The Difference Between Readers and Bloggers

Posted November 20, 2015 / Discussions, Features / 31 Comments

A popular TTT a few weeks ago introduced me to a lot of people’s bad bookish habits that they want to quit. Along with popular “bookworm problems” or “confessions,” this general topic makes its way around our section of the internet quite frequently. We’re always discussion some of our quirky or bad habits surrounding reading and blogging. It makes for a lot of fun conversation because you’re like THANK GOD I’m not the only one who does this! In reading the comments on my post, I started to think: bookworm problems that you’ll see on Buzzfeed, for example, don’t FULLY get us bloggers. People who read and people who blog (about books) are sort of really different. OUR bookish “bad habits” aren’t even thought about by the general reading population. Most of them are driven by blogging. We totally relate to those long lists of bookish problems like wanting a full-scale library in your house or thinking of fictional characters in non-fictional ways. BUT, beyond that, we put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves to read and blog and keep on top of things. (I loved Brittany’s somewhat similar post a while ago on cutting ourselves some slack!) Being a regular ol’ reader is a totally different story.

blogger vs readerThis is meant to be a fun post to kind of make fun of ourselves and think about our bookish habits from before we became bloggers. Remember those days? Free from obligations and terms like TBR or DNF? Let’s reminisce on the good days, shall we? And hopefully think of ways we can bring the old, FUN habits back in some ways…

On feeling obligated to read…

tvSeriously though. My biggest issue at night is exactly what I said there. For some idiotic reason, I feel like a butthole if my nose isn’t in a book. (That was a weird way to phrase that but I stand by my word choices.) Feeling obligated to read and making yourself feel terrible when you choose another hobby is really STUPID… but it doesn’t stop me from doing it. This is something I’ve repeatedly vowed to get better at, and I’m trying. It’s kind of working. The baffling thing, for me at least, is that I’m always ahead on my Goodreads challenge and yet I STILL feel the need to worry about it. I feel like if I don’t finish a book for a few days, my whole world is going up in flames. It’s such a stupid number to think about, to be honest. I miss the reader days where I had countless hobbies to choose from and none of them felt like chores.

On the dreaded DNF…

DNFI didn’t even know what it MEANT to DNF a book before blogging. I don’t think any of us did. When we decided to put down a book (and never pick it up again), we just… did it. I honestly think most people didn’t think anything of it. There’s one book that just sat under my bedside table at my dad’s house for literal years because I never felt like picking it up and reading it again. I never made the conscious decision to stop reading that book; I just never bothered to open it up again. Readers in general always have that option, but us bloggers make a ~bigger deal~ about DNFing (usually).

On the towering TBR list…

tbr pileTBR is another book blogger term that most people don’t even know. Instead of just having a general idea of what books we want to read, we have multiple names and multiple lists. I have my TBR list of books I actually own, a list of books I MAY want to read someday, and a list of books that I don’t even own but know I definitely want to read. With so many lists of books to choose from, it’s amazing we all don’t pass out every time we go to pick out another book to read. Most regular readers just buy books and read them. Some of them have a Goodreads account to keep track, but most don’t. Imagine that, right? You literally have three options: stare at your bookshelves, go to a bookstore, or browse Amazon for your next read. You don’t have to consult fifteen of your blog friends or write an ~OCTOBER TBR~ post on your blog. YOU JUST READ.

On getting and reading ARCs…

arczYet another baffling vocabulary word… ARCs. We love them and we hate them. Honestly, it’s incredibly cool that we have the opportunity to read books before they’re published, especially when we don’t have to pay a dime for them. It’s kind of amazing. It really is a nice form of “payment” for all the work we do on our blogs. ARCs unfortunately are probably the #1 cause of stress for many bloggers. Keeping track of them and reading them all before pub dates can be really hard. This is not an issue for readers AT ALL. They don’t even know this is an option. I know I didn’t before I started blogging. So much of the added pressure comes from these wonderful inventions; they’re certainly a double-edged sword.

On judging books by Goodreads ratings…

ratingzHow did you pick out books before reading them back in the day? I would go to Barnes & Noble, read some plot summaries, and buy a few books. I remember googling book release dates and relying on random websites to find out when the next book in the Gossip Girl or Private series was coming out. I’d write them on my whiteboard to keep track and go to the store to buy them that month. I did create a Goodreads account back in 2010, but I used it just for tracking books I wanted to read. I never looked at other people’s ratings before reading a book. Now? If I see a random book at the store, 99% of the time I will check the Goodreads rating before purchasing. It’s kind of insane. Betty talked about this too – sometimes we spend so much time focusing on those numbers and what other bloggers think, that we don’t think about how much the book really interests us personally. I wish I could block Goodreads sometimes and just read/cancel those voices out. Although, I will say, it’s very helpful to have multiple opinions when it comes to spending your hard-earned dollars.

