Monday, October 29, 2007

To Blog is Human (to Comment, Divine?)--veinglory

Every day I drop by three or four other book review blogs. There are about a dozen review-blogs I visit at least once a week. And one things I have noticed recently is that the book reviews generally receive the fewest comments.

Some of these blogs are about self-published books, some about ebooks, romance or science non-fiction. The pattern is the same across formats and genres. Why is it that the main purpose of the blog is least commented upon?

The best explanation I could think of is that content doesn't cause comment, opinion does. A review may be around 50% opinion but it is based on a text. That means only people who have read the book are likely to respond. Some types of news are simply things that have happened, there isn't much to say about it.

But once a blogger editorialises, speculates or just states an opinion based on general impressions or Internet sources then the reader immediately agrees, disagrees or otherwise forms their own impression. And it is that process that leads to a comment.

The question is, are the other fifty or so silent visitors here for the reviews... or the views? Does it matter? Even if opinion is the meat, surely reviews are the skeleton that gives the blog purpose and structure? Or are they just a good excuse for the surrounding gossip?


Breeni Books said...

For me, it's not that complicated. I subscribe to quite a few book review feeds for the reviews, but I read them with the knowledge that it is someone's opinion based on the book. Because it's an opinion, I don't feel the need to comment unless I feel they did an exceptional job or really sold me on a book. If I can relate in some way because I have already read the book, then I might make a comment, but I don't feel the need to comment because I consider them mostly informational.

Chris Gerrib said...

On my LiveJournal, it's almost impossible for me to predict who's going to comment on what.

Things I think will get a lot of discussion don't, and toss-off stuff gets (for me) massive comments.

Emily Veinglory said...

Well, now we have 5 new reviews. Part of this discussion about how it is polite for the reviewer to email the author got me thinking. Surely it is also polite for the author to comment on the review and/or link to it? In the clear majority of cases here, neither of these occur.