Imaginative Discussions: Book Shelf Lives

Posted October 16, 2013 by Kara in Imaginative Discussions, Lyn / 21 Comments

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Discussion Time!

Bekka at Pretty Deadly Reviews commented in her confession post how older books seem to gain less attention than newer books. This is something I have noticed, but I never really stewed on it for long. However, when I read Bekka’s post, it rushed to the front of my brain. It seems that, review-wise, books have a limited “shelf life” in the book blogsphere.

Before I go any further, I want to point out that this is not a chance to bemoan page views or call out bandwagon jumpers. Friends, I am just as guilty when it comes to scanning my e-mails and picking out reviews to comment upon. Which ones do I pick? Books I have already read and the most trending book titles. So, I am guilty as charged. I also understand that blogging is not all about page views. I wish to simply point out the trend with older books and page views instead of accuse others or provoke pity from readers.

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Pictured above: What I am NOT doing

I often wonder why the older books tend to fair so poorly when it comes to readership. Looking over the numbers, I notice that my reviews on older books tend to draw in fewer views.

I think it all boils down to two major issues. First – time. A majority of book bloggers/readers only have so much time set aside to scan through the numerous reviews by their peers. I know that I can collect hundreds of e-mails during the week. I would love to comment on every single book review/tour/cover reveal/discussion post, but I have to be realistic. My job is demanding, and I often have other things that I need to tend to, such as meals, a sickly cat and researching for my job. I have to cherry pick which ones I read fully and comment upon. I do try to scan all of my e-mails.

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(Try to) read ALL the books!

Another major issue is the sudden influx of new books. E-readers and indie publishing have thrown open the door to new ideas, and more writers are taking chances with current concepts.  Aside from older “buzz books,” it is hard to pique interest in every single book that bloggers pick up. There are a lot of awesome books I have passed on because my TBR pile is threatening to crush me. On top of what I do own, my book wish list keeps growing. Circling back to time, I can’t read every book I wish to read.

Going forward, I can identify my own elder book prejudice and give older books a fair chance. It might even be possible to create a meme focusing on aging books and their contribution to the current reading trends, such as Flashback Friday.

What are your own thoughts? Do you believe that older books are ignored while newer books tend to gain viewership? Feel free to comment below!

21 responses to “Imaginative Discussions: Book Shelf Lives

  1. Dude, a Flashback Friday meme would be AWESOME! You’re right – I get so much to review, but there are only so many hours in the day for me to sit down and read. Not every book is a Harry Potter, Divergent, Twilight, or Hunger Games that draws more readers daily. But that doesn’t mean the lesser-known books aren’t just as amazing, 🙂

    I LOVE this idea!

    • Kara and I have a feature that we will start next month. SO many of the readers were so inspired by the sentiment – how could we not rise to the challenge?

      I agree – we have so many buzz books that other lesser known books tend to fall out of the spotlight. I hope we can feature some great books through our feature!

  2. I’m trying so hard to get to books that aren’t brand-spanking new, but you’re right. It’s hard. The new ones are just so pretty and shiny and everyone is talking about them, which makes me excited! But sometimes I’ll just go and pick something off the shelf, read it, love it, and be like, “Why don’t I do this all the time?” Lucky for me, the hyped-up books rarely fair well for me, so I don’t trust it all the time. I just go with the flow, whether that means reading something new or something old, so long as it’s something I’m in the mood for.

    Great discussion!

    • Hyped books are starting to become so generic and, well, mediocre. I am really excited that Kara and I are going to start a feature to shed some light on some older books – old books need love, too!

  3. Yes, I believe older books are ignored. I understand when bloggers are given books by publishers to review that needs to be done but when I can’t read the book because it hasn’t released yet it doesn’t do me any good. I attended my city library bag sale yesterday and what helped me fill my bag with older books was recognizing authors and books that I’ve heard bloggers talk about. So I say find a balance between both new & old.

    • I agree – I do not want everyone to completely stop talking about the new books, but it would be nice to feature some older books every now and then. I also am happy to know that I show my own ignorance towards titles, and I can happily change my views on older books.