On blog posting and review-writing…

reviewzIt’s kind of wild how we read books, write reviews on them, and move on to the next. I remember when reading was purely a hobby for me and I didn’t run over to my computer to flail or rant after finishing a book. I’m the worst at this because I write reviews almost immediately after finishing the book. I can’t help it… otherwise I forget everything. This is probably the most basic #BloggerProblem that I can think of because most people in the world read without obligation or sense of urgency. I know a lot of bloggers that are like OH SHIT I haven’t written a review in weeks. I don’t usually have this issue, but I know it’s a big deal for a lot of people!

On rating books…

ratingzzzHonestly did you even consider this as a regular reader? I never thought to myself, “on a scale of 1 to 5, I’d give this book a 3.5.”  Like, not ever. It’s interesting that we put so much stock on book ratings and trying to numerically define just how much we loved or hated a book. Don’t get me wrong, I love this habit. It really helps me organize my thoughts and think about which books I’d definitely recommend to someone else. Number scales are something that everyone can understand. When I didn’t blog, I would rate all books in a series the same. If I loved the series in a general sense, all books would get 5 stars on my pre-blogging Goodreads account. Now, I’ve had to go back and edit ratings based on how I actually felt about some books in each series. Not all books are created equal! (Middle book syndrome is real, man.) I think my biggest dilemma with ratings books is that I sometimes don’t know what the fuck to rate it. I’ll spend WAY too much time debating internally, pitting that book against other books I’ve rated, and writing my review. I wish I could have a more casual attitude towards finishing a book and moving on to the next one. I’d love to just pick up my next book or the remote without a second thought.

what do yo uthink

31 responses to “The Difference Between Readers and Bloggers

  1. I love this post! It’s so true, although I did rate books for a couple of years before I started blogging.

    I’ve tried to explain my monthly TBR stack to my mother, and she does not get it at all. She’s all like “why are you putting so much pressure on yourself”. She doesn’t understand that it’s good pressure. I want to read more, and I like reviewing books on my blog when I finish. That’s another reason why I hate to DNF. I want to rate the bad books, and I don’t rate them unless I finish.

    Kate @ Mom's Radius recently posted: Friday Fiction #5: Blind Date (with link up)
  2. HAH oh gosh. I’m happy to say that, while I *understand* all of these problems, I fortunately don’t struggle with most of them. The perks of not taking my blogging self too seriously. 😛 I’m trying to look at my blog as a way for me to be more thoughtful about the books I’m already reading, and fortunately that works well with the way I naturally like to read.

    I’ve actually stopped submitting ARC requests for the time being because there are so many other books that I want to read and am actually excited about, even if they’re not brand new releases. Requesting books and writing reviews for those books is what makes blogging feel like WORK, and it makes ME feel like I’m just trying to keep up with the Joneses, ya know??

    I definitely struggle with judging books by Goodreads ratings, but I find that I rarely agree with other reviewers anyway, so really I check Goodreads more out of habit than for decision-making purposes. And honestly, the Goodreads habit started WELL before I even began blogging, so it’s not a huge change in my life hahaha.

  3. I do miss those attitudes a lot! Wah. But also, I have to say I actually don’t rely much on GR average ratings as much as I did BEFORE I started blogging! I guess it was because I had no one else to rely to other than a book website. So it was nice having friends recommending books to me and reading reviews on them and not even bothering to look at the GR ratings!

    Awesome post Lauren! It makes me miss the good old days, but I still would NEVER STOP BLOGGING. I REGRET NOTHINGGGG

    Valerie recently posted: Discovering A New Superhero To Love
  4. I think a lot of this depends on what kind of a reader you were to begin with. The sense of impending due date for reviews is something I wouldn’t have if not for blogging – but I don’t feel like blogging has giantly changed my reading habits otherwise.

    Even before I started a book blog, I was constantly updating my towering TBR list (I’m one of those list-making types, I guess!). And I wouldn’t pick up a book if it was panned by trusted reviewers.

    Paloma @ Pages and Pineapples recently posted: Getting a ‘national’ vibe from a novel
  5. This is so on point! Especially about Netflix versus books. Even when I find myself bingeing a TV series, at the back of my mind I’m thinking of the book I decided not to read in favour of Netflix. Though I think the difference between pre-blogging and blogging attitudes aren’t as pronounced for me because I was on Goodreads years before I got into blogging. Things like rating and not reading a book that has an average rating below 3.5 stars (unless the synopsis truly appeals to me) were already common for me before blogging.

    Though, in terms of DNF, I hadn’t had a grasp of that concept pre-blogging and even now that I’ve learnt what it stands for, I still finish reading 98% of the books I start. Pre-blogging I think I must’ve finished 99.5% of the books I started since I had no qualms taking two months to finish a book. I just hate not finishing what I start. Haha.

