Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Should tumblr Book Blogs Receive Free Review Copies, Too? | YA Talk

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If you're not active on tumblr, you probably have no idea about what's going on in the bookish world there. Tumblr is a micro-blogging site, based on resharing content. There are tons of small communities in tumblr and one of them is centered around bookblogging as well.

What's Going On??

In the last couple of days a few users have stated complaints about not getting review copies and not being recognized as proper "bloggers" in comparison to WordPress/Blogger/Self-hosted users.

The big argument was mainly that tumblr blogging can reach a bigger audience just as easily as regular blogging. Especially users with huge followings said that they know of a lot of people who have bought a certain book solely because they posted about it.

As a micro-blogging site, tumblr works completely different to other blogging sites. You don't need to lift a finger to fill your blog with thousands of posts, all you have to do is reshare content through the "reblogging" option. Some users argued that they do post some original content and get most of their traffic through that. However, I don't think you can say it's the same thing, can you?

Two Sides of the Same Coin?

As a user of both I understand both sides. I get that people who have used tumblr for years want their recognition for having gained a solid following. It's still a fact that tumblr isn't necessarily the right medium if you're looking to reach a big audience and build a following.

Followers on tumblr mostly don't care about the person behind the blog or their content. For instance, I follow around 500 blogs on tumblr and about 80 via Bloglovin'. I actually go through the post of all the regular blogs I follow, while my tumblr dashboard is just a cluttered mess.


As a blogger user I have mixed feelings about this sudden mini uprising. I gained a couple thousand followers by barely doing anything other than reblogging posts on tumblr. I gained around 500 total followers on my Blogger blog with a lot of hard work, hours of refining posts and trying to get my name out there. 

Blogging is hard. Tumblr-ing? Not so much.


From the Publishing Point of View

I perfectly understand why tumblr isn't treated equally to external blogging platforms. First off - it's not blogging at all. It's resharing! It's getting recognition for the content that other people created. I don't even think tumblr users should be allowed to host ads on their sites.

Publishers are always looking for exposure. Review copies are sent out to increase the buzz around a book. Tumblr has a  major impact on teenage culture, but is it really the right platform for literary critique? I scroll past reviews 99% of the time. Tumblr is not the platform I go to when I look for opinions.
Blogging is about stating your opinion. Opinions on tumblr are never a good thing. You get attacked for almost everything on tumblr.

Why would this be different if we all started to post book reviews there?

It's easy to yell injustice, but to me, there is no injustice. Tumblr and third-party-blogging sites aren't the same thing. Why would publishers send out review copies for users of a platform that isn't about reviewing at all?

- Against
  • tumblr users rarely have experience in writing. Remember our first reviews? They were a mess. Everything needs practice. Sending out copies blindly to people just because of their following is a little naive.
  • The effort involved in gaining tumblr fame is dramatically different than effort involved in gaining blogging fame
  • tumblr followings don't even remotely equal to the amount of regular readers
  • Why give out review copies if no one on tumblr reads reviews? There has to be some form of compensation for the authors/publishers
  • Controversy isn't welcome on tumblr, neither are (negative) opinions. How could you judge a book honestly on tumblr without causing a shitstorm?
+ In Favor
  • Gaining a huge tumblr following takes time, too
  • Many people decide to buy books because of tumblr edits
  • Instagram and other websites are recognized as business platforms, too, why not tumblr?
  • Many young adults are more active on tumblr than reading regular blogs


Do you think tumblr bloggers should be treated equal to regular bloggers? Do you think they should get review copies, too?


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