Discussion: Why Old Books Are OK

disussion on a bookish topic-01

Before I started book blogging seriously and regularly, I read a big variety of books. I owned a few books — not nearly as many as I do now — and I used my library card quite a bit. Going to the library, I wouldn’t have a plan, but rather I’d peruse the shelves and find something that looked interesting. I would then read these books and review them at my liesure on the book blog.

BUT, then I started book blogging on a regular basis in 2011 and found myself slowly moving from reviewing any old book to reviewing books from authors, or books for book tours, or ONLY new books. It seemed like all choice went out the window and I’d be stuck reading based on a schedule.

I know I’m not the only one who was like this — I’m sure there are lots of other people who accept or request way too many review books, then find their months full of reading only review books. But whatever happened to the joy of reading whatever suited your fancy? In the mood for a horror novel? Pick one up! In the mood for a contemporary? Take your pick! Rather than feeling like you can ONLY read from a select list of books.

Really, there’s nothing wrong with reading older books. There’s no written rule that once you become a book blogger, you can only read the newest releases. Sure, new books are great, but an old book is still new to someone. Take Pride and Prejudice, for example, a VERY old book that I hadn’t read until earlier this year. I still reviewed it on my blog, even though it wasn’t the latest and greatest and people still had things to say about it!

I’d like to think that in me reviewing an older book that I may have gotten from the library, or from a used bookstore, or borrowed from a friend, I may inspire someone else to read that book. Books are such a great thing in that we don’t have to ONLY read the newest releases. I mean, that’s what libraries and bookstores are for! So you can find WHATEVER you want.

The thing about book blogging is that we’re all here for one thing: our love of books. Not new books, not only YA books, not only contemporary books, not only books by a certain author, but books of ALL KINDS and ALL SIZES. The point of book blogging is to blog about books — whatever books suit your fancy!

Do you read old books for your blog? Or do you try to read only the latest and greatest?

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69 thoughts on “Discussion: Why Old Books Are OK

  1. Great point. I initially read mostly review books but that quickly gets stressful. Now I read what I want to read and have no problem reviewing older books. And bonus, you often get more of a discussion on these as more people have read them.

    • It can get so stressful! I find it very hard to stay on top of review books. I do well with physical ones from publishers that are coming out at a certain time, but I suck at NetGalley. I also find that older books generate more discussion since people have actually read them.

  2. You know I went overload on accepting review requests last year and I felt burnt out by the end. This year I did very little book blogging but after some nice summer getaways I have picked it up again. BUT I have only accepted one or two reviews and I am reading from my TBR shelves, older books! Also I run a book group so we have a monthly read too. I totally agree with you, although it is good to promote new books and new authors if it becomes a chore then it’s really not worth it! We do this for free so we should enjoy it πŸ™‚

    • We should definitely be enjoying it! I agree! It’s nice to request only the books you’re super excited for … and only a few at a time. It’s easier to stay on top of them that way. I like to intersperse review books with books from my shelves, too. I’m slowly working my way through them!

  3. I rarely read books in the same year that they come out, but do like to mix it up – old & new towards the end of the year. New books are awesome, but old books can definitely generate more discussion (like another commenter said).

    • Agreed! I like to mix it up, too. Usually when I go to a blog and they’re reviewing a new book that I’ve yet to read (and want to read!), I won’t read the review … but I love coming across a review of an older book that I’ve read and either loved or hated. Much better for discussions!

  4. I completely agree. I currently have to write up a review for A Tale of Two Cities, that one is a pretty old book. I don’t really care if a book came out this year, last year, 5 years ago or 100 years ago. If I feel like reading it and do, I’m probably going to review it, eventually.

    I do know that when I first got into blogging though that I was reading the new books mostly, but still tried to get an older book in there occasionally, not that I reviewed them on the other blog. But now I read a decent mix of new and old books, so I’m good with that.

    Great topic πŸ™‚

  5. Hey, books don’t have an expiration date and there are so many that reviewing an older book is just as fresh as reviewing an upcoming release. I read on average 250+ books a year and only skim the surface of the genres and tittles out there, so reviews of older titles always excite me as much as the newer ones. I do get it, as my reading has been more focused on new releases with the exception of series. I do through tbr piles into the mix each month too.

