Friday, April 29, 2016

Blogging vs. Bookstagram: Is It Really A Competition? | Discussion

Talk Blogging

The title here really says it all.  I want to know if blogging, book blogging in particular, is going out of style and being replaced by the ever-growing Bookstagram.  For the longest time, blogs were popping up left and right.  It was the thing to do.  At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it (let’s be real here, it means more competition) but I realized that the addition of new blogs to the blogosphere was a good thing.  The addition of new book blogs proved that we were making an impact and it showed that other people wanted to do the same.  Now, on the other hand, I don’t see a ton of new blogs pop up and I actually see a decrease in the ones that currently exist.

I’ve been blogging for over 7 years now and I’ve seen a lot of blogs come and go.  I’ve seen the growth of Booktube and I’m now watching the growth of Bookstagram.  While I love the addition of new mediums, I hate the thought that blogs are getting pushed to the side.  I find it funny that we are all self-professed lovers of reading and yet the blog is going out of style because people don’t really want to read them anymore.  Pictures and videos are much preferred these days.

Blogging is extremely time consuming.  It’s not just the act of actually blogging that we have to worry about, we also have to count time spent reading all those review books.  I don’t know about you guys but it can sometimes take me an hour to get a post drafted, formatted, and scheduled.  It doesn’t usually take me quite that long but sometimes there are reviews where I just can’t say enough or can’t quite get the words right.  It’s a huge undertaking when you start a blog and I honestly don’t think people realize or really appreciate that until they have their own blog.  Now try running a blog and all the other social media accounts that go along with it.  It’s not easy to balance that and have a life.  (Come on, we all know I don’t really have a life outside my blog.)

Speaking of other social media accounts, I’m attempting to grow my Instagram account and make it a dedicated Bookstagram to go along with my blog.  I will freely admit that I have no skills with a camera and editing is not my forte.  Everything I am doing, I’m doing on my own.  I’m attempting to figure out how to frame the perfect shot, place the right props, and set it against the perfect backdrop.  Not to mention get the lighting right.  It’s pretty cloudy here in Colorado sometimes so natural lighting isn’t always possible.  I realize now that I’m trying to learn this stuff that it’s not as easy as grabbing a phone, taking a photo, and posting it to Instagram.  It may seem like that at first but it’s not the case.  Bookstagram does take skill and a pretty good amount of time depending on how many shots you take and if you choose to edit those photos.

Bookstagram

One thing I have noticed about Bookstagram and what’s hard not to notice is the follower counts.  Bookstagram accounts range from a couple hundred followers to close to a hundred thousand followers.  Blogs have never had that kind of popularity and it’s hard not to get discouraged by that.  No matter how many times we try to stress that follower count isn’t the most important thing ever, it’s obviously a pretty big deal.  We wouldn’t be spending all this time writing blog posts if no one was reading them.  To be honest, these days it sometimes feels like that is what we are doing.  I will even admit that I check Instagram a lot more often than I check my blog feed.  It’s just more convenient and everyone knows that people are all about the convenient option these days.

However, I think instead of being a bad thing for blogs, Bookstagram can be a great asset.  If you have the skills to post pictures that draw people in and use the caption to attract those readers to a blog post, your traffic can definitely be boosted.  Those huge follower counts can really work in favor of your blog, if you have one.  The really tough part is going to be consistently posting good pictures to grow that follower count.  You also have to take into account that no matter how many hashtags you use, people aren’t just going to stumble upon your page.  You have to reach out and create connections by checking out other accounts and commenting.  It’s just like trying to grow traffic to your blog when you first start it.  It’s kind of like starting over.

Do you think blogging is going out of style?  Do you see Bookstagram and Booktube taking over and blogs getting pushed aside?   Do you blog, vlog, or bookstagram?  All three?  Which do you prefer?

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20 Comments

  1. Crimson613

    Nice post! I’ve also noticed that bookstagrams are really popular, I like to follow them because they have nice pictures (I wish I could do something like that but i just don’t have the time to keep one going or the skills LOL) 😀 they’re like taking a break from the massive amounts of reviews out there, which can get pretty boring after awhile

    I haven’t been around for too long but I think it’s getting harder to start blogging, there really has to be something unique about a blogger for people to read their stuff regularly, be it in content or personality. I only blog but I’ve done a few unboxing stuff for YT, the editing process is pretty time consuming, possibly the reason I don’t do it often (not to mention the upload time Orz) So blogging is my favorite xD I try to keep things short though, unless it’s some kind of rant or in-depth post