  4. I read another post recently that talked about this and it had me thinking about my own reviews and how they’re mostly of new and upcoming titles. I do actually like reading reviews of older titles myself (either because I like to fangirl about old favourites or discover hidden gems), but I never feel as much of an urge to write one. I guess because there are already plenty of them out there. The old case of wondering what more there can be to add. But I see what you mean about time. I suppose I am more likely to check out reviews of newer books than older ones if I only have a limited amount of minutes spare (but I’ll probably get around to them all eventually). In terms of reading older titles, I find I do that better when I’m not blogging. I don’t know why, but it most likely goes hand in hand with not feeling like I have to review it. I should probably change things up a bit every now and again though! Great post. 🙂

    • Please do, Sam! Kara and I are starting a feature next month, showcasing older books. I would love to see other bloggers follow suit and feature some older books as well!

  5. I feel the same way! I tend to buy my books at a used book store, so the ones that I’m reading are generally not the newest out there. I definitely agree that people do not view or comment as much on books that are older, especially those older than a year or two.

  6. This is a general problem with internet culture…anything old is ignored. It’s very overwhelming with the constant influx of new material. You feel like you’ll never catch up.

    • I agree. New becomes old so fast. Change is such a constant now; the world moves too quickly, and 15 minutes of fame seems more like 15 seconds.

  7. I definitely feel the same way. It’s because of this that I’m sort of happy I got to the library so often. I can find really popular books as well as books that look cool but are lesser known. I feel like if a book has a nice cover, I can still get some people to read the review.

    For me, I read reviews a lot and I pick books like you said, that I’ve read or know of. However, the cover impacts me a lot too. If there’s a nice cover in the little blurb the feeder has, I’ll totally check it out.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  8. The worst is that you’re always playing catch up. I’m always trying to read the blockbuster titles from the years before I started blogging. But at the same time, I try to keep up with the new hits or risk becoming irrelevant. It’s a tough line to toe.

    • YES! I have new releases that will soon lose their charm, if I don’t step it up. There is a lot of pressure to stay current. But it doesn’t have to be like that. I hope by talking about the issue will raise some awareness of old book neglect.

  9. Maybe the older books aren’t completely ignored, but I do agree that the newer ones will usually get more attention. I’ve noticed the pattern too. Especially when it comes to any newer title that is/has been hyped by media, etc.. I have books on my shelf right now that I won in giveaways only just about two years ago, but since they’re slightly older and it seems everyone has already read them, I doubt they’ll get much attention if I bother to post reviews. I will still read them eventually though, because I do want to, I just don’t know if I’ll bother posting. Some older books will get a lot of attention if it’s a particular author/you mention you’re a first time reader of author, but these are the special cases. I like reading reviews of older books that I’ve read because I like discussing the books. =D I do fully admit to trying to keep to reviewing a majority of newer releases on the blog–at least books that aren’t older than three years, books that are popular/hyped, popular authors, etc.. Ocassionally I also review older ones, books that are lesser known, or sometimes a classic, but I completely see your point about the views being different between the newer and older.

    I think usually the best way to post reviews of older books and get them viewed more is like what you’re thinking of– through a meme. So that it gains more of a particular group attention (and I’m interested in this, for sure). Or by getting together with a few and having a read-a-long. Just because they’re older doesn’t mean they don’t need love anymore, right? 🙂 Annnd I’ve found some great recs by reading reviews of older books before, too. 🙂


    • The meme idea didn’t pan out, but we are going to start a feature next week, focusing on older books. I think it will really add some diversity to the blog, and help expose bloggers to forgotten releases and older books.

      That you for your feedback, Pixie! I suppose the older books are not so much ignored, but merely overlooked.

  10. Yes, older books tend to get less attention for sure. We make a point of covering either recent/upcoming releases or books that are topical in some way, which mostly is an issue of time–I do read a lot of other books, but if I haven’t received it for review, I usually don’t have the time or the drive to write something about them.

    On the other hand, I rarely read reviews of older books on other blogs unless I know the blogger’s taste very well and have a sense of whether I’d also enjoy the book. For some reason I’m more open to reading reviews of anything and everything on GoodReads, whereas it’s more difficult to do on blogs.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • I had to do a lot of adjusting when I left Goodreads. Reading reviews on GR tended to be easier. I tried to update my blogger list, and I am slowly becoming more acclimated to reading on blogs.

      I am happy you stopped by, Wendy!

  11. Oh, actually, I disagreed with Bekka on that, but maybe I’m just a weird commenter? I find my reviews of older books tend to do better than of some of the new hot titles that aren’t released yet, because no one’s read them. Reviewing ARCs doesn’t necessarily get more page views, I don’t think.

    But I almost exclusively read and comment on reviews for books I’ve read. However, I will look at reviews for books I’ve not heard of or never plan to read or am on the fence about reading. I’m less likely to comment on those though.

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