  6. I’m so glad you decided to write about this! Because recently, when I was packing up all of my books to move home I realized how many “older” (some only a few years old) books I got pushed to the back of the shelves in favor of newer review books and indie books. So now I am mixing it up and reading a combination of my older books (like divergent! I still haven’t read it!!!) and indies and new releases.

    Great Post!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

    • That’s awesome! I try to do the same thing … I’ve given away lots of older books in the past and it makes me sad that I had to resort to that. I’m hoping to get to plenty of my older books now!

  7. I know exactly how you feel. Ever since I’ve gotten more serious about book blogging, I feel like I’m constantly trying to stay afloat with all the new and coming-soon books, and I sometimes feel like the older books are just getting in my way! I’ve noticed this lately, though, and I’m trying to correct it. I’ve already made it a personal goal for next year, to try to read more at my leisure, go for older books on my list, and not feel obligated to read every new book that comes out. Great post!

    • That’s a goal of mine for next year, too. I’m not going to have a lot of time to read, so I want to read awesome things, books that I *know* I’ll like and even books that have been on my shelf forever. It’l feel nice to get them read!

  8. WELL SAID! I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately…probably 3/4 or more of the books I’ve read this year have been new books because they’re review books, but I miss old series or authors who used to be my favourites pre-blogging. And honestly, when I’m blog surfing or when I get my daily emails from blogs I subscribe to, I’m just as interested in reviews of books that were released 10 years ago as the ones that were released yesterday. I love to read, I love to discover new books and new authors and new series. We get so bogged down with books we ‘have’ to read or ‘should’ read but we should just read what we WANT to read. Excellent post, Kristilyn. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Marie! I love seeing reviews of older books — it’s more likely that I’ve actually read them! I’m quite surprised at how many newly released books I’ve read so far this year. I mean, I love them, but I feel like I’m just not giving older books the attention they deserve. Like another commenter said, books don’t have an expiry date! It’s nice that we can still revisit books that are 20, 30, or 40+ years old and they can still be amazing.

  9. I love reading reviews on older books! It’s impossible to keep up with all the new releases, and seeing some older books in the blogosphere makes me feel warm and fuzzy, especially if I read them too (: Old books need love too!

  10. I have been for the last two years picking up copies of the Wagon’s West series by Dana Fuller Ross. It was the series (other than Nancy Drew) that really sold me on series reading. It is 40+ years old and I still adore it!

  11. Great point (even though I dislike classics lol). When I started blogging it was what I wanted, then I got a bunch of indie author requests which was okay then I couldn’t keep up and got stressed and real life got in the way. Now I don’t accept anything unless I really really want to read it, I read whatever I feel like and blog when real life allows me to which is 110% less stressful (hoping for more blogging time next summer).

    • I completely agree with all of this — I’m the same! Even when I have review books, I usually only read and post the ones I’ve requested directly from publishers, or for book tours. It’s terrible, but the NetGalley ones usually wait until I’m in the mood. It’s great to read whatever I want, whenever I want! And same thing with blogging — I think you’re more likely to stick with blogging if you actually enjoy it, and do it when you want to. That way it doesn’t feel like a job.

  12. This summer I’ve been reading almost entirely review copies, just trying to get caught up. I’ve cut down a lot on how many I request and accept, and hope to finish them and then get back to reading for fun. Because reading on a schedule really, really sucks. I’m nearly there!

    • I agree! Reading on a schedule does suck. I try to work in a review book a week with my reading, sometimes more. But usually I just read whatever strikes my fancy. It feels great!

    • That’s awesome! There are so many series books I read when I was younger that I’d love to have … Goosebumps, the Babysitter’s Club … it’d be great to read them again!

  13. I do think reading and reviewing old books are still just as fun AS as important as ARCs or newly released. I also get just as much – sometimes even more – views on any reviews from older books. I tend to read ARCs, and then listen to audiobook of some older books I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Like now I’m listening to The Knife of Never Letting Go which is SO WEIRD but I like it. Plus with older books you can kind of pick out books that are said to be good you know. When we read ARCs we’re basically guinea pigs – the ones who sift through all the crap first and tell readers what to avoid lol

    • That’s so true! And sometimes it sucks to be a guinea pig … it’s nice to get some real responses for books that have been out for a while. With older books and newer books, it’s important to remember that you still have to pay attention to whether or not the book suits your reading style. It’s when people start requesting book after book JUST to get the new books, even if they don’t like the genre, that it’s easy to get bogged down. Oh, and I love listening to audiobooks of older books!