  2. Devynn

    Hello! For starters, I want to let you know that I read your blog entry! I recently just started my own blog. I originally did so because I couldn’t make a booktube. My computer isn’t super reliable and I didn’t have the video editing software. I’ll admit, up until about two weeks ago I didn’t really read that many blogs. I primarily just watched videos on booktube. After having my blog for a short period of time I realized that I didn’t quite know what I was doing so I went and read other blogs to get an idea. I now find myself reading other blogs just for fun then watching youtube. I’m also glad that I not having video editing software pushed me into creating a blog because I really like it. It remind me how much I love to write, even though I’m not all thay good at it. I agree with you though that in a sense followers do matter, it brings more awareness. I too have a bookstagram and my pictures aren’t nearly as gorgeous as some but I’m in the works of fixing that. I like both blogging and bookstagram. I would like to think and hope that bookstagram and booktube aren’t taking over. Although I haven’t been blogging or following blogs long enough to know. I’ve only been doing this book thing for about a year now.

  3. T.L. Phillips

    Hi Katie,

    I don’t think it’s a competition really. I think like all new things, people are curious and rushing over in droves to check them out. Some of them will stay, some will eventually return to the blogs they love, and others will find a balance between them all.

    This post is the first post I’ve actually read through Bloglovin’ and already I’ve found inspiration for a new post of my own. I hope you don’t mind if I link back to this post for my small (but hopefully growing) readership.

    Keep on blogging!

  4. Chrystal

    I feel like Bookstagram accounts are more popular lately, but I will always read a good blog post/review over just seeing a pretty picture of books. My Instagram is both book is and personal. I don’t differentiate them. It’s all me and I’m not really fancy with my bookish photos and all. I want to be, but haven’t tried styling them yet.

  5. Lisa @ Lost in Lit

    Coming from someone who has both a blog and a bookstagram account, I think they go very nicely together. 🙂 Though not all of my followers follow both, it’s still nice to tie them together when I can. They’re very different to me, yet both bring me the same level of joy.

    I’ve been blogging for 5+ years now, so like you, I’ve seen lots of blogs come and go. I like to think that bookstagram isn’t doing away with blogs, it’s just a nice addition to. Bookstagram is a great form of publicity to get books out there… but as a reader, there’s still nothing like a written review. Just because a book looks pretty in a picture doesn’t mean I’ll be buying it.

    This is such a great post! 🙂

  6. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    I’ve been thinking about this too. Lately, I had been suffering a HUGE blogging slump and found that Bookstagram was an outlet for me to really feel passionate again. It’s been a relief to care and feel that same excitement. But, I still love my blog. For me, personally, my bookstagram is REALLY time consuming but I’m having so much fun it doesn’t feel like it? But I could see how if I’m not in the mood it would feel like a chore. I think all mediums can really take a lot of time and effort. I don’t really think they compete though? I’m not sure. Really great post! I think it’s fun/interesting to see lots of folks migrating to Instagram these past few weeks.

  7. Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide

    This is a really interesting post! I’ve definitely been inspired by the big bookstagrammers out there and made the decision a few months ago to really try to step up my bookstagram game and make a real effort with my photos. I’ve always wanted to try photography so this was an easy “transition” for me (from just snapping away to actual set up and care for lighting and whatnot) but I DO totally see that shift, whether permanent or a passing fad, to lots and lots of attention for bookstagram. I think part of it, like you said, is that it’s so easy to just hop onto Instagram and scroll through. Scroll through hundreds of pictures, like a ton, read a few captions, but you don’t always have to read to like or be dazzled and I think people are not taking the time to read blogs as much any more (or at least it feels that way sometimes). I also agree that people really don’t understand how much time it takes until they do it! There’s a big difference between just writing a blog post and writing, formatting, designing a graphic, linking up to everything, and then cross-posting on social media. Not to mention we’re actually reading full books for our hobby that takes up so much time aside from just the post itself! I think a lot of people are turning to Instagram as a book community because it’s so much quicker to gain someone’s attention and it’s quicker for the audience to react.
    I’m FLOORED with the amount of followers that some of these accounts have! It’s very cool to see numbers like that in the book community but sometimes I’m also like, I’ve been blogging for four years and work my tush off and then a bookstagrammer snaps some nice photos (which not discounting that — I try to make my photos half as nice and it’s a lot of work too!) and BAM in a month they have thousands more followers than I do now haha. I’ve seen those numbers just QUICKLY. But I also do understand that it’s easier to follow someone on social media than actually go back and visit/read a blog.
    For me, my Instagram is an extension of my blog but I also don’t feel like it really crosses over or carries many people over to my blog. I actually posted a graphic from a blog post one time and someone commented on Twitter shortly thereafter something snide about how tacky it was to fish for blog followers on Instagram. I don’t know if that was about me or not since I wasn’t mentioned but I was like wow, really? My instagram account is FOR my blog so I was surprised to even see some sort of negative connection there between blog and Instagram. That was the first time I felt some sort of competitive feeling but I didn’t really realize for a long time that people were JUST doing bookstagram accounts and not actually blogging. Then I realized duh, of course not all of these people had blogs.
    Anyway. This was a crazy long comment and I’m sorry haha! This was a great post and really interesting to think about!! I don’t feel like it’s too competitve right now but I have noticed waaaay more bookstagram accounts popping up so I guess I actually do feel a bit competitive in the sense like “Hey, I was here first!” but the audience will be attracted to the pretty results and while I enjoy my photos, I know they’re not nearly the quality as some of these awesome photographers! I follow them myself and I’m always impressed so while I can feel competitive sometimes, it mostly inspires me to keep on working on my own photography and gain some more skill. It’s a good sort of “competition” for me and one that helps me grow 🙂

