What the heck has become of this community?

Posted August 10, 2016 by Kaitlynn in discussion / 23 Comments

My title seems pretty self-explanatory.  This is pretty much just me ranting so if that’s not what you want to read, you should probably stop reading this post now.  You have been warned!

If you read my last post or have paid any attention to the blog, you know I have taken a break from blogging.  Part of it was stress and lack of time and part of it was because I honestly just got fed up with how I’ve seen book bloggers acting this past year.  I’m sure it’s not just book bloggers but since those are pretty much the only people I pay attention to online, it’s really noticeable to me.

It seems like every time I login to Twitter, it’s a competition.  Let’s be real here, blogging has always been about the books and no matter what people say, it’s always been about the ARCs for some.  You can see who those people are just by logging in and checking out the BooksForTrade hashtag on Twitter.  That started out as a great way to spread the ARCs around and clean off your shelves but that is not what it has become.  It’s almost impossible to trade books now because people have wishlists of books that aren’t even available.  People want only specific ARCs of either much older books or books that haven’t even had ARCs made yet.  They also are only willing to trade their books for those specific books.  Then there are the people who go to conferences and get really popular books and then post them on the hashtag.  Pretty sure that’s not what those conferences are for but what do I know, I’ve only been attending them for the past 5 years.

Here’s another thing that the BooksForTrade hashtag really brought to my attention: the lust for ARCs.  What the heck?  I can understand wanting an ARC of your favorite book but I don’t see the need to have ARCs for every popular series out there.  It’s pretty easy to see who wants the ARC for their collection and who wants it just to show the rest of the world that they have it.  If your wishlist consists of nothing but really popular books and in ARC format, good luck with that.  Pretty sure you’re completely missing the point of not only the hashtag but the whole reading thing in general.  Don’t get me wrong though, if I thought I could trade someone for a Harry Potter ARC, I’d put my firstborn child up for trade.

I swear this next part is my last little rant but I have got to say something about Instagram or as us bloggers know it, bookstagram.  I used to love going on Instagram to see what books people had bought or received or were reading but I can’t really stand it much anymore.  Every other post is sponsored by someone or something and the posts that aren’t sponsored are trying really hard to get sponsors.  For something called bookstagram, it doesn’t seem to focus much on the books anymore.  Most of the pictures that are supposedly about books focus more on the accessories or props that are with the books in the photo.  And don’t even get me started about the books.  It’s clear which books are popular at the moment and those are pretty much the only books you are going to see photos of on Instagram.  It’s well known that the popular books are the ones that get the most likes in photos.  Why would anyone post photos of lesser known books if they know they aren’t going to get them more likes or followers.

I know not everyone is going to agree with me about the things posted here but this is my blog and these are my thoughts.  This is how I feel and it’s a big reason why I took such a step back from social media.  I know these are very generalized statements and I’m not saying that everyone does this.  There are bookstagrammers that I adore and people who use the BooksForTrade hashtag for its original purpose.  It just seems like everyone wants what other people have. When did it stop being about being grateful for what we do have?

Follow by Email1

23 responses to “What the heck has become of this community?

  1. This. Seriously. Just all of this. I don’t pay a lot of attention to bookstagram tbh, I’ve been anti-Instagram since they screwed everything up but I will rant for hours about the booksfortrade hashtag and the trashy people on it.

  2. Perfectly said. I’ve been out of the book blogging loop for the last few years for various reasons but came back to all of this just this summer. Everything is so different compared to when I first joined the community in 2011. ARCs are great but I never realized how greatly covered they were. As someone who can’t make conferences and doesn’t receive them often in the mail, it’s been a shocking experience to see the huge stacks on #booksfortrade and the extremely limited wishlists from their owners. Where’s the love for the book vs the status symbol ARCs seem to have become?

