Discussion: Book Reviewing Through Vlogs


When I first started my blog a hundred years ago, I only knew of one way to do a book review: By writing it down.

Sure, it may sound silly these days since YouTube is all the rage, but it seems like more and more people are doing book reviews through a vlog.

I don’t want to say that there’s anything wrong with that, because there isn’t, but I wonder if more effort goes into writing a review for a vlog, versus writing one for a blog. Is it an equal amount of preparation? Sure, when you write a review for a blog, you still have to do things like add in the book info, or add in buying links, or whatever you do to format your reviews, but then for a vlog you have to either write out a script for your review, or just wing it and take the good parts, AND you have to format and upload the video.

From what I’ve seen on discussions about vlogging, I think there are quite a few people who don’t even like to watch vlogs, let alone a book review vlog. For me, I tend to skim a review if I haven’t read the book and pick out certain words or phrases that make me want to read the book, or that make me want to skip it. My fear in watching a vlog is that something will get spoiled without me being able to prevent it in time.

Also, from what I’ve seen of vlogged book reviews, they tend to be quite short – only a few minutes long. Granted, I’m sure that actually reading some reviews only takes a few minutes, but then why not write them out? In short, is there a benefit to vlogging reviews?

Maybe I still feel like I’m living in the Stone Age since I haven’t completely embraced the idea of vlogging a review, but I think that the practice does have its merits. Like, if you read that book that you just don’t know how to review when you finish – either you loved it or you hated it, or maybe you just don’t have a lot to say about the book that would justify a written review – it might just work out better to film ALL your thoughts, as incoherent as they may be, and trim it all up in to a neat little video.

And really, when it comes to reviewing books through vlogs, as you can see from the vlogbrother book review videos I’ve included, humour plays a large part! I can read book reviews anywhere, on blogs and on Goodreads, to name a few places — but if I’m going to watch a video of a review, I want to be entertained. I think there are a lot more expectations when it comes to reviewing books through vlogging as opposed to written reviews.

Perhaps vlogging reviews is solely for the book vlogger who only does their thing through videos, instead of through a blog, but maybe there are some people who started out as bloggers who are moving into the practice. Is this the cse? Am I that far behind in the times?

What do you think of book vlogging? Do you vlog reviews – or have you ever thought about vlogging reviews? 



25 thoughts on “Discussion: Book Reviewing Through Vlogs

  1. We’ve thought about supplementing our reviews with a short video, but shelved the idea. Like you said — the entertainment aspect is a lot more important than informational in video form. Plus, I’d want the videos to look PERF, and all that planning and editing is a lot of effort for something that we’d have to do on a regular basis.

    That said, I don’t think I would ever rule out vlogging completely. Blogging seems to be evolving constantly, and we’re always thinking of new ideas to try.

    • Skimming is a big thing for me. It’s easy to gloss over areas that you might not *want* to read, if you want to read the book yourself. You can’t do that with a video!

  2. I’m not a fan of Vlogs. Unless it’s someone I know really well. In that case, I am much more inclined to watch it. I have a short attention span for videos and so I find it hard to pay attention much past 30 seconds lol. I also find it a lot harder to leave a comment after a Vlog because it’s not as easy as a written blog post/review to scroll back up to reread a particular part I want to comment on, you know?

    Also, if I’m on my phone reading posts, like when I’m waiting for an appointment or something, I’m definitely not going to watch a vlog!

    In ways, I think I see the appeal of doing a vlog review over a written review because you don’t have to worry about spelling and grammar, but then, like you mentioned, there’s the whole editing portion – who has time for that! (Plus, I wouldn’t even know how to do that lol).

    • Short videos are definitely better than long ones. I’m like you, much more hesitant to watch anything that’s long. And I like to scroll back up to get written points, too!

  3. I’m somewhat a fan of BookTube, but I’m not into the whole book review vlog thing. I don’t really know why…it’s just not a review format that I like. I find that reviews that are more thought out and written down are just ones that I can understand and relate to better.

    I know that, personally, I’d have a much easier time clarifying my thoughts in a blog post vs. a video, so I guess maybe I “trust” written reviews more than vlog reviews, as I assume that they’re more succinct and truly thought out? Maybe that’s silly, but I think that that’s what’s given me a bias against them. And I like having the ability to be able to skim and pick out the important points of a review. I know people put a lot of work into those videos, and I’m sorry, but watching somebody ramble on and on about a book isn’t always fun to watch.

    But other things on BookTube, like book hauls, I’d much rather watch in video format than just having a list of books written out! Those I actually find entertaining and I really do like to watch them.

