BookTube, Book Blogging, & Thoughts

Posted January 8, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 65 Comments

thoughts booktube

So lately I have been eying the BookTube community with a curious sort of fascination. My fascination has continued to grow with some posts other bloggers have done on the topic that have really inspired me to think about the community of book lovers on YouTube, or booktube. Specifically, Charlotte from Gypsy Reviews wrote a discussion post about the era of book vlogs, and Melissa at Harley Bear Book Blog did a post on booktube vs book blogging. And while I have no desire to sit in front of a video camera myself most of the time(I’ve done a haul video or two, which was fun), I just really like thinking about communication on the internet, what it means for communities, etc.

I’m also not typically a big video person, even just watching. I’ve never been someone who would spend some free time on YouTube looking up funny or informative videos. I like watching things like The Lizzie Bennet diaries, but for the most part, YouTube has not been a big interest of mine, so when I first heard about BookTubing, I was a bit surprised that there was a whole community of people on YouTube who LOVE books as much as book bloggers do. So I’ve been watching some BookTubers for a few weeks, and I have some general thoughts. Again, this is just my impression after watching and how I feel. I think there’s definitely both advantages and disadvantages to videos or blogs or what have you.  I just find it interesting to think about.

Thoughts on BookTubing:

  • Personally, I can’t watch video reviews. I tried, I really did, but they don’t hold my interest the same way written reviews do. And I think this is for a few reasons. First, when I read a written review, I often go back and reference things bloggers have referred to in earlier paragraphs. I also like being able to scroll and find the rating first(whether it’s star reviews, a general impression, etc.) before reading the review or halfway through the review. If I haven’t read a book yet, I sometimes also like to skim reviews, which you can’t do when you’re watching a video.
  • Aesthetics matter a lot more in BookTube. Obviously, if you’re blogging, you probably want a design that’s easy to navigate and appealing, but it doesn’t have to be the most beautiful thing ever. In BookTube, the video quality matters a lot more(at least to me), because it’s distracting if the video is really grainy, blurry, or if the audio quality is bad. I feel this might make BookTube harder for some people who are interested but don’t have high-end equipment. Built-in webcams don’t tend to have high qualities, so I do wonder if this alienates some BookTubers.
  • Less frequency. Even the “big” booktubers I looked at don’t post all that often, and certainly not daily, which is understandable since even just doing my book haul which my crappy webcam and non-edited version took FOREVER to film, mess with, and upload.
  • Personally, I like book haul videos the best. This kind of surprises me, actually. I found video book hauls super fun, but I generally just skim written book hauls on blogs. I’m not sure why this is. I guess I just like seeing the actual books.
  • SO many of the BookTubers I watch have similar bookshelves! They all have these really tall black bookshelves. This doesn’t really matter, I just thought it a bit humorous.
  • Tag videos are pretty fun to watch too. Melissa at Harley Bear Books explained them better in her post, but tags are sort of the equivalent of memes. However, because they’re videos, I think personality shines through just a little bit more and I find them personally slightly more compelling.
  • BookTube seems to depend a great deal on personality. I think book blogging also does too, but when you’re writing, you can sort of stretch your personality. I mean, in general, I’m a happy person, but there are days I’m sad and can still write a happy posts. I haven’t tried to BookTube really, so I’m not sure if this is true, but it seems it would be harder to hide the “off” days if you tried to make a video anyway.
  • There seems to be a stronger wall between BookTubers and their subscribers than most book bloggers & their commentors, just from what I can see. All of the BookTubers I watched were really friendly and were very gracious to anyone who subscribed/commented, but I don’t see the same back-and-forth dialogue in the YouTube comment section like very often happens on blogs.