  14. What a great post! When I first started blogging I intended to focus on literary fiction and political non-fiction, which are my two favorite genres. Then, I went through a phase where I was always reading the newer books but lately I’ve made a commitment to read more of the books that started me blogging in the first place. And a lot of them aren’t new! I’m also a lot pickier about the tours/clubs I do now. I try to only have two of those books a month, that way I won’t be overwhelmed and can still be active.

    • That’s great! I remember when I started blogging, I’d peruse the library for books … now I peruse the new books coming in. I really need to get back to my old way! And it’s wonderful to have a schedule for what you’re accepting … saying you’ll only get 2 a month makes things much more manageable!

  15. Honestly, I’ve always kind of preferred the blogs that read and review the older books. The new books are usually SO new that I haven’t heard a thing about them yet, so if it’s not by an author I know I kind of just skip over them. Also, SO many blogs focus on brand new YA that I feel like my reader gets overrun with the same book all at the same time.
    So YAY for reading older books! And not reading by a schedule, which can happen even with the older books, but it’s usually by my own crazy schedule rather than someone else’s.

    • That’s the problem with newer books. While they can be great, there’s usually not a great amount of feedback on them. I do kind of like making my own judgement calls, but I do tend to look at ratings before I check out a new book …

      Oh, and I completely empathize with seeing the same books over and over again on some blogs. I notice that during some release weeks … every blog posting reviews of the same book. If you haven’t read it or you aren’t interested, there’s not much to say!

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  17. I often review “oldish” books (their range going from the 70s to last decade) and I’m proud of it. Of course, it partly has to do with the fact that I’ve not qualified for receiving ARCs yet, what with living in Italy and being a budding blogger still. Nevertheless, I would refuse to review new books only. You put it brilliantly yourself – “an old book is still new to someone”. Also, quoting Kimba, “books don’t have an expiration date”. Blogging shouldn’t be a competition about who’s able to get and review the higher number of new releases. Blogging, to me, is about showing love to the best books I’ve read and trying to get other people interested in them. So yay for this post!

    (P.S.: I was redirected here via Trish’s Sunday Post).

  18. Pingback: Bookish Recap: September 15th – 21st | A Bookish Heart

  19. Thanks so much. I love reading all kinds of books and have made it my goal to try not to get stuck in any one genre or type of book for too long. As you said it is easy to get stuck in one area while book blogging, but with reminders like yours I think it is possible to get ourselves back out of the box we put ourselves in and back to the many types of books out there.

    • Yes. I do like reading different genres, though I do realize I used to read more adult fiction and just … don’t … anymore. I wish I could get back to that, but it’ll be a slow process.

  20. I have always loved older books….and like you said, accepting review books or buying new ones (usually because of memes about upcoming releases!), has changed that pattern.

    I’ve made a vow. Next year: fewer review books, blog tours, etc. More books from my TBRs and the library. There…I feel better! Thanks for the conversation.

    • That’s a great attitude! I usually only fit in tours if I have time … I hate feeling bogged down by schedules! And yay for the library love … they can have some great books!

  21. Such a great post! It’s easy to focus on the shiny and new and feel like a book even a couple months out is “old.”
    I was looking at my review books list yesterday and noticing that after having about 20 books a month to review in Sept and Oct, I have not nearly as many for Nov and Dec, and I was actually so excited that I’d have some time to catch up on “old” books.

    • That’s great! Meanwhile, 20 books a month to review is crazy! You’re awesome for tackling that!

      I think sometimes I feel out of the loop if everyone is talking about a book and I haven’t read it yet … there are some books that I have to try and get to right away before being spoiled, that I think it ruins the experience.

  22. Sometimes I get excited and distracted by the new books coming out, but I think I’ve reviewed a good mix of old and new ones. I have even reviewed an out of print teen book from 1965 that I know I’m probably the only person who sees it will have read.

    • Ha ha … I love those books! I remember reading and reviewing one called The Cat From Outer Space … probably not one ANYONE has read, but it was fun for me. And that’s what matters!

