Let’s Talk: Has book blogging and booktube become competitive?


Honestly, as I’m writing this now I have no idea where I’m going with this discussion. It’s just something that seems to have popped up a lot lately – especially on twitter – so I thought I’d see what you guys think.

So let’s talk – has book blogging & booktube become competitive?


Maybe book blogging has always been competitive. Maybe it’s just me who has noticed it more, or maybe it’s just been brought to my attention.

Though I’ve only been blogging for just over the year, even I can tell the times have changed. Blogs and YouTube have become more popular, meaning publishers and authors are relying on bloggers more to get word out there. Not only will we review books, more often than not we’ll continue to talk about them in other posts, helping to build that hype.

I feel like this has a lot to do with why book blogging seems more competitive lately. With so many generous publishers combined with anticipated releases, bloggers are being sent more books and ARCs than ever.


The ridiculously huge hauls – and no, not the ones with people like me who literally spend every spare bit of money on books and excessively hoard them without even realising. But the huge hauls where the majority of them are sent by publishers…and it was entirely planned. Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of the time it’s not a competitive thing. If you’re offered to be sent a free book – especially when it’s one of your most anticipated releases – you’re not going to say no, are you?

But sometimes, there’s a limit. Sometimes, it gets to the point where people are requesting books and ARCs just as a sort of trophy, to prove how good a blogger they are. But here’s the thing – having ARCs sent to you doesn’t make you any better a blogger than someone who doesn’t. It’s not something to aim for, and it doesn’t raise you to a higher status. It’s just a bonus of the hobby.

Sure, request ARCs if you’ve seen requests are open for one you’re genuinely interested in. I know I do. And even then, I can’t help but feel greedy because I know I’ve been sent a lot already throughout the year. But free books don’t make you any better. And to go around snatching them up at every opportunity to make yourself feel more worthy as a blogger is just a bit daft, in my opinion.


I’m pretty sure we all follow those bloggers who seem to just be the queens/kings of blogging. Everyone loves their blogs, everyone knows their name, all their social media has thousands of followers, and they’re always working with publishers. And we love them. We aspire to be as successful as them.

But again, it’s turning more into a competition. Of course you can promote your blogs and celebrate the follower milestones, but when it gets to them stage of constantly follower-counting, it’s a bit excessive. The constant countdown’s to the next milestone, the tweets saying “50 followers until 1000, can we get there by tomorrow?!” Again, it’s perfectly fine to do it sometimes. But you’ll all know what I mean – the people who ALWAYS seem to be aiming for a higher follower count rather than just appreciating what they already have.


I feel like it’s a very fine line. So this is my disclaimer.

It’s completely fine to receive freebies and ARCs from publishers, no matter how many you get. If you want to read them, and you happen to get them, then of course it’s fine. That’s what they’re there for. And as long as you acknowledge how lucky you are to receive them, rather than immediately go in search for more, then that’s great.

If you have a lot of followers, congrats to you. If you like promoting your account and doing little countdowns or targets to aim for, of course that’s fine! It’s exciting!

Everything is exciting about blogging when it comes to the benefits. I’ve tweeted things like “only 10 more followers until I reach 500!” I’ve recieved what I believe is a lot of free books and ARCs, especially considering a few of them were on my anticipated releases list.

This is not to be confused with the people who excessively try to gain more, just so that they look better.

I feel like I’m really messing up my wording today. I can’t get my point across properly, but I hope you understand what I mean.

So now it’s your turn!

Do you think book blogging has become competitive? In what way?

Do you think there are anything other aspect to blogging that I’ve not mentioned that are competitive?

Has the competitive feeling grown over the years, or has it always been there lurking in the background?

Join the discussion in the comments!

Until next time…


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62 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Has book blogging and booktube become competitive?

  1. I DEFINITELY think blogging has become competitive. You can just tell sometimes that people are saying they have a certain amount of followers just to rub it into others who don’t have as many to be nasty and big note themselves.
    Seeing as I’ve only been here for about 8-9 months, I’m not sure if it’s grown! But I think it’s been there for a while, especially with all the promotional stuff big companies get booktubers and bloggers to do!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this is such an interesting topic and I love that you’ve manage to write it in a post. I’ve never thought about even comparing booktubers to bloggers, but honestly, there are people out there who’s on for the wrong side of media and there are people who are just amazing and want to bring amazing content all about books. I never even had the idea that you could get free books! But agree with you completely on the excitement a lot of people get as their blog grows, and sometimes, there are lines that we can’t cross. I’m a book blogger who’s kind of new in all this, but it’s good to know someone’s acknowledging what’s happening 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been blogging for five years, and I think book blogging has always been at least somewhat competitive.