I had some more thoughts, but these are definitely the ones that stand out to me the most. I know a lot of people aren’t video people, which makes me curious about the book blogging and the BookTubing communities. Obviously, we all love books, but I’m wondering if there will ever be any sort of wide-spread cross-over. And to finish this post, I thought I would link to some of the BookTubers I’ve discovered when I was falling down the YouTube black hole:

A Few Favorite BookTubers:

A Book Affair
Books and Biscuits
Helene Jeppesen
Peruse Project
Ron Lit

Are you a fan of videos in general? What about bookish videos? Would you ever want to make BookTube videos? And if you read the two blog posts that I linked to at the top, any thoughts in general?



65 responses to “BookTube, Book Blogging, & Thoughts

  1. jax


  2. Before I talk about this post, I have to ask: How did I not find your blog sooner??

    This summer I discovered the wonderful world of book bloggers and booktubers, and I have been obsessed ever since! I can already tell that I your blog is going to be a favorite of mine, and as soon as I am done writing this, I am going to read your, Before I Fall review (such a wonderful book!)!!

    Okay, so back to the post! You really inspired me to start blogging about books. I plan on starting a booktube channel this week, but I didn’t really plan on blogging about books once I started that channel. Reading your post made me realize how important blogging about books can be! You get to get in a lot of the little details that booktubing doesn’t always allow. Instead of limiting myself, I should do both! This was such an awesome post and it really inspired me!

  3. Hullo! I am actually a BookTuber myself and I agree with quite a few of your opinions here, though obviously not all! ^.^ Personally my favourite kinds of video to watch are Book Hauls, Bookshelf Tours, Tags/Challenges and SHORT book reviews (long ones I just get bored of quite quickly). In terms of making videos, I like to make pretty much any kind, but most regularly I make haul videos as I seem to gain a lot more books than I do do anything else.

    Thanks for sharing your opinions on us all! 😛

    • Stormy

      I enjoy bookshelf tours too, but I’ve only watched a few–they tend to be so long, and I really only watch videos during my lunch break! Hauls are definitely my favorite(with the tags being a close second–they’re similar to our written memes). But the hauls aren’t always the greatest for my TBR!

  4. I don’t really watch them at all. I enjoy video hauls from bloggers now and again but I rarely go on to BookTube. I think I just prefer to read reviews, discussions, etc. Just a personal preference but I do feel that a written review for a book works so much better. I also know I’m very easily distracted (I can’t do audio books at all!) so reading reviews is easier as I can just skip back a few lines easily if it happens.
    Great post Stormy.

  5. I’ve also never been a huge fan of watching videos and often skip the few video posts from bloggers I follow. I have been curious about the whole booktube thing though, so I really appreciated your post! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  7. Abria @ Read. Write. Discuss.

    I have a few YouTubers that I follow closely, but none of them are book bloggers. They’re life bloggers, beauty bloggers, tech bloggers, etc. The few book blogger videos I’ve watched are so boring in comparison. The person in front of the camera just isn’t compelling in any of the vids I’ve tried. I don’t know why, but I find a haul video about cosmetics more interesting than a haul video about novels. Maybe because the blogger can sample and review a lipstick much more readily than she can read an entire book and give a recommendation.

    • stormydawnc

      Interesting! I don’t think I’ve ever really watched vloggers other than booktubers. That’s a good point about the sampling, though!

  8. prettylreader

    I’m not a fan of booktubing. Like you, I often skim the content first. Sometimes I decide it’s worth giving a closer look, other times, not so much. I just can’t do that with booktubing.

    I DO love being able to put a person behind the name, however, so I’ll generally watch the first few seconds and see if how they speak/sound matches the idea I had in my head. I’m normally wayyyy off the mark! Haha

    • stormydawnc

      Ah, really? I did a book haul a few months ago(the 1st of 2 videos I’ve made), and a few people said they were surprised by how much my voice actually matched what they thought in their head!

  9. I’ve actually been watching some book vlogs lately, and they’re really interesting… I just don’t think they’re for me! I’ve noticed that book tubers tend to point out things that book bloggers don’t. It’s not always the case, but it’s definitely interesting! Like you, I get distracted while watching videos, so I tend to stick to book bloggers.

