Blogs vs. Vlogs: Tension at Bloggercon

It wasn’t long ago that book blogs were rocking the publishing world and making authors re-market themselves and their books. In fact it was so recent that it’s still happening. However, a new medium has snuck into the mix: vlogging, more affectionately known in the book world as ‘book tubing.’

Perhaps it was the proximity of ‘b’ and ‘v’ on the keyboard, or the phonetic similarity of the words or the general misunderstanding of the differences between blogging and vlogging, but the powers that be at the BEA bloggers conference misadvertised one of the panels and nearly had an uprising on their hands. Yesterday, 100 or so attendees of “bloggercon” showed up to hear from industry professionals about how influential book blogging has been. Instead, they received an hour of enthusiasm on the wonders of book tubing. The panelists included Alexandra Bracken, author of The Darkest Minds series, and her editorial/marketing team in addition to Christine Riccio (aka PolandBananasBooks on YouTube).

I’ll first just say that the panelists and the moderator handled themselves very well and were super informative about the benefits of book tubing and the effect it has had on Ms. Bracken’s book. They were discussing what they knew, but the audience of mostly traditional bloggers found it hard to relate.

Book tubing is becoming increasingly popular (shameless plug: I just finished a video series about children’s books, click here to watch). People are reviewing, book talking and theorizing via videos on YouTube and they are reaching a huge audience. The big thing, and this is seriously important, is that the videos are reaching a broad audience of non-readers and they spread more virally than blog posts.

The question becomes: are vlogs more influential than traditional blogs? The sensitive answer might be that they are just different; blogs reach an audience of readers while videos target a larger, perhaps more diverse, audience. To the bloggers in the room yesterday, it seemed that vlogs were being given the more prestigious hierarchy, which created some tension. Regardless of yesterday’s events, it is an important question. Video blogging seems to be the next step, but blogging still isn’t fully developed. How do we deal with that? To me, the fact that book tubing reaches readers and non-readers alike is very appealing and might just be enough to inch it ahead. It also makes it easier for our community’s personality to come through. There are so (so) many interesting, kind and charismatic people in the book blogging world, but it is very difficult to express personality in a review.

Creating a brand takes lots of work, effort and time. This is especially true when someone has to read two or three posts and click around a website for a while before they get to know (and trust) the author. With book tube, it is far easier to pull someone in with a human being talking. It’s difficult to be comfortable enough on camera to really present your personality, but when it’s done right, videos are extremely engaging.

We seem to be in murky waters now. Both mediums serve different purposes and cater to different audiences. It seems that book tube is the next step, but it would be a shame for blogging to fade before it’s reached its potential. The problem with book tubing is that it is quite difficult to produce a video and it is far more time consuming than writing and editing a blog post.

I am not migrating to book tube, but I am certainly experimenting with it. The important question for me, and hopefully for most book bloggers, is: what will get people reading? After all, isn’t that the end goal of all of this?

If you have predictions or thoughts on this topic or were at the conference, please respond in comments or tweet @bookstomark!

Read on,



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