Welcome to 2019!
My first post of the new year (while I recover from the most spectacularly badly timed cold EVER) is a special guest post from a long-time blogger friend – Andrea Johnson of The Little Red Reviewer, who is out and about this month promoting a Kickstarter! There’s more on that at a link below, so read on!
Book blogging is a thing, because e-books are a thing.
Me and e-books, we don’t get along so well. E-books are the effortlessly stylish cousin who makes doing make up and accessorizing look so easy, and I’m the frumpy cousin who just wants to wear a t-shirt and jeans. I wouldn’t know how to accessorize an outfit if my life depended on it.
When I read a book on my kindle, I find it hard to comprehend what I’m reading. I’ll end up having to read the thing multiple times, to the point where I have certain scenes memorized. But I still struggle to connect with what I’m reading. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Is it possible that my comprehension is linked to the physicality of a print book? I’m paying attention to the texture of the paper, the font, if the paper is thin or stiff, the cover art, the binding, all that physical stuff, and those variables make it easier for me to understand and remember what I’m reading. Or something? Regardless, I am pretty jealous of those of you who have no trouble at all with e-books.
But anyway, e-books. If you’re a book blogger, you probably have some experience with Netgalley. You’ve probably had a publicist or author ask you if you prefer an epub or mobi file. You’ve maybe gotten e-books from your local library. E-books don’t require the time or cost of shipping, they don’t require printing, they don’t take up physical space at the library or on your bookshelf. If your kindle fits in your backpack, you can carry a hundred books with you. Your phone in your handbag? Another hundred books! You can read Fifty Shades of Grey in public with no one knowing what you’re reading, you don’t have to worry about embarrassing cover art.
E-books make it 100 times easier for book bloggers to access ARCs on netgalley, e-books make it 100 times easier for publicists and authors to get more bloggers to post about their books, e-books make it way easier for small press and self published authors to get their books into the hands of book bloggers.
I think it’s no coincidence that book blogs online took off when e-books and netgalley became a thing, and I think the advent of netgalley and e-books is the best thing that ever happened in the world of book blogging and book publicity.
With e-books, this is a common scenario:
Book blogger contacts publicist, or the other way around. Blogger shows interest in a new title that the publicist is advertising. Publicist makes sure the blogger is approved for that title on Netgalley, blogger downloads the book. All those steps took place in ten minutes or less. And six hours later, the blogger is already half way through finishing the book.
No one has to worry about verifying someone’s mailing address, no one has to ship the book and deal with the issue of chasing the package down at the post office (or maybe that’s just me), the blogger doesn’t have to wait a week (or two) to get something and risk that something newer or shinier might show up in the meantime. The blogger’s house isn’t suddenly overtaken with ARCs, the publicist doesn’t have to worry about a print ARC illegally showing up on ebay or Amazon. Win win for everyone!
I truly believe that had eARCs not become a thing five or six years ago, had NetGalley not become a thing, the book blogosphere would not have been able to thrive in the way that it has. Sure, plenty of us still read only print books, plenty of us only read books we purchased. But eARCs sure make it easier for a huge percentage of bloggers!
All that said, me and e-books still do not get along very well.
I am all about print books (so much so, that I am Kickstarting one!). My apartment is covered in books, there are stacks of books everywhere. When a publicist contacts me, one of my first questions often is “are print ARCs available?” . My favorite publicists and editors, the ones I have worked with for a long time, they remember my little quirk, and will often include in their first e-mail “yes, print ARCs are available”.
To publicists who offer e-ARCs and print ARCs, thank you. Without you, book blogging wouldn’t be what it is today. To publicists, authors, and editors who were willing to take a chance on book bloggers and non-traditional reviewers, thank you! Without you, my hobby would have never become something more than a hobby.
Andrea has been reviewing science fiction and fantasy as The Little Red Reviewer since 2010. She lives in Michigan with her husband and too many books. You can find her website here, and chat with her on Twitter @redhead5318.