    Great post!!

    • stormydawnc

      Exactly! I do follow Booktubers but I definitely don’t watch every video any of them post, and I’ve come to skip the reviews entirely.

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    • stormydawnc

      I see the appeal of it being fun, and then I think about all the work that would go into it, and . . . nope. At least not right now!

  11. Zaira Fernando

    I love the Booktube community, to be honest. I check for new videos every day, in fact. However, I do agree with what you said about how some booktubers can be alienated because of the quality of their videos. That’s something I’ve noticed, and I personally like to watch videos with a high quality. I also agree that Booktubing shows their personality. I do have a favorite – polandbananasBOOKS – and it’s mostly because of her personality. Her videos always entertain me and I usually find myself agreeing with a lot of things she says in her reviews.

    • stormydawnc

      It’s hard, because on one hand I don’t WANT to just watch the popular videos. I mean, yes there are some very popular booktubers whose videos I enjoy quite a bit. But I would like to expand my knowledge, too, but it’s so distracting if the video is grainy or if there’s audio feedback(that’s probably the biggest one with me).

  12. I like Booktube and blogs for different reasons. Booktube, seems more… colourful? I don’t know, as you say, it seems to be mostly down to personality. If you click, you subscribe, if you don’t, you don’t. Totally in agreement that a lot of the Booktubers have the same bookshelves (and talk about the same books, but then, s do bloggers). I also find it kind of amusing. I love all of those Booktubers you’ve linked to! Their book hauls are my favourite videos to watch, too.

    • stormydawnc

      Yes, the booktube videos really do spotlight personality. Book hauls just make me so happy, and I have no idea why. Because I want books? Because I’m happy other people love books as much as I do? Not sure.

  13. I think the first bookish video I watched was Carrie Hope Fletcher talking about the actual fairytales and that some popular fairytales were polished from their original. Then I watched a Tea Time video and that was hilarious! I am constantly trying to find amazing web series like Lizzie Bennet Diaries! I love that show. I usually watch travel videos because they are inspirating and I can just see myself doing that.
    I dont think I’ll ever make a vlog. I am bad at talking and would probably have to edit many parts out! :p

    • stormydawnc

      Oh yes, I love Tea Time! And the Lizzie Bennet diaries. I believe there’s a Jane Eyre one, but I haven’t watched it.

  14. Lisa

    I’ve been considering the booktube community as well. But if I ever did, I want to get a really good camera and practice editing videos, before actually posting one. Which would probably take me forever. Also I agree with you, that booktubers don’t post videos everyday, and that would be something that I would try to do, and if not at least five videos a week. Which is a lot, but I feel like anything less, just isn’t enough!

    I really enjoyed this post, thank you!


    • stormydawnc

      I had to do a video for a college class project once and the filming, cutting, editing, and loading took forever! I’m sure it would get quicker once you got used to it but I’m not sure I could do it every day.

  15. I’ll be honest… I haven’t done a youtube video yet because every time I want to I am in my PJs and my makeup is off, my hair is everywhere. I feel like I would have to get all ready for the video. Maybe I wouldn’t but… I don’t know. Honestly I watch a lot of videos but they are usually funny videos. I get bored watching someone review a book. I don’t know.. guess that’s just me.

    • stormydawnc

      Ah, that’s something that stops me from doing videos too. I have trouble watching a review too, though I do really enjoy book hauls and tags.

  16. Interesting. I haven’t watched any BookTube videos, but I generally don’t watch videos when bloggers put them on their blogs. I can’t retain what the person says most times. I much prefer written reviews. I do like book haul videos and when I watch them they’re usually pretty fun – I feel like people get to put their personality into them more than they would if they did a review. Anyway… great topic. I’m interested in seeing how (or if) this BookTube thing takes off.

