Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Discussions (7): Do Book Bloggers Sell Books?

Today, I want to talk about a question that has been going around for as long as bloggers have existed. That question, essentially is do bloggers sell books. My answer is a resounding yes.

First off, don't publisher already rely on word of mouth through bookstore and libraries and friends to get novels into the hands of people who will love them? Nothing is more powerful than a friend handing over a book with a great recommendation.

That is essentially what the blogger community is. Friends handing over books. We read them, discuss them, drool over them together, rejoice when a novel finally comes out and we give them away to our readers. A blog just has the ability to reach a bunch of people they may not know in real life. So instead of me telling two people about a book I loved, 20 people might read my review and decide they need to have the book too. Or, at the very least, it will garner more excitement for said book.

Do I buy every book blogger about? No, probably not (though if you look at my TBR pile, you'd definitely wonder). But have I bought books based on blogger reviews? You bet! Reviews also help me get even more excited about books I previously wanted. For instance, I am chopping at the bit for Hourglass by McEntire and Shattered Souls by Lindsey because the people who have reviewed them early have loved them!

So, again, I think the proof is truly in the examples. Feast your eyes on novels I wouldn't have purchased if it weren't for bloggers like you guys:

For me, it's all about why the book is so good. If I read a review and the blogger tells me why they loved the novel so much, I'm much more likely to give it a second glance. Things like The Vampire Academy and Hex Hall, I'd already written off before I started blogging. Now, both are in my TBR!

So now, let's discuss! Do blogger's reviews make you buy books? What makes you change your mind about books you might have previously written off?


  1. I completely agree. I have read a lot of books because a blogger gave it a good review. Nightshade, Unearthly, Iron King just to name a few. The more talk about a book the more people hear about it. I've even stood in a book store and recommended books to people I don't know. If I didn't read and review so much (blog) I couln't do that.

    If it wasn't for book blogs, my bookshelf wouldn't be quite do jam packed!!!!!

  3. Yes absolutely! I always find new books to add to my TBR pile by books I see on the blogs I follow. I think book blogging is just another version of word of mouth, I often read a post or see a cover and go stright to goodreads and then Amazon to pre-order.

  4. I know they do. I could give you a long list of books I myself purchased because I saw them on a blog instead here's just a couple : Room, I am number four a book by Paul Cleave as I had seen his work mentioned and loved the sound of it. I've also purchased books where I won the first book in the series and went and got the rest to get the complete set.

  5. Great discussion! Reviews DO help me decide if I will read a book or not, and if it's coming from a blogger I'm friends with or trust, I'm much more likely to listen to them and just go and buy the book! That's why I love reading reviews, because in the end, they not only help the author/publisher... they help me. :)

  6. Since I started reading the book blogs and blogging myself, I have bought over 300 titles. I don't think I'd have bought a tenth of these if it hadn't been for bloggers reviews. So yes, Bloggers DO sell books!

  7. I can't even tell you how many books I've bought (that I NEVER would have) based on blogger recommendations! Some of them ended up being some of my very favorites!!!

    I'm totally doing a post like this! 'books I never would have read if not recommended by a book blogger'


  8. Hi Amber!
    You are absolutely right when you say that book bloggers at least have influence on book purchases.
    We, book bloggers, never make statistics and my bet would be that neither do the publishers or authors which reviews will make people buy books or not. It would be so cool to know, but it's probably impossible.
    I think actually it goes in several directions. Blogger reads a book and writes a review. The author and the publisher receive hereby indirect marketing. If the blogger likes a book, she will recommend it and if not, then it also has some impact for people who read blogs.
    I have also realized that there are books which have been in my opinion overrated by the book bloggers, because after reading it, I have been disappointed. Luckily that has happened only couple of times. So there are so many aspects to consider here.
    There is definitely no global truth about it, but according to my own experience i have already an overview which book bloggers opinions and reviews to trust and which not. And anyway, reading is emotional interaction and what I might like, somebody else might not.
    I have been contacted several times by people who have read my blog and said that your review of the book or interview with an author made me buy a book and they are glad about it. So am I.