  8. Briana @ Pages Unbound

    I’m not on Instagram and probably won’t be any time soon, but I have noticed the increased popularity. I prefer blogs because I’m really in it for the content. I want long, thoughtful reviews and discussions, rather than pictures.

    However, I do think bloggers are being asked to do more and more to be “successful,” including running Instagram and Youtube accounts alongside their blogs. I think blogging is changing and maybe people will pick up co-bloggers to deal with all the increased work.

  9. SaarBlogs

    I’ve been blogging since August last year and I started a bookstagram just a couple of weeks ago.
    I definitely rank more on the ‘small blog’ end of the scale, but none the less, what I noticed is that, even after just three weeks, bookstagram is a lot “easier” for other people to participate in – it’s so easy to just give a like or a quick comment, rather than reading a blog, typing an actual reaction, and often having to give up personal information in order to get it posted.
    That being said, though, I also feel like bookstagram is in many ways a lot “flimsier”: because you can just like a pic and be on with it, quite often the popularity of that photo is going to depend entirely on luck, no matter how many followers you have. Blogging seems to be exactly the opposite: people that actually take the time to read your blog tend to be more easily persuaded to get “involved” and will more easily turn into long-term readers…
    So I guess I see the two mainly as complementary elements of the same spectrum?

  10. April Books & Wine

    I am with you. I think they go hand in hand and are complimentary. I did catch myself feeling a little jealousy this morning over an anthology that pairs authors and booktubers but then I was like, no. Get out of the scarcity mindset, there’s enough room and opportunity at the book loving table for anyone with passion, grit, and whose ready to work hard to grow their platform. Also, I am so so glad Evie posted a how to Bookstagram, it makes me want to work harder to make my IG platform better. Anyways, great post!

  11. Rachel

    I agree, I think bookstagram and book blogging kind of go hand in hand, but I too am floored/surprised by the huge follower counts for some bookstagrammers. Their pictures are so darn pretty though!! I feel like blogging has its ups and downs but it will always be around. Especially because when you are on consumer sites, people READ book/product reviews. They’re not going to look at a picture or watch a booktube video, you can only see book reviews on amazon/b&n sites… I feel like both booktube + bookstagram are great examples of exposure for books, but book blogging is more in-depth kind of? I do see some bookstagrammers write FULL reviews in the comments, but idk if people read those… There’s always something new and expanding horizons (bookstagram/booktube/booklr), so we shall see. xD

    Great discussion!

  12. Valerie

    I agree with all of this! I find it so much easier to get a lot of likes on instagram by using tags, even though I don’t have as many followers. It’s just so easy to like something and then move on. Which is ironic because it probably takes more than an hour to set up something for Instagram. Like even though it seems really easy, there are a lot of photos there that require a TON of prep. Which as of now, I don’t have the time or the materials to do (it also seems really expensive).

    I think that because blogging requires a lot more work to get the word out, there hasn’t been as many new blogs (not that I would know! I guess). It’s not like you can use a hashtag to spread word of your post. And then for comments, it’s harder to get comments on posts because it requires reading the post and thinking up something, and it’s just so much more energy (because as bloggers, we tend to, or at least I do, look at the number of comments to see how successful a post is).