  23. It’s true that I did read more older books before I started blogging about it, but I have taken it up again because it can be a lot of fun. I love how you voiced your opinion here πŸ™‚

  24. This is a really great point! I’ve actually started noticing that recently. I do read a lot of older titles when I can squeeze them in, but I rarely tend to review them anymore beyond a quick few sentences on Goodreads. It’s odd, especially as the whole reason that I started my blog in the first place was to write and share reviews of books. I seem to have slowly started prioritising new and upcoming releases. It’s something I definitely need to think about, I reckon. Thanks for sharing! A brilliant post. πŸ™‚

    • I had been doing the same thing and I have to remind myself of why I started my blog … it wasn’t just to review “certain” books, but to review and share my love of ALL books. I’m big on prioritizing my reads, too … I only work in the new reads that are absolutely necessary and then read by mood the rest of the time.

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  26. I do read old and new books for my blog. When I have the choice! I’m actually in the process of getting rid of my review pile (by reading and reviewing them, of course) and I recently made a vow to not take any review requests of books that weren’t already on my to-read list. I want to have a choice and I want that freedom back! It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve had that freedom, but I’m ALMOST to the point where I don’t have any reviews scheduled! Yay!!

    • Yay! It’s funny how with book blogs we feel like we HAVE to read and review certain books, that we feel tied down and have that lack of freedom. Reading should be fun! We SHOULD have freedom to read whatever we like! It’s hard not to get caught up in the shiny and new.

  27. I read older books, and nobody comments on the reviews. I think there is a definite newer-book bias in the book blogging community. It’s probably from having so many new books in the TBR pile. But I’ve read quite a few books from a few years (or more) ago, and I really enjoyed some of them. Just because a book is older doesn’t magically make it somehow “not as good” as the newer books.

    A few years ago (before I had my blog), I read a whole bunch of older books. Lots of classics. There are so many great books out there! We really limit ourselves if we only read books that were recently published.

    • For me, when I post a review, I never think of the comments. When I started my blog, it was about sharing my love of books … so really, the review is written first and foremost for me. If people comment, then that’s wonderful! And the great thing is that even if no one comments right away, it might be a review that’s popular down the road. You never know!

  28. I read older books more than new just because I own so many I haven’t gotten to yet! I do read the new ones too, of course. But as you said, the point is reading, and if you haven’t read them, they’re new to you. Unlike movies, they don’t really age.

  29. I try to read both, lately it’s been newer books since I’ve been a blogger but I still like older books too. I was just thinking about this recently as I’ve been trying to decide what to read next. I’m thinking of trying some older books next…

  30. I’m a blogger who stays on top of trends, but whose reading habits don’t necessarily include them. I often read a lot of older books, mostly because they’re what’s on my TBR shelf. I think it probably affects my readership, but it also reduces the effect on my wallet. It really depends on what your priorities are as a blogger. Thanks for this post!

    • Exactly. This is why I have to remember that I started the blog for me … I just wanted to share my love of reading, not my love of reading ONLY new books. And it’s easy to find older books on sale through library sales, or garage sales, or even in the sale section of Amazon. So much more affordable!

  31. I read my own ‘old’ books all the time! πŸ™‚ I like to have a variety on my blog, so I can appeal many people and I might get more attention for the older work. It’s sometimes a shame to see many reviews at once from a certain upcoming book, because it can get boring to read X amount of reviews of the same book. It’s fun to find germs between older work πŸ™‚

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

    • It really can get boring to see the same review on every blog … especially when you haven’t read the book yet — or when you want to and don’t want to spoil your reading with reading the reviews! I think it’s great when I see an older book review on a blog of a book I read and can actually talk about with people.

  32. Wonderful discussion, Kristilyn! I’ve read about 5 older books from my TBR this year, and it’s been awesome. I really want to squeeze in about 5-10 more this year. It gets so crazy, this blogging thing – crazy in the BEST way. But I stay so busy with review books, that I miss out on MY books – books I bought because I was dying to read them at the time.

    • Isn’t that sad? I’ve bought SO MANY books that I had been dying to read! I just need to learn to read faster … I think *that’s* my problem. LOL.

      I hope you can reach your goal!

  33. Pingback: The Sunday Post – Get your bookish news! | Between My Lines

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