    And a little bit of competition is fine. If it’s motivational to you to compete against yourself and reach that next stats milestone, go for it. If it’s useful for you to study how others blog and “what makes a blog popular,” go for that, too. But I think the goal should be personal self-improvement. Stay positive and think about your own goals and what you want out of blogging; don’t get directly competitive trying to prove you’re “better” than other people, and don’t get jealous.

    Personally, I think there are all kinds of niches in the blogosphere, and some of them I’m not always aware of. I keep blogging positive for myself by not following the types who are overly competitive with ARC acquisition or overly bitter about how “Booktubers get more perks” or whatever. There are plenty of people who keep blogging positive and about the love of books, and the hobby stays fun for me when I put my focus there. Competition has always and will always exist, but you can try not to get dragged down into it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true! I’m all for self-improvement, the amount my blog has changed since I started actually makes me proud. I wouldn’t class that as competition though, even though I suppose to some extent it is, since I’ll have seen someone else’s and thought “I need to change mine”.
      Blogging and booktubing is always a positive thing to me though! I love the atmosphere surrounding it, it’s hard to see people argue here!


  4. Such a thought-provoking post! I totally get what you mean and I’ve seen it first hand, but when it comes to blogging, it doesn’t really bother me. Just like you said, a little healthy competition is fine 🙂 Although I get pretty jealous when I see some bloggers do a massive ARC/review copy hauls 😛 however, I feel like bookstagram is getting way too competitive lately! People are freaking out over the new algorithm because they don’t get as many likes as before. I mean, I don’t like the new updates either, but some people kinda take it too far. Like too many shout out sessions, asking for likes on instagram stories, and some of them even delete their photos if said photos didn’t get as many likes as they want. I think it’s a bit unhealthy </3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t even think about bookstagram, but that’s so true! Everyone seems to have gone overboard after the algorithm and it’s just??? Especially when it comes to reps for online stores too, and the amount of money people spend on background etc. I don’t get it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! Definitely taking it too far. Oh yes, and people are freaking out over collecting/not being able to get candles and funkos. I mean, it’s cool if they do want & could afford them, but the whole thing kinda takes the fun away and I’m even considering to unfollow some people 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Exactly! Like I use the props I already have, so I do feature pop vinyls or candles occasionally. But I don’t spend extra money specifically for bookstagram. It’s just not needed. And when people buy cameras specifically for it! Like you said, if you want to go for it, but it’s not a must

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this post and it definitely has me thinking. I have seen a bit of those who are more competitive or seem to want to stand above. But I haven’t really been bothered by this. I feel we all have our own goals for our blogs.

    But I am also still only several months in, so maybe I am not as aware as I feel that I am. Great food for thought!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It doesn’t really bother me either – it only really comes to my attention when there’s a book convention or something and people will do everything they can to get every book for free. Like you’ll see them haul books they’ve never even heard of and just think “someone else who’s actually interested could’ve had that”. But oh well *shrugs*