    • There are a lot of YouTubers (I’m assuming BookTubers, too) who write out what they’re saying, but I just don’t think that they’d go into as much detail as I’d like to see in a written review. I mean, I think the vlog review would aim to be more entertaining than anything else.

      I like watching book haul videos, too! It’s nice to see the story behind getting a book or hearing a blogger’s thoughts on why they want to read the book, rather than just a list or collection of pictures.

  4. This is such an interesting topic for discussion! I know there are a couple of book reviewers who are excellent about talking about books via vlogs, but I don’t think I’d be one of them. I’m a reviewer who generally prefers to write reviews and read them as well, so there’s that.

  5. GREAT discussion!!

    I hate vlogs for book reviews. (Love them for ALL other things!) I think a big part of it is that I’m a reader. I like to read. So I like to read reviews also. With vlog book reviews? You have ZERO control over speed (I even read reviews quickly). Plus, it’s not like there’s much to see… I mean, the cover, but beyond that? Nothing! (With products, it’s nice to see the product in action!) But books? Meh.

    (That said? I adore Hank Green’s review video 😉 )

    Jac @ <a href="http://forloveandbooks.comFor Love and Books

    • I love that you mention that you’re a reader, so why not READ reviews. It makes sense! I read reviews quickly, too, but you’re right — there’s really no control when you’re watching a vlog review. Good points!

  6. Great topic, Kristilyn. In my experience, the vlog book reviews I’ve encountered have always been like 10 minutes long, and I just don’t have time for that so I always skip them. Honestly, if ANY video is more than 1-3 minutes long, I have trouble sitting still through the whole thing. It’s weird; it’s like YouTube has conditioned us to have shorter attention spans when it comes to web videos!

    I don’t like book reviews via video because I can’t be as selective about what I want to know. With written reviews, I can just glance at the rating, or the final thoughts or whatever, if I want to. Or I can skim through it and get the general idea, while avoiding spoilers. With a video, I have no idea what I’m going to get, and I just have to sit through the whole thing to find out — which COULD end up either spoiling things or wasting my time. Sigh!

    • Well, in those 10 minutes you could be READING yourself! If I’m going to sit down to a 10 minute video, I’ll be catching up on one of my TV shows while READING book reviews, not watching YouTube videos.

      And I’m exactly the same way — I like to be selective when I read a review and I can’t do that when watching a video!

  7. While there are some great vloggers out there, it’ll never be my go-to because of things others have mentioned – time and privacy. It takes to long to watch and there’s the audio thing – I like reading to be a quiet activity!

    That said, I had great fun making my first video and will probably do another. I don’t really understand the idea of solely doing videos. Maybe I’m missing out but will likely never devote the time to really get into it.

    • Making videos is a lot of fun, but I find there’s still a lot of preparation that has to go into them, whereas when it comes to writing a review, you can just sit down and start writing. There are less steps.

      And yeah, I like my blog reading to be a quiet activity. There’s the odd video I’d star to watch later, but ultimately I prefer to read things.

  8. I love watching book reviews, they’re definitely I nice change to all the text, but as for me doing them myself, I think I’d find it pretty scary. And yay I spot Hank! I love the vlogbrothers!

  9. Pingback: Book Bloggery Week-in-Review (43)

  10. I’ve actually toyed with the idea of doing review vlogs. Not all the time, of course, just with books I feel would be better explained in conversational form rather than words on a page. Sometimes when I write reviews I feel like I could say so much more if I was just able to vocalize my thought process. And so, I might start doing that once in a while, but only with the right book. I am not sure if publishers would frown on this or not, so I am probably only going to do it with NON review books for the time being.

    • You’re right. I don’t think it can be done with just ANY book, but you have to have the RIGHT book to do it. It might even be fun to have two bloggers talk about their experiences with the same book — less of a review, but more of a discussion.

      I’m not sure what the publishers would think! Maybe they’d think it was a little more creative than just a written review? Though, again, you’d have to wonder if the publishers would watch the review — do they have time for that? I’m sure they’re also the skimming type when going through blog reviews!

  11. I don’t tend to like review vlogs if they’re trying to really analyze the book critically. If they are using the novel to help address an issue presented in their vlog and add to the thematic flow, I’m cool with it. Same goes for if they’re trying to be more promotional than critical. With this in mind, I’m subscribed to certain booktubers mostly for their insights about the publishing industry, not their actual reviews. Thanks for this post! Definitely needed to be written.

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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