Sunday Salon: Are book bloggers picky readers?


I think I have become more selective in the books that I choose to read, especially in the pre published market. I have turned down quite a few books because I don’t think I will like them. With so many other books on my list to read, I won’t accept another if there’s a risk I either won’t finish or won’t enjoy enough to write a decent review.  This is to protect myself primarily, but I’ve also convinced myself that I’m looking out for the author as well – I want to be able to write a decent review, that’s either very positive, or at least sensibly critical.

With small, newish, authors there is always the chance that the author hasnt developed the necessary thick skin, and will be unable to handle a poor review/rejection with the necessary aplomb.  As yet this hasnt happened – the authors I have worked with so far have been lovely, but yet another reason why I rarely if ever accept self published books.

Something I learnt whilst doing bookcrossing, long before I became a book blogger, is that there are too many books and not enough time, so if I wasn’t enjoying a book I was allowed to mark it as a Did Not Finish and move on to the next one. No one was going to shout at me! It has also taught me that, should I really be meant to read it, it’ll come around again in some shape or form.

So yes: I have become picky in my dotage. I’ve been getting offers of more books since becoming a blogger and have had to learn to say “no” in some instances. I have also had to stop myself putting my name forward for the giveaways on sites like goodreads and librarything. Previously I would have put my name forward sometimes simply because there was the chance of a free book (no matter the quality), but those days are long gone!

So are you a book blogger? Have you become a picky reader?


16 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Are book bloggers picky readers?

  1. I am a picky reader, but I prefer to call it discerning 😉 I’ve learned to dnf freely if something isn’t working for me. There are too many wonderful books out there to waste my precious reading time with something that isn’t fabulous.

    Saying no isn’t easy. That’s probably the lesson that was the hardest for me to learn. I’m better at it now.


    • I’m trying to keep to a challenge this year, where I only get a new book if I’ve read 20 books that are already on my tbr, which means I have to say “no” quite a lot!


  2. Too many books is right. I think it’s important to read for ourselves and that often means being very selective on books. And not apologizing for our idiosyncrasies. Right now, I’m reading the kind of nonfiction that requires working through — so I’m balancing it with a fun book about werewolves!


    • As you do!

      I have a load of books sitting beside my bed, but have just finished reading the pile of comics that have been building up since before Christmas…


  3. I worked as a reviewer, and later as an editor at a newspaper and never “worked with” writers I reviewed. Sometimes I knew authors but also knew I needed to keep my distance. If I knew someone personally, I would decline to review their work. I might assign the review to someone less prejudiced. I was reviewing a work not a person or a relationship. My loyalty was to my readers, never to an author. If a reviewer is reviewing with an author as the main audience she has in mind, why not just send an email and not burden the rest of us with a soft pedaled and perhaps distorted review? Readers will learn to dismiss such reviews.
    We didn’t review self-published writers. In some cases we wrote news stories about the works — who they were, why they wrote and what they wrote about. Stories that did not evaluate, assess, analyze or recommend the works. Not reviews. It’s another option.
    Nowadays I just read and write what I please. Buy my books. Go to library. I try not to waste my time. So I am picky!


  4. I’ve definitely become a pickier reader over time. I largely avoid review books because I know that for myself, putting a deadline on something immediately makes it less appealing. I’ve also defined some reading goals for myself that satisfy me intellectually and emotional (reading more diversely), so that guides my choices. Great post and a great overall question, Sorcha!


    • As I’ve had more and more review books to read, reviewing to publish date has proved more difficult. I’ve had several books however, where I’ve reviewed to goodreads when I’ve read them, but scheduled the review on this blog at a more logical date. E.g. One book published in January, and I scheduled the post for October, because I thought it was themed better then, and into Winter. Told author reason, and she totally understood!


  5. Honestly, I think I’ve become a bit less picky as a blogger. When I started out, I was interested in two very narrow genres: classics and Stephen King. Now, I’ve gotten more into fantasy, contemporary literary fiction, and others I never thought I’d have any interest in reading. I also don’t get a whole ton of offers of books, but I’m hoping that’ll change now that I’ve re-launched and re-branded my blog.

    I do agree, though, that one of the things I’ve learned as a blogger is that it’s okay to put down a book that I’m not enjoying and either DNF it or come back to it later. Life is just too short and there are just too many books to spend time reading books you don’t like.


    • ah! see what you mean! Totally with you on broadening horizons, and being less picky that way. That the great thing about reading isnt it?

      There was a time when I was getting several book review requests a week, some of them I clearly wouldnt touch (genre, subject matter etc), and I had to learn to say no. If you see my review policy, most of that is as a reaction to the book review requests I’ve had in the past!


  6. Probably not as picky as I should be Nordie. I don’t participate in many giveaways (the ones on LibraryThing are not the kind of thing I am interested in) but I do succumb to the odd NetGalley opportunity.


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