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I definitely think that it has become more competitive, at least where stats are concerned. I try to not think about blogging that way, but sometimes it’s difficult not to when your stats are staring you in the face. Personally, I find that I’m more competitive with myself in the way I blog and what I can write.
    Great post!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post! I definitely think blogging can be pretty competitive at times. I feel like I do a pretty good job of not getting too caught up in it all, though. I think it’s easy to see all these bloggers who get so many ARCs, views/followers, etc. and feel like your blog isn’t “good enough” or to feel like you HAVE to receive ARCs and have tons of views and followers in order for your blog to be worthwhile. And, like you, I think it’s fine if you want to get ARCs or if you want to get a lot of views, but I think it’s also important to remember that blogging shouldn’t be all about popularity, but about having fun too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, so this might be a weird question, but how did you get the signature on the bottom of your post? I have seen quite a few people do that and now would like to do it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree. I’ve only been doing it a few months but I do see it. I just hope that as the community grows we still keep the same positive encouraging spirit. I do feel some bloggers enjoy the follows but don’t engage with me..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’ve noticed that a lot of the bloggers who want more and more followers don’t engage with me either, or any of their followers really. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. You would think they’d show their appreciation by at least taking time out to respond when someone comments on their posts, etc. I try not to let that stuff bother me though. And by no means do I agree with the slogan “comment for comment” and all that. I don’t feel that it’s a requirement to respond to every single comment or whatever, but even just a little bit of interaction would be nice, ya know? Anyway, I like positivity, so I try to stay positive, and not let the little things irk me. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly. I love engaging with people. I do find that I don’t have a lot of people that engage with me on my posts at the moment but I am new. But the people I follow I try to speak to as much as I can

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I really don’t understand how people don’t reply to their comments! I know if you get loads it can get overwhelming, but still. I’m honoured when people comment on my posts! I can’t stand to leave one unanswered, since that person took the time out to check my post out!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Amazing discussion post, Ashleigh! I agree with everything you said. I am still fairly new to blogging (I just started in August of this year), but from the beginning, I have always sensed the competition “lurking in the background”. Like Danielle said, I don’t really let it bother me though. Personally, I’m here as a hobby. Because I love reading and discussing books with you guys. It’s so fun! And the benefits of blogging can be awesome! But I don’t think getting all the ARC’s and followers makes someone a better or higher ranked blogger. And I feel sorry for the ones who do feel that way. I was so happy to see this discussion in my Reader today. Thanks for this post! Keep the awesome discussions coming!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Megan!
      It’s definitely a hobby for me too – I love discussing books, anything else is a bonus! It’s a shame to see some people think there’s a “rank” of bloggers. No one is better than the other, it’s just a hobby. If anything, that system is flawed anyway – the people who DON’T get free books from publishers should be considered as more dedicated, since they’re the ones spending money and waiting for their anticipated releases! Though I guess we all do that to some extent, so again, this idea of “ranking” bloggers is just pointless really.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It usually only comes out when there’s a book convention where they hand out free books, and some will come back with multiple copies of one book so they can show off etc. Luckily in everyday blogging/booktubing it isn’t too bad


  11. This is such a refreshing post on such a controversial topic. Personally, I have not felt in competition with anyone besides myself, trying to constantly better myself. I have definitely celebrated milestones, but not to rub it in anyone’s face, just to give thanks for everyone’s continued support. I have however never done a count down thingy, I don’t know 🙈 I feel like it would be a step too far out of my own comfort zone. Then totally agree with the whole ARC thing – It’s totally fine if you receive ARC’s you really want to read, but requesting ARC’s just for the sake of receiving a free book is not cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I actually have a bit of a rule where I don’t like, advertise, I suppose,the arcs I receive. By this I mean I don’t include them in book hauls, I only include books I have actually bought as I’ve always hated reading/watching book hauls just to find out that they’ve been sent an arc and the book isn’t actually out yet, haha. I’ve never really felt in competition with other bloggers, I just try and focus on doing my own thing. I definitely agree though with what you said in regards to arcs and milestones!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really? I’ve never know someone who finds it annoying to have people talk about them! Personally, if I get an ARC or free book, I’ll include it in hauls and wrap ups just because it IS what I received/read that month, so why not? I’m always conscious of not mentioning them too much though, just in case people think I’m bragging when I’m not. It’s a tough line!


      1. Well, it’s okay sometimes, but if half of their haul is full of arcs I find it a bit boring. I don’t mind at all in wrap ups though as bloggers tend to give their opinion on the books which is mostly what I’m interested in.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah that’s true. In hauls, if most of the books were ARCs I’d start wondering how interested they actually were in all of them, or whether they just accepted because they’re free and might as well. If they’re bought, it kind of solidifies that interest, if that makes any sense? Since they were willing to spend their own money on it. Definitely agree with being more interested in their opinions on them though! It can be so helpful, especially when the list of anticipated releases is so long.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. I honestly don’t read reviews that often if the review is for a book I have not yet read. The only time I’ll read reviews for a book I haven’t read yet, is if there’s mixed ratings and I’m not sure about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t really think it’s any more competitive than it used to be. I think there’s a constant churn:

    – New bloggers come in, all fresh and starry-eyed.
    – Older bloggers are getting ARCs, sharing them, reading them, photographing them, and loving them.
    – The new bloggers see all those people getting ARCs and aspire to get them too. Or perhaps some people don’t necessarily aspire to get them, but are exposed to the “competitiveness” and “ARC frenzy” for the first time.
    – New bloggers become seasoned and start getting their own ARCs.
    – Meanwhile, those older bloggers start to see ARCs as tiring, stressful, and overrated. They request fewer of them and kind of drop out of that zone. (Not everyone goes through this, but many do.)
    – Those new bloggers replace the older bloggers.
    – New, new bloggers come in.
    – Cycle repeats.

    So I definitely see this cycle. I think the “competition” and ARC love/frenzy has always been there. It’s just that the people involved in that area constantly change. People fall into it, and some climb back out. But it’s something that’s been there for many years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! I do think it’s always been “competitive” – so to speak – but a lot of the people who say it’s that way now would very much be in the same cycle as myself I guess, where you can see the people who start to get them. So I definitely get what you mean! That was a really good way of explaining it, actually! 🙂


  15. Great post! I have to admit I have felt jealous when I have seem some blogs that have a huge amount of followers. I co-write my blog, and between the two of us we have 3-4 posts a week, and I just don’t know how people find the time to post so much on their own. I haven’t signed up for ARCs yet, but thought I’d give it a try soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it’s sometimes hard to see people with loads of followers and not think to yourself how great it’d be if you had that many. But I’m sure we’ll get there one day!


  16. I know someone that constantly seems to rub my nose in the fact that they get ARCs that I get denied for. I find it poor sportsmanship-like. They seem to do it for the volume and the prestige. I do it for the books!
    So I agree: it seems competitive and we should be celebrating the wonderful things instead of reveling in what we get that others didn’t. I’m happy for people that are genuinely surprised and happy about the ARCs or the numbers. It’s a wonderful milestone when someone celebrates so many followers! But I’m not writing publishers to get free books all the time to where I can’t handle them all. I use NetGalley or I get emails from authors, and that’s it for me. I don’t want to bite off more than I can choose because I have library books I enjoy reading, too!
    Great post! Love that you mentioned it! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      That’s so awful that you know someone who actually shows off about it! It doesn’t sound like they even deserve them! If you get anything for free, you should revel in the kindness of the publishers and how lucky you are to get it, not point it out as if to say “haha look what I got!” UGHHH.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s LITERALLY what happened. I got denied for a specific ARC, and they got it, and they messaged me with “ha ha I got it so sorry you didn’t” and I was a little ticked off. I would never do that to anybody, you know? Especially if it was something the other person really wanted to read. But some people are extremely competitive (the person can be also really nice but I think it boils down to competitiveness), and I’m so not like that: I’m happy for everybody! Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I want to, but I’m too nice and feel like maybe I’m misunderstanding or she doesn’t mean to do it…so I pretend it doesn’t bother me. One day, though, I’m going to flip out lmao!

            Liked by 1 person

  17. In some ways, yes, I feel like it’s extremely competitive. For myself, I just try to write the best reviews I possibly can on books of interest to me. I write reviews for my own enjoyment. Of course I love receiving ARCs on occasion (I’m definitely not someone who receives stacks of them, haha), but I try not to accept or receive more than I can review within a few weeks of receiving. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I try not to make it competitive. I would love to have more followers and interaction on my blog, but I’ve just accepted that only written blogs aren’t as popular as bookstagram. I don’t have time for a real bookstagram and prefer writing to taking pictures even though I adore looking at everyone else’s. And I’m okay with that! I’m having fun and I hope helping a few other people find some amazing books to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I make sure I don’t accept too many books to review either. It’s not about how many free books you can collect, it should be about making decent reviews that people can trust!
      And trust me, bookstagram isn’t always more popular. I have one, and even though it technically has more followers than my blog does, there doesn’t seem to be as much interaction. I’ve found people don’t like reading reviews on there either – I actually used to post my reviews on Instagram, and made this blog because people preferred to read them on blogs instead!

      Liked by 1 person

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