    I think book bloggers and authors have 99% win-win situation here. We are glad to read and review and authors are happy to get some feedback.

    I have read many books due to the book reviews and recommendations I've got from fellow book bloggers. The list would be quite long.

    Happy reading!

  9. I think that the very fact that publishers give us so many free books shows that we sell books. These people do their research and they wouldn't be handing out so many freebies if it wasn't worth it! This was an awesome post, thanks!

    -Kate the Book Buff
    The Book Buff: Book Reviews for Regular People

  10. Like you I had completely disregarded 'Across the Universe' by Beth Revis, but after reading so many positive reviews I decided to try it, that many people couldn't be wrong could they?
    And I'm glad I did read it because it was soo good. I have other books on my TBR pile now that were blogger recommendations.

    However, I don't tend to buy the books, I check them out or request them from the library first. Only when I have read it and maybe loved it do I then buy it.

  11. Absolutely!

    Even though I try to keep up with what's happening in the publishing world, there's no way I could keep track of all of the books I may enjoy. So reviews in magazines and blogs are a great way for me to discover new and interesting books.

    The most recent author I took a chance on after seeing several reviews of her work was Kim Harrison. And I'm delighted to say I've found a new urban fantasy author to follow.

    Great discussion topic!

  12. Honestly, I do buy books because of reviews. I never would have picked up City of Fallen Angels without it. I thought, uh oh, Stephenie Meyer liked this one, and based on her books . . . so I literally skipped the first 3 books in the series because of Meyer comment smack dab in the center of the books and subsequently missed out on probably one of the best series out there. SO Glad a book blogger posted a review for COFA and everyone was tweeting about it, otherwise, no dice.

  13. I agree, I've already tried a number of new authors these past 4 months since I started blogging. It's a great way for readers to suss out new books. I've won some in giveaways that have inspired me to get more from that author - it definitely helps sell books.

  14. I know bloggers easily effect other bloggers, but I wonder how many non-blogging readers actually follow book blogs? Friends on shelfari and goodreads also influence book purchases.

    Great post!


  15. GREAT post! I think book bloggers work on two counts; if I see the same book appearing regularly on many different blogs, I think to myself, "Wow, these folks are really digging this book, I need to check it out." one thing about book bloggers is that in their reviews they often highlight themes or undercurrents that appeal to me more than, say, the actual book blurb or cover.

    Secondly, I've seen several bloggers "champion" a book where they just go crazy "cheerleading" for it and even though it's not a very popular or mainstream book, I'll think: wow, that looks neat and I've love to support a new author...

    So they definitely reinforce major, mainstream books -- as one commentor pointed out, Across the Universe -- but also get behind or champion smaller books from indy publishers, like the way I bought Killer Cows after seeing several bloggers raving. Short answer: Yes they do!!!

  16. My blogging friend easily encourage me to buy books based off of their reviews. I would not have nearly as many books or knowledge of said books for that matter, if it wasn't for all I've learned through book bloggers.

    Kelsa P.

  17. I solely depend on blogger reviews. I don't have many friends in "real" life that read as much as I do. It's much easier to decide if I want to read a book or not based on blogger reviews because I get to look around their blog and see if we have similar taste. If we do, I can be reassured that I'll like the book. I really do think that bloggers make the book world go round!

  18. I rely on reviews so much lately. If I see a book that looks interesting I tend to go and read reviews of it before actually purchasing it. Plus there are many, many books I would never have picked up that I decided to read based on reviews I saw, the best example of this being Anna & the French Kiss. I ended up loving it + I got my sister her own copy, and she loved it too! :)

  19. Hi there Amber. I've done a follow-up post of the books I have bought based on blogger recommendations. If you're interested you can find it here.

    Thanks for getting us talking!

  20. Absolutely! The last three books I purchased were books I read about on book blogger sites! If I had the money, that number would be significantly bigger. Book bloggers have definitely opened my eyes to so many different books I probably would have over looked.

    I keep track of all the wonderful books bloggers talk about in my google reader. I've starred all the books I eventually want to buy.


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