    • stormydawnc

      I tend to get distracted while watching videos, too, and then realized I actually didn’t retain anything. I feel like BookTube has been getting really popular lately, which is interesting, but then YouTube has been enacting changes most people don’t seem to like. I wonder if that will thwart it any.

  17. Booktubing never really was on my radar. I’ve watched a couple of ’em on YouTube but like you, they couldn’t sustain my interest as much as blogs. And you’re right, it takes bucket loads of personality to pull it off well. When I do decide to watch a video here and there though, I prefer the type of reviews that are more discussion-type reflections and come across as more conversational, which means I actually welcome subjectivity. When reviews are written, I somehow still expect to see a semblance of objectivity.

    • stormydawnc

      I do like some booktube videos, like monthly TBRs and hauls(I like seeing the shiny physical books!), but the personality part is hard. I could see where the discussions would be better than straight reviews on videos.

  18. I actually RARELY watch any blog or book related videos simply because most of my commenting is (oops) done at work. I don’t have sound on my computer at work so I can’t watch videos (even if I was alone in a room and not surrounded by co-workers and bosses) and once I get home, I’ll read or blog but I don’t do a lot of commenting at home.
    I’ll watch the occasional video but even then, sometimes I’ll just skip around, trying to find what interests me so I think I just prefer reading blog posts! I’d much prefer to read the majority of things because that’s just more my style!
    I’ve tried doing videos before but I HAAAATE my voice and can’t bear to look at myself on camera. Maybe I need a little more practice haha.

    • stormydawnc

      I don’t have sound on my computer at work either!(this makes me sad mostly for TeaTime reasons). I’ve done a few book hauls and they were sort of fun but also sort of awful. I don’t mind looking at myself on camera TOO much but oh, hearing my own voice. No thank you, I will wear earmuffs instead. Hearing your own voice is the WORST. For a lot of my college writing classes I had to interview people, and I normally recorded mine. Transcribing was the WORST because I had to hear myself over and over again.

  19. I actually started out as a BookTuber then slowly made the transition to book blogging. Right now, the user interface of Youtube is difficult because Google owns it and has been trying to integrate everything through it’s social media platform, Google+. Also, a lot of “newbie” BookTubers like myself have noticed cliques forming around the most popular vlogs. They don’t seem to comment on any other channels except the people already in their group.

    Regardless of it’s hang-ups, I absolutely love BookTube (currently following about 120 vlogs -yeesh!) and can’t wait to start uploading videos again with my new camcorder 🙂

    • stormydawnc

      Yes, I’ve noticed that about Google +. So annoying! I use Google+ for my blog but I don’t necessarily want everyone to know what feeds I’m subscribed to, what I watch, etc. 120 is quite a lot! Are you able to watch every video each channel posts? I guess the fact most booktubers don’t do daily videos may make that easier.

  20. I found this post to be really interesting, as well as the previous comments. I come from the other side of the tracks – I’ve been booktubing for almost a year, but don’t have a blog. I watch booktube videos daily, but rarely read blogs (unless I see an interesting link on twitter!)

    From someone inside the booktube community I can honestly say that I’ve never known a more friendly or supportive community of people, both with other booktubers and the viewers. We have our own readathons, meet ups, challenges, projects and collaborations. Authors and publishers are also beginning to embrace it, now more than ever.

    Personally I reply to every comment and have discussions with my viewers regularly. Review videos are definitely the least viewed videos, but many of us avoid them by doing wrap up videos instead – where we do a single video with short reviews of each book we read that month (like a book haul but with reviews!) They’re very popular, at least on my own channel.

    So, yes, I suppose it’s safe to say my preference is booktube over blogs, but as I said I find your perspective very interesting! I guess it just comes down to what you’re used to and plain old personal preference 🙂

    • stormydawnc

      I’m so glad you found my post and were able to offer some insights! I’m glad to know that the friendliness I see on the screen is that way in the actual community. It seems like the platform would make it hard for people to get to know one another, but perhaps it’s not as confusing as I seem to think? I did know that there were booktube read-a-thons, but I didn’t realize many booktubers did meet-ups or joint projects. I have noticed authors & publishers embracing it lately(which is how I found out about the booktube community in the first place, actually).

