Discussion time: Should book bloggers get paid?

If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen this conversation going around a lot in the past couple of days. So I’ve decided to start a new type of post on the blog where I discuss things too and give you guys my own thoughts.

I’ve only been blogging for 6 months. That’s nothing compared to some of the book bloggers and booktubers out there! But this new year I decided to take my blogging to the next level. I’ve started paying for my own hosting and domain (not on this blog, I’ll be moving shortly). But the point is, that’s my own money. I’m spending my own money to promote books and getting nothing in exchange. I get to meet new people and read awesome books and all that but you guys know what I mean. Other blogging communities out there (beauty, lifestyle, fashion) all seem to get something in exchange of their efforts promoting a product.

I’m going to be honest. When I first started blogging, I genuinely thought that the most experienced book bloggers out there were getting paid. But no. Sure, sometimes they get paid for events and things. But that’s sometimes! It’s crazy!

Book blogging is seen as a hobby. But it’s as time consuming as the other forms of blogging. If not more. To review a book you must, of course, first read it. Plus, promoting a book is not just reviewing it! It’s talking about it on social media, posting it on Instagram, etc. That all takes time. Time that bloggers invest and should, in my opinion, get something in exchange.

The thing with book bloggers getting paid is that people think that if a book blogger is getting paid, their review is going to be biased by that. And I agree that that’s the case sometimes. I went to a book panel once where this question was raised and I swear none of the book bloggers in the panel answered the question directly. They all tiptoed around it and never actually said if they would give a book a bad review if they were getting paid to promote it. It seems to me that some of the bloggers and booktubers out there don’t give bad reviews to books they are getting paid to promote. Nothing below a 3 star rating. Of course this is not the case with other book bloggers and booktubers but it does seem to happen.

But then on the other hand, I think that maybe even the publishers expect that! For most cases, they don’t expect to be paying. If they do, I get the feeling that they expect to get positive feedback from it so the bloggers feel the pressure to live up to that. If it were the case that they simply just got paid for their services like other bloggers do, that would be the norm. No one would question it. Bloggers wouldn’t feel the pressure to give positive reviews.

I’m not sure what the best approach is to start bringing about this change, or if it will ever change.

What are your thoughts?



10 thoughts on “Discussion time: Should book bloggers get paid?

  1. A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

    Well I started blogging because I wanted to spread my love for particular books that I like and share my opinion on bookish topics,m. I didn’t really start to PROMOTE books. It’s like if you are starting a music blog and talking about music, you would expect to get paid because you are sharing your opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • reflectionofthebooks says:

      I understand what you mean. That’s how and why most of us start. I just mean that as book bloggers “grow” they start getting approached my publishers to help promote books. Perhaps I should have made that clearer 😳

      Liked by 1 person

      • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

        I guess but that’s why bigger bloggers get ARC copies. I would think books are a fitting ‘payment’ for book lovers. Again it’s still an opinion they are expressing, so you can’t be expecting publishers to pay people for doing something so simple.

        Liked by 1 person

      • reflectionofthebooks says:

        But if you’re looking at it that way, all the other blogging communities are doing is giving their opinion on products too. And they get paid, so why shouldn’t book bloggers? And I’ve heard of publishers asking for bloggers to help them promote a certain book without even sending them ARC copies!


  2. Francesca says:

    I see book blogging as no different to beauty & lifestyle blogging with sponsored posts or ARC’s (which I see as being a lot like samples for beauty blogs) part of making a blog financially viable if that’s where you want to go. Personally I only accept ARCs or freebies if I really really think I’m going to love a book. I think honesty is the best policy and is what put me off reading fashion blogs for a long time – too many freebies with no honest reviews or descriptions of the products. My ideal would be to get some part time payment as a blogger to work with brands that way you’re not reliant on the money and can still be really picky about only working and promoting brands you love. Im no where near making money off my blog though which is fine as like you I do it cos I love talking about books, a paycheck would be a cherry on the top!

    Liked by 1 person

    • reflectionofthebooks says:

      That’s the way I see it too! ARCs are not a way to “pay” us! Especially when most of us end up buying the finished copy of the book anyway if we really like it. We all do it because we love it but I don’t see why you can’t do something you love and get paid for it. I think that’s the main problem actually, there’s a lot of the “if you really love it you won’t mind if you don’t get paid” mentality in this community.


  3. Raquel says:

    This is complicated. I haven’t started blogging yet nor is my blog going to be a book blog (though there is going to be a section for that because I love them; that’s how I came to your blog in the first place). But I guess I have the same opinion as I have for any other style of blogging: if you’re promoting it for them, you should get paid one way or another. Here’s where the hard part comes in my opinion: if you are being paid to PROMOTE something, are you really free to criticize it? That’s not promoting then. If you get the book and make a post saying it’s really bad, it’s bad promotion, why would they pay for that? And if you think it’s bad, why would you promote it on social networks or recommend it to anyone? Maybe the ideal would be something like working with a publisher and be like, ‘okay, we give you free access to our ebook catalog and you promote what you like’. That’d be a different story. They could give you a list of the books they’d rather have you read. Otherwise, if you’re just going to blog about it and they risk your opinion of it may be bad, I understand the thought that getting the book for free is good enough a payment. After all, they’re not sure they’re going to get back their investment in any way.

    I don’t know, as I said it’s complicated. I hope my comment made sense. Will check your blog later, btw 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • reflectionofthebooks says:

      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m so sorry it took me so long to reply D:
      Yes, I definitely understand what you mean. I guess there wouldn’t be much “in it” for the publishers. On the other hand, I would love for a balance to be found so that people that do enjoy reading and sharing their honest thoughts can make a living out of what they actually enjoy doing….


  4. Sarah says:

    I’m one of those people who worries that opinions wouldn’t stay honest/genuine 😦 and as you kind of mentioned, it is happening already. I often start watching a video, and it seems more like a ‘promotion’ video rather than someone expressing their genuine opinions about the book – I check the description box and lo and behold, it’s stated that the video was sponsored. OR it’s just obvious their heart wasn’t it, they seem deflated or like they’re trying to scrabble together some ‘good’ points about the book, when you can see they lack enthusiasm and didn’t enjoy it. I feel it more in videos than in blog posts, but I know that’s because it’s difficult to guard expressions on camera lol! OF COURSE, this is a minority and most people give nothing but honest opinions, whether they’ve received an ARC or payment.

    In a nutshell, IF the honesty is still there, I don’t see a problem with bloggers being paid 🙂 Great discussion ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • reflectionofthebooks says:

      Thank you for your comment! yes, I agree with you. It’s very hard at the moment to see how opinions could stay honest when most of the people that DO get paid don’t seem to be doing that! I would love to see people who genuinely enjoy reading and sharing their thoughts being able to make a living out of it though


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