall into this category. I’m really needing to research the stuff I read now. Is it based on real facts or ones made up? Is it an opinion piece or an advertisement? Blogs are getting like this with long rants, exposés, and links to many other social media content- like it’s not really an original content piece, just rehashing what someone else has already posted. Recycling content.

The landscape of blogging has changed so much in the last ten years. An element of commercialisation and financially motivated users have entered the space. Personally, I enjoy reading articles from like-minded people passionate about the subject they are writing about. Well thought-out discussions, well researched articles that present a number of different viewpoints.

Sheesh I sound like an old fuddy-duddy.

I’ve toyed with the idea of entering the realms of video content either on YouTube, reels on Instagram, or on TikTok, but I don’t feel comfortable seeing myself on camera, and the demographics those platforms target aren’t really my audience. It would be possible to create dynamic content (without my face and voice) to tap into those audiences but the idea feels time consuming and more about branding and changing the direction of what I do… and I don’t think I’m ready for that. Plus I set myself a limited amount of time in my day dedicated to blogging and social media so that I have plenty of time left to write and read. Changing my social media content would mean losing my ‘work time’ writing. The whole point I got on social media was to connect with like-minded bookophiles and a writing community; flipping the script to a more marketing-styled presence does not seem to grow either of those goals.

What’s your opinion on the blogosphere? Have you noticed a downward trend? Has your feed changed drastically in the last few years? Are you finding relevant content? Do you have any good blog or reading recommendations?

© Casey Carlisle 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

9 thoughts on “Are Book Blogs Fading Out of Existence?

  1. SamRushing says:

    I returned to my blog this year, after about a year and a half of a reading and blogging slump, and it does feel like a number of the bloggers and blogs I was following are no longer posting, or have shifted focus. I’m no longer seeing even remotely close to the same amount of traffic on my blog, which has been a little demoralizing, but I’m hoping things will turn around. It took a while to build up the following last time, so I just have to be patient, keep generating content, and interacting with others.

    I’ve debated about trying YouTube or TikTok, but I don’t like how I look on camera, and the idea of filming little videos or sketches or whatever fills me with anxiety. I don’t mind Instagram, especially when I’m doing readathons and such, and I already have my blog set up to cross-post on Twitter and Facebook, so those aren’t really much work.

    But I enjoy blogging. I like discussing books and having conversations about inspiration and creative writing, and working on building up my little corner of the bookish community. So I’ll keep my blog going, and hopefully those of us still enjoying book blogs will find each other and build our bookish feeds up again.

    • femaleinferno says:

      It does seem like there is a changing of the guard with respect to the bloggers out there – have many lost interest or aged out of maintaining their blog? Switched to a different medium?

      I’m starting to wonder what the future holds for bloggers with news other social media are trying to implement a monthly subscription fee… it may alter the way we blog and how we reach our audience in the future.

      But like you I blog for the love of it and will continue to do so. It’s a bit of a relaxing exercise for me and I love connecting with other readers and writers.

      • SamRushing says:

        I’ve seen some who left what are basically “goodbye” posts, and a lot speak about burnout or a change in their work/life balance or goals, or that the blog just isn’t giving them the same enjoyment or fulfillment. So, I guess I can understand how after doing something for so many years, it could potentially feel a bit stale.

        It is interesting to ponder the changes to how we approach blogging considering all of the services with subscription fees and such. Right now I’m putting out a post every single day, and I’m enjoying it, but I feel like there’s even more that I’d want to post, but I don’t want to over-saturate my blog with too many posts per day and such, so there is a thought of maybe trying a Patreon for bonus content or something. It would be something to think about, because it would mean even more time being dedicated to post writing and preparation.

        For now I’ll just keep doing my thing with my daily posts. Sure, it sometimes feels like talking into an unresponsive void, but it gives me an outlet to talk about books and writing and tabletop games and all the other geeky things that make me happy. Perhaps in future I’ll consider other options, but for right now I’m content.

  2. deborahkehoe says:

    When I first started blogging 7 years ago I had this vision of millions of followers and making money off my blog. I quickly realized that what I really enjoyed about my blog was just reading books and reviewing them. I didn’t want todo a bunch of gimmicky book tags and only occassionally will post an editorial when a subject occurs to me that I find might be interesting. So, the blog became more about my own interests and not fixated on capturing followers, etc. somehow I have managed to find a small following anyways and surprisingly have some publishers reacting favorably and giving me more ebooks than I can read. Lol. My lesson learned was to do what pleases you as that will resonate with the people who think like you and you will enjoy what you are doing. Even after seven years. I liked this topic! Nice post!

  3. Katie @ Wandering Reader says:

    I’ve noticed it too. For me, I’ve moved away from book blogging because I don’t have the mental bandwidth right now. I do post on bookstagram occasionally though. I’d like to go back to blogging and have considered it for at least the books that I’ve found that I love. But since I only do it for fun and not as a source of income, it’s easier to walk away from it, I think.

  4. whisperinggums says:

    Interesting Casey, but first, I’m sorry about the return of your cancer and the time it has taken for you to recover this time. So glad though that you did get it early and you are back on top again.

    I have been wondering a little about whether the role of blogging is changing. For me, my life has changed dramatically since 2020 – my mum died that year, my dad died the next year. We had our first grandchild born in 2018 and the second in 2022. They both live 7 hours drive away. As a result, with no parents nearby anymore we are visiting our children and grandchildren far more often and for longer than we used to. This is cutting significantly into my reading and writing time. I am also in the process of downsizing in my city, which is further cutting into that time. So, all the changes for me have been personal.

    In terms of bloggers I must say that most of the ones I read are still around. I know one who shifted significantly from books to climate action. Another has broadened. But the key ones I follow are still active and still doing the same thing. Indeed I cannot keep up with them. I have seen younger people – under 40 – move to Instagram, BookTube etc, but these don’t interest me because, like you, I like real content. I hate just seeing book covers, people rabbiting on about opening their book boxes. etc. I’m not looking for MORE books to read so much as for discussion about books.

    • femaleinferno says:

      I’m sorry to hear about all of the personal loss you’ve been dealing with. I lost my Mum nearly 10 years ago and it still affects me deeply. It was like I became untethered and I haven’t been able to feel like myself since. Especially when I fell out of remission and when I was going through COVID-19 – when you are at your sickest, no matter how old you are, you just want your Mum there to comfort you.

      I’m starting to find new bloggers who like to discuss books and writing. So I’m starting to feel like I’m a part of a community again. When I went through my ‘Following’ list close to 80% have not posted much since the pandemic hit. Maybe it forced a lot of bloggers to re-prioritise with less income to the household? Maybe they need a mental break after the toll the shutdown took on them? Funnily enough though I’m starting to see an uptick in the amount of Australian content with book reviews which delights me to no end!

      • whisperinggums says:

        Oh I understand… I miss my mum so much … always want to tell her things, run things by her. I know she would support what we are doing. I guess we are lucky to have had mums who were so lovely?

        I’m glad you are finding new Aussie content bloggers … new to the internet or new to you?

      • femaleinferno says:

        The Aussie content – some is new, most is new to me. While I was recovering I had a lot more time to spend scouring the internet and bookmark things. Plus I feel Australian content is being marketing internationally more, and with the publishing industry finally hitting its stride we’re seeing more published works.

        I definitely count myself lucky for my Mum. I’m still amazed by all her achievements, how much energy and excitement for life she had. Total aspiration!

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