    Joséphine @ Word Revel recently posted: Frankfurt Book Fair 2015, Vol. 2: The Programmes
  6. This post is AMAZING. Because it is so damn accurate. Seriously, I laughed so hard because it is all incredibly true. Before blogging I would have reading spurts- I might read 5 books one week, and then nothing for the rest of the month. It didn’t matter. Now… ugh, if I get to fewer than two a week I am pulling out my hair! And the ratings thing is SO TRUE. Before blogging, I would either decide that I liked it, didn’t like it, or didn’t care one way or the other. That was it. Now, we agonize over a half of a star that GR and Amazon don’t even let us USE!

    The only thing I can say is the opposite for me is DNFing. For some reason, I NEVER let myself not finish a book when I was just a reader. I have no idea why, I just didn’t. Now that I know that DNFing is a thing, I force myself to do it every so often (but not often enough, I fear!)

  7. I love this post!

    I guess I miss my pre-blogging attitude a little bit. I only had to worry about release dates when it came to the next instalment of my favourite series (for me it was The IT Girl series!) rather than my worries having anything to do with ARCs. YES to the Netflix thing! When I’m marathoning a series I often think “I could have read two books by now” or something similar. And I’ve always worried about my TBR pile, even if I didn’t call it that six years ago 😀

    At the same time, I love this whole little world that I’ve discovered! I’m past the point of stressing out over things too much now, I think. I spent far too long doing that in the early days, and now I’m much more chill! Although my TBR could use some whittling down.

    Amber @ Books of Amber recently posted: Mini Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  8. Great post! I had never really thought of it this way before… I mean, lately, I’ve been feeling a little like blogging is a chore, and I’ve been longing for a more casual attitude towards reading, but I never thought of it in such black and white terms. There’s blogging ‘tude, and just a reader’s attitude. I LOVE the lists you came up with. I totally related to all of this haha and “I feel like a butthole if my nose isn’t in a book.” A+ word choices xD xD xD made me laugh really hard.

    Anyways, I’m taking a break and just reading for pleasure again. My blog is full of bookish tags. I’ll review when I feel like it.

    Again, great post! This made me feel easier about blogging surprisingly 🙂 🙂

    SJ Bouquet recently posted: The Aches And Pains Of Being A Slow Reader
  9. Cee

    THIS IS SO ACCURATE. Life was a bit easier before becoming a blogger. I miss when I didn’t put so much pressure on myself to read or finish a book. It’s like I feel more obligated to read these days, and that’s not a bad thing, but it is terrible if I feel bad about it. It always makes me wonder if I would’ve read as much as I do now if I hadn’t become a blogger. (I probably would. I keep forgetting I was a big reader growing up, lol.)

    I think with the “judging books by GR ratings” isn’t a blogger thing. With the advancement in technology (smartphones and all), it’s much easier to look up a book’s rating. It’s awesome, but I do agree we put so much weight behind the numbers.

    • I know! I hate feeling obligated but I do love what happens after I finish – the discussion, the reviews, the community.

      I would be more free to buy whatever book I wanted (even when I got GR back in 2010) and put less stock in those numbers. Now, I don’t buy a book without looking! But that’s a good point – technology definitely makes it easier for people to check about a book before buying.

  10. What an eye-opening post! Sometimes when I find myself missing those pre-blogger days of laid back reading, I stop myself. I chose to be a blogger because of my love of books and the ability to share that love. Who cares if I don’t complete my GR challenge? I enjoy what I’m doing, and in the end my happiness is worth all the trouble. 🙂

    Aila @ One Way Or An Author recently posted: Blogger Positivity Campaign: Letter to a Fictional Character
  11. Oh god, I can relate to so many of these. While I’m not too hard on myself, most of these thoughts do cross my mind. Like this month, I’ve only reviewed 2 books because I tend to read and write a review as I go (no planning ahead), and 2 is all I read this month. And I’m sitting here thinking “oh god, my readers hate me, I need to review a book!” It can definitely take the fun out of reading/blogging when you feel like you have to do something.

    Great post!

    Molly recently posted: Thanksgiving & A Blog Wrap-Up
  12. Completely brilliant! I’d love to say more but I have to finish that book and write a review for the blog tour I’m on TOMORROW…Guess that identifies me as a true blue blogger!

  13. This post is AMAZING!!! Lauren you are hilarious and I completely related to every damn thing you said. I just starting blogging in September and even though I really have no idea what I’m doing still, all of these rabg true for me. I had a Goodreads I started ages ago and I finally actually started using it just a few months ago. Now I’m obsessed with ratings and reading friends reviews before I buy something. ? PLUS I always need to review books right away too or I also forget EVERYTHING. I will even have to look at my previous reviews to remember what books were about ? whoops.

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