    Sorry, a little ranty there myself. Great post. 🙂

  3. I check peoples wish lists every time I see them pop up in case I have something that they have on theirs.

    Some how I almost never do. And I have a lot of ARCs. Older ARCs even from when I was a bookseller (I just haven’t read them yet). I love helping an actual collector get an ARC though. What I like to think of its “final” home. But you are very right. You can really tell when it is someone who wants it because they love all things by that author/series and those who just want it to say that they have it.

    And bookstagram. Everyones pictures start looking the same. A book with stuff around it. Yes, they look nice and clean, but eh. I take photos and put them on there. Half the time they are just chilling on my fireplace or are in my hand!

    Everyone seems to be trying to one up each other with the same stuff. Over and over again.

    Anyways. I missed you. I hope this means you’re back now?

    • Kaitlynn

      I always look at wish lists just in case but I don’t have most of the books either and I have ARCs going back to 2009!

      And yeah, bookstagram. I honestly like the pictures that are just random but show off the books. I already know about all the popular books. I want to know what new ones people are getting excited about or what books people get in the mail. I’m way more interested in the kind of pictures that you post than the staged photos that so many people post.

      And I missed you too! I am definitely back and I’m excited about it. I really needed some time away from it all.

  4. I definitely see what you’re talking about. I use the booksfortrade hashtag, but just to actually get rid of my older books or ones that I read and didn’t like. So far, I’ve had success with it. So, I will say that not everyone on that hashtag is in search for ARCs. I don’t even have a WL for that. BUT I do see a lot of people wanting specific ARCs and it sucks because I’ll want something they have but don’t have something “up to par” with what they want. But, the hunt for ARCs and “ARC envy” (as some people call it) is definitely prevalent in the book community. I’ve never understood it to be honest. I don’t even go hunting for ARCs at all xD

    For Instagram, I do agree that sometimes the feed is just full of the same things. I’ve noticed A LOT of rep searches lately. While those are great, they get those small business noticed, they only ever go to the accounts with 29329329 followers and then that’s all you’ll see. I don’t know. I love bookstagram, it’s where I started. But sometimes it is a little annoying.

    Great topic!

  5. 1. Love the new blog design
    2. I can completely relate to what you’re saying. While I’ve never been to a convention, never participated in the booksfortrade hashtag, but the bookstgram 100% agree (BTW Facebook should be included as well). Social media for book bloggers can get really competitive and downright high schoolish. When it gets to this point for me I just step back and focus on my relationship with the books I want to read and talk about and share.

  6. So much this. Kinda why I dropped off the face of the Internet for a bit. I came back but Im sticking to my own little corner and doing my own thing. I donot want to get wrapped up in the grossness again. I’m glad you came out and said it because I know you aren’t the only one who feels this way. It’s sad bananas.

  7. I stopped paying attention to BooksForTrade because I never have what people are searching for. I guess I’m also starting to do the same for bookstagram? I rarely go on there anymore! Ever since the algorithm rolled out, I’ve found that I only stay on for a little bit at a time to check out my favorite accounts. I’m not a huge fan of seeing so many sponsorship focused photos even though they can introduce me to something cool. I don’t mind that they are sponsored, but seeing so much of it kinda…makes my feed feel less fun.

    I also agree with Stephanie’s comment above about similar photos. “A book with stuff around it.” They may be pretty, but they don’t feel as unique as they used to be because so many people post them.

  8. So. Much. This. I actually have a similar topic set up for an upcoming discussion post. I’m so so so happy to see that I’m not the only one who feels that way about bookstagram.

    As for booksfortrade, it’s been hit or miss for me, but enough that I’ve stopped participating. I had several people tell me they wanted brand HCs in exchange for old old old arcs. Not quite fair for me to spend $20 for something that you’re going to spend $3 in shipping.

    Thanks for posting this topic!! I’m happy to see that you’re back!

  9. Samantha

    Completely agree with everything you said and everyone else’s comments. Glad a real book blogger has finally come out and said something about it!