      I can see how wrap-ups(which I have watched) would be easier than to do full reviews and easier to watch.

      I still can’t believe how much I was in the book community online before I even realized there was this whole community on YouTube I had no idea about. I do hope more book bloggers realize that community, and vice versa. I really wonder/hope if we’ll ever see more cross-over between the two.

  21. I agree with your point about video reviews. I never thought about it as much before, but I usually don’t watch them. I stick to hauls, and the people I do watch have great video quality, which is good. It would be cool to have videos in addition to a written blog–I love In My Mailbox videos–but an entire video blog just isn’t as appealing to me unless the Booktuber posted every day, which sounds hard. Planning, filming, editing….it would take a while.
    Great post! Have you checked out TheBookTuber? He has a really funny video on ‘How Authors Write’ (

    • stormydawnc

      Oh, thanks for the recommendation–I will definitely check that out! It seems the consensus here is that a lot of people really love book hauls, but not so much on review videos. I’m glad to get that feedback!

  22. I loved your thoughts!! Most of them mimic my ideas as well. I typically get distracted or bored, but have never really thought of the exact reasons why. I have never watched a book haul vlog, may have to try that. Thanks for sharing your ideas 🙂

    • stormydawnc

      Yeah, it’s really hard to follow reviews on videos, at least for me, and they definitely don’t seem to be the most popular in terms of number of views. I really enjoy book hauls, though!

  23. Asti (A Bookish Heart)

    It’s funny because I have never really been a huge fan of going onto Youtube and checking out videos… until I moved to London. I don’t know what happened, but suddenly I was going all over YouTube and following all these random vloggers and checking daily for updates.

    But the funny thing is, I didn’t subscribe to a single booktube channel. They ended up just being these casual vloggers who would talk about whatever.

    I find it really odd that I got into Youtube but ignored the Booktube community. You would think that would be the naturally progression. But for some reason it’s never interested me. I do think that a lot of it has to do with interaction. When I watch a YouTube video I feel like I’m being talked at. It’s not a conversation where the person really wants to know what I say (and even if they do, how often do they really go through and respond to all the comments?). It feels very one-sided to me.

    Blogging on the other hand is completely different. It is SO interactive. Whether it’s through the comments, the links, the tweets, the events, the challenges. I feel like bloggers are much more responsive to each other.

    Of course, I could be wrong. But i don’t know, that’s the impression I get.

    I have done a few videos myself, mainly Recaps and some for the first Games, and while it was fun I’m sort of over it. They really do take a lot of time to put together (and money, if you want it to be good) that I’m not motivated to do it.

    I don’t know where I’m going with this really. But to say I agree with everything you said, and that it’s a bit strange how there’s this kind of disconnect between the two communities.

    • stormydawnc

      I think being “talked at” is a great description. It’s not always a bad thing, but the format of videos just makes it really difficult to have a conversation. On a blog, you have the part that’s the blogger talking at the world–the post–but the comments and ability to go back-and-forth very easy make it more conversational.

  24. I love this post! I haven’t really tried out very many booktube channels. I’ve watched a few hauls but only from bloggers I’m already familiar with, and in general, I tend to skip over videos and such because I catch up on my Feedly in short, 5 minute bursts at work.

    What you said about personality is absolutely true, and applies to blogs as well. One of my fears is being a “bland” blogger – I think about people like Gillian who have so much personality and does great videos, great posts, and her personality shines through whatever medium she uses. Would I be more or less entertaining via video? I tend to think I’d be more scattered and unfocused, because I’m immensely scatter-brained and tend to get distracted in conversation, which would mean editing or scripting whatever I planned to say.

    I’ll also confess that the comment factor of YouTube scares me way more. At my blog in my own little corner of the Internet, there aren’t people just lurking around, spamming comments just to be mean. That possibility is much higher on YouTube and I just don’t want to deal with it.