    Also, do you know if publishers send ARCs to bookstagrammers? Or do they need to have a blog? (Or does your bookstagram need to have 60k followers like above?).

    I think (hopefully) that blogging won’t phase out. I remember last year I had the highest stats during the summer, and that was because 1) I was more free, and 2) others were more free, so hopefully we’ll see that again? 🙂

    Awesome post Katie!

  13. Mareli Thalwitzer

    Now that is a good post for a newbie – like me! I am still trying to figure out my blog page and now I need to start worrying about Instagram….. I have an instagram account as well, don’t really use it that much. But I might try to see if I can perhaps link the two. I do believe that we need to do what we LIKE first and utmost. If you like to write blogs, first focus on that, the rest will find a place. Same with getting snappy-happy! If that makes you tickle, then snap away. I guess it is important to “stay with the times”, but blogging in which ever format must firstly be about what YOU love and enjoy. The results will reflections of you, so stay true to that.

  14. Ace

    No matter what, Blogging will never, I repeat, NEVER go out of style or go out of date. Yes there will always be other types of blogging (instagram, facebook, etc.) but the website version will always last. It will last even if all computers are so advanced they are working with our thoughts, we will be here even if we are old and frail, we will still be typing.

    ~Ace
    aijaace.weebly.com

  15. Christin

    This is something that I’ve been wondering about. I’ve just come back to blogging, but for the blogs that are still here, I’ve seen a lot of attached Instagrams. I recently met a few people who were introduced as “Bookstagrammers” and I was surprised that was a thing. I think they can work really nicely together. A good picture of a gorgeous cover–where’s bad? With so many people looking at Instagram whenever they have a spare few minutes (or scrolling while doing almost anything else), it’s a great way to catch someone’s attention. However, I’m not sure it can really replace full reviews. Personally, I hope that Instagram (and its instant gratification) doesn’t completely take over–I’m awful at taking good pictures and even less talented at editing them.

    I guess it’s something where we wait and see where the trend takes us. As long as books are getting the attention and love that they deserve, it can’t be a bad thing.

  16. Stefani

    I see them as different outlets. I can spend hours scrolling on Instagram and looking at gorgeous pictures but when it comes down to whether I prefer blogs of bookstagram I will always be loyal to blogs. Happy reading!

  17. Anna

    I’m not well connected with technology… actually I hate it, but blogging is something that’s more traditional and passionate which is why I love it so much! What I’m saying is, just do what you always do (which is blogging) because that is what you love right? If you do that you won’t have to worry about Bookstagram or whatever.
    Just keep blogging…

  18. Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit

    I think the two go hand in hand. I will never believe blogs will go out of style or become obsolete, because I think they’re what the internet does best: give people a voice. My bread and butter is writing and reading, so I still gravitate to blogs more than anything else.

    That said, it’s fun to look at all the pics on Instagram, especially bookstagram. There are some really talented people out there, and I really appreciate beautiful photography. I love using it to practice my own photography, but I know there are people out there who spend a lot of time working on their photos and I think that’s valid as well. It’s a good promo tool (great for book hauls), but I would never be exclusively a bookstagrammer because it’s not enough for me. I like to engage with books and community more than that. But I’m glad bookstagram exists for people who just want to know more about new books.

    As for BookTube – I’m one of those people who doesn’t get booktube, I get bored really fast and I can’t scroll through. But again, I think it’s great that the community exists.

    I honestly don’t worry that much about competition and views. I like to get eyeballs on my stuff, of course, but frankly, thinking about that makes me exhausted and I feel like it sucks the joy out of what I do. I’m very focused on blogging for me, I guess? But I guess it’s true that attention spans are short…I don’t know, though, I still think there are articles on Slate and such that get a lot of attention. Good content is good content, you know?

    (sorry this ended up being epic).

  19. Sarah

    I love reading blogs. I use a reader called Feedly and follow loads of book blogs. Some of these also have Instagram accounts which I also follow. I love the immediacy and visual nature of Instagram, but I find I’m way more persuaded into reading books by a good review. 🙂

  20. Josselyn Radillo

    Hi Katie, i been blogging about books for almost 2 years now and do blog about fashion and lifestyle as well, tho my book blog has increasing slowly and now i decided to use my skills taking pictures to add more traffic and be a bookstagram as well tho i dont post my review on IG because i think that’s not the special place for what i love and reading is my passion.
    i do think that posting pics about books is becoming trending but people are forgetting to read them and focus on the real art.

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