  10. Ughh bookstagram. I like it taking pictures (sometimes) and I like looking at pretty pictures, but Instagram pisses me off by not showing me people’s posts, and I am also REALLY REALLY sick of sponsored posts. And everyone trying to get sponsors. Does everything creative have to be ruined by people trying to get free stuff?? And I’m all about the unknown books… but that’s prob why I don’t get a lot of likes. But I could care less. When did people start doing everything for the amount of “likes” they were going to get. It’s a weird world we live in.

  11. This was very well written. I think the thing with sponsored posts is common across all book community platforms. They get annoying sometimes when every post or video seems to be sponsored. I don’t mind seeing some sponsored posts or videos especially when the author/creator is still themselves and genuine, it’s when the author/creator loses the authenticity that I can’t stand. I’ve also never seen the BooksForTrade hashtag on twitter!

  12. I don’t know much about books for trade. Honestly, I wasn’t even aware that was a thing. But yes, bookstagram. I am stunned by these carefully staged photos with flowers, and manicured hands, and what not.

    Another thing that annoys me in Instagram is when publishers do a giveaway and require that participants repost/reblog the photos on their feed. When I scroll through Instagram, all I see are multiple versions of the same photo. I have unfollowed so many people because of that.

  13. Yessss to all of this.

    I don’t know much about the books for trade thing but I am starting to get really tired of seeing the same picture over and over again on Instagram and the sponsored ones? Ugh.

  14. Well said!! I fully agree with you and it’s a shame. Some of the things I’ve seen can be disheartening, but I just do my thing and that’s that. Fantastic post!

  15. Yes to all of this, my friend. I feel like bookstagram is becoming the new shiny things, and I feel like bookstagram is getting more and more commercialized. They all post about the same books, and the props are crazy intricate. I appreciate the composition of the pictures, but oh my gosh I just hit “like” and move on. I don’t really read captions or anything…. And bookstagram doesn’t write reviews, do they? I just don’t understand!! They request ARCs and then take pictures and that’s all you see or hear about the book… That’s why I personally love following bloggers who are also bookstagrammers because I know I can check out their site and find a review for the book. Also so many of my favorite bookstagrammers now are sales reps so they post more props, candles, pillows, and trinkets than books 😛

    Great post, and welcome back!! <3

  16. I adore this post very much! I enjoy instagram as one who needs to get out more, but where they can paint a pretty picture, these bookstagrammers fall sadly short in the content department. One reason I started my book blog is to talk about books! If I get no readers, then at least I’ve gotten an opportunity to express myself!

  17. I love your post! I have to say that I do enjoy instagram. I need to get out more. Bookstagram? Not so much. They’re all elaborately staged still-lifes with books… no substance! I am very new to the book blogging scene, and if what you say is true, I’ll be sure to shy away from the popularity scene! I just want to talk about books, after all! Glad to see a shining star like yourself and your followers to light the way!

  18. As someone who is relatively new to this community, this post has opened my eyes and kind of disheartened me.
    I didn’t know about the booksfortrade hashtag, and I think it’s sad that people are just after ARCs because, well, ARCs.
    Also I feel what you’re saying with bookstagram. My bookstagram is very sporadic, but I don’t seem to get many followers, and opinion seems to be due to the lack of ‘theme’. It makes me sad that I need to have a ‘theme’ and can’t post the pictures I want of the books I want. (Of course I can… but I also want to be out there and interact with the community and people don’t seem to acknowledge those of lesser followings).
    I stumbled across this blog whilst looking on tips to improve my own blog – thanks! I love it <3

  19. A bit late to the party here…but I totally agree! I’ve become increasingly frustrated at how much things have changed since I started following various book bloggers and Instagram accounts. Although this is disappointing I’m trying to gain something positive from it and decided to set my own blog up. Still in the trial period but I love being able to engage with books that aren’t just popular on Instagram!

Leave a Reply