    • stormydawnc

      Yeah, the one thing about videos is that you have to sort of go their speed, whereas with written content it’s all dependent upon how fast you can read a post.

      I have that fear too for SURE. I think I’d be scattered too, and the idea of scripting does not appeal to me. At all. And yes, same with comments! I know some blogs get mean comments from time to time, but I think it’s really rare, whereas on YouTube we pretty much assume it’s the default medium.

    • stormydawnc

      I haven’t watched many bookshelf tours just because they tend to be so LONG. But I hope you find some new videos to enjoy!

  25. I don’t tend to watch a lot of videos either, just silly cat videos on Youtube, mostly! I’ve tried watching BookTubers and I’ve found my thoughts reflect yours quite similarly. I’m a visual person so I thought I might have got on well with them, but of course, the actual content is delivered audibly and I find I can’t concentrate as well or pick up on information as well when I’m just listening to it. It’s also why I don’t enjoy audiobooks!

    I do like that you can get your personality out there a bit more on video, and I’ve thought about doing a few for that reason, but like you said, video and audio quality is such a huge part of it. I don’t have any good filming equipment so I feel like there isn’t much point in giving it a go.

    Plus, I’m 99% a digital reader, and I think it’s a bit less interesting to wave my Kobo around!

    • stormydawnc

      I do enjoy audiobooks, but they have to be really great to keep my attention. And listening to a review is just so difficult for me that I’ve given up trying. I think maybe that’s why I like hauls the best–people are still talking, but I have a focus point(the book cover) to look at, which helps me concentrate.

  26. I like watching videos some times, but not very often. I’ve seen a couple of bookish videos but I don’t really subscribe or go out looking for them. I personally like written blogs better. I’ve thought about making BookTube videos but I’m not sure I’ll be comfortable in front of the camera and I don’t have proper equipment. It’s not easy. 😛

    • stormydawnc

      Yeah, it can definitely be a struggle! I’ve only done a haul or two, and they both took forever. And they were pretty unedited, besides the fact I cut a few minutes off the begining and the end. I do enjoy watching hauls and tag videos, but I think written words will always be my preferred medium.

  27. I find this article absolutely amazing and it basically sums up my thoughts about the booktube community. I have a blog, but I also have a Youtube channel since the middle of 2013. It helped me realise how different book-blogging and booktubing are. I watch a lot of videos, more than I read blog posts, and I tend to comment more easily on Youtube — mainly because I don’t have to write my name, my blog address and my email address everytime. However, I’m still profoundly attached to blogging. I don’t like to watch book reviews because I feel like when reviews are written down, they are more structured and more thorough. And as you said, paradoxically, a blog is more personal a thing. Even if you show your face on booktube, you can’t forget that you are in front of a camera and that you’re more likely to play a role. There is something old-fashioned and cosy in a blog :).

    • stormydawnc

      That’s something I didn’t think about–how once you’re signed in on YouTube/Google, it would probably be a lot easier to read comments. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has trouble watching book reviews! Yeah, something about the format of booktubing seems to create more of a “wall” between the people making the videos and the followers, which is a lot easier to navigate around on a written medium. It’s a lot easier to have an actual back-and-forth conversation.

  28. I rarely watch any kind of BookTube videos and most of the time it’s book hauls and bookshelf tours. The one time I tried to watch a review I ended up turning it off halfway through because I found my mind wandering. I have never done any kind of video because I the type of person that likes to be behind the camera. Although I have wanted to try it so maybe in the future I will give it a go and see what I think.

    • stormydawnc

      I haven’t watched many shelf tours just because they tend to be so long. I’ve tried a few reviews, but I can never get through them! I don’t really like being in front of the camera, but I’ve done a few book hauls and they were actually really fun. I think it’s because they were for this blog, though, where I already know most of my readers/commenters, and not just complete strangers.

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