Thursday, 15 April 2010

UK vs. US Book Blogs

I don’t normally do posts in response to these debates that randomly pop up on book blogs and end up causing a big drama… but, Margo (read: my laptop) is refusing to let me comment on this post, so I kind of wanted to address the issue here instead.

Go read that post, I’ll sum it up but I won’t be mentioning everything.

The person who wrote the post basically made generalizations about US book bloggers vs. UK book bloggers… and it was kind of insulting towards the US bloggers (and some of the things she said made it sound like she was speaking for all us British people, I just want to make it clear that she's not).

Here’s the thing about my blog: it’s a shared blog and it always has been.

Over the past few months the number of us posting reviews has dropped down to just myself and Julie (when before we had a few other people reviewing; some in Australia, some in Wales, some in the US).

Julie is from the US.

I’m from the UK.

And we’re not that different at all. We both participate in memes, we both post reviews (although, really, Julie has definitely been reviewing way more than me) and we both promote the blog when we can… and I like to think that neither of us are obnoxious/annoying about it.

That post kind of implied that the majority of UK blogs post quality content while the US bloggers just post memes and try to get more followers and things and that the UK bloggers don’t care about getting comments or anything like that.

I can’t speak for everybody but I started book blogging because I love talking about books and sharing my love of books with people - there have been times where I’ve stumbled across a book review and it’s made me read a book I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise and I’ve loved it… I like to think that maybe I can do that for other people too.

I’m pretty sure all book bloggers care about how many readers they have, they may not get obsessive about it or anything but it is great getting comments and it’s great seeing your follower count go up because it makes you feel like people actually like your blog and like you really are sharing something you love with other people.

I would still book blog even if I had no followers - I mean, I wasn’t even aware of all the other book blogs when I started this blog, it was honestly just because I loved talking about books and I invited my online friends who shared that love of books to blog with me.

I participate in the Waiting on Wednesday and In My Mailbox memes because they’re fun and I love reading other peoples posts for those memes - if people didn’t like reading them, they wouldn’t be so popular and those two memes have made me aware of so many brilliant books that I maybe wouldn’t have heard of had I not seen them on someones IMM or WOW post.

Actually, I think that was mentioned in the UK vs. US Book Blogs post: "I also find that I am increasingly unaware of the books they mention."

The way she spoke about it, it was as if that were a bad thing... that is one of the things I love about book blogs, it makes me aware of books I had never even heard of before. Some of my favourite books are a result of someone in a different country recommending them and I probably wouldn't have found out about them otherwise.

She said that it's a bad thing because the books seem very American based - I want to read books that are good, where they are set doesn't matter... if I'm in the mood to read a book set in the UK then I will look up some books set in the UK and buy them, but I have no problem at all reading books set elsewhere (in fact, only one of my favourite books has a UK setting and that is Stolen by Lucy Christopher, although even then, it's mostly set in Australia with just flashbacks of the UK and British people).

We love books, right? That's why we book blog... so finding out about books we've never heard of before because someone mentions them on a blog, that shouldn't be a bad thing at all.

These two questions were asked in that post:

Do you find that you prefer reading blogs based in the same country as you?

My answer: No.

Where the blogger is from doesn’t matter to me at all and the only time I really notice the difference is when they post vlogs and I’ll hear their accent and remember they’re not from the UK or when I spot them using American terms or American spelling… otherwise, I don’t even notice.

Have you noticed a big difference between UK and US blogs?

I pretty much covered this above, but as for specific differences there is only one that I’ve noticed and that is the ARC thing.

American bloggers who receive books for review tend to get more of them and different ones than UK bloggers I’ve seen (because a lot of the books aren’t published here in the UK and US publishers aren’t big on shipping ARC’s internationally, I don‘t think).

I don’t see that as a bad thing at all though because like I said, a lot of the books aren’t even published here in the UK and I have found so many books I want to read through US bloggers mentioning them in their IMM or reviewing ARC’s.

Julie is American and I’m Scottish - she doesn’t tell me what to post and what not to post, I don’t dictate what she posts either and there still isn’t much difference in the content we contribute to the blog (hell, like I said somewhere above, Julie usually posts even more reviews than I do -- she even has her weekly Historic Saturday reviews so the American of this blog posts more “quality” content than the UK blogger does).

There are more US book bloggers than UK book bloggers. There are blogs out there that will only post memes and seem to use their blogs as a way to get free books (whether by posting about contests for extra entries or by trying to get ARC's).

The fact that there are more US bloggers than UK ones means that there will be more US blogs that are like that (especially seeing as it's kind of pointless for a UK blogger to start up a book blog for those reasons considering the majority of contests are US/Canada only and US publishers won't ship internationally).

But, just because there are more "bad" US book blogs doesn't mean they're all like that or that UK bloggers are superior in any way, the majority of book blogs I follow are run by Americans (a few are Australian or English - there could be other nationalities but I don't make a habit of going out of my way to check where the blog authors are from) and all of them post great content.

Sorry about this. I just wanted to say why I disagree with what she had said and respond to the questions she asked.

-The Scottish One.

Later.

Edit: She has posted an apology to anyone she offended with her post, before anyone gets too annoyed with her.

11 comments:

  1. I loved your post and I agree with you!

    Im in Brazil and compared to US book blogs, its extremely hard for me to get ARCs. I blog because I love to read and sharing my passion is fun.
    I also love to have author give interviews and its amazing to be able to ask q's to authors I simply love to read.

    I see no difference like any of those mentioned in US or UK book blogs. some have more memes than others, but thats understandable.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion!

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  2. Well said!

    I'm a UK blogger too, and I love reading blogs from every country! I love finding out about about US books, and I read a mixture of both US and UK titles.

    I love UK blogs, US blogs, Australian blogs.. the lot :)

    At the end of the day, we're all talking about something we feel passionate about and want to share, and it shouldn't matter where we're from!

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  3. Wow, I just read her post, and it really was very insulting.
    I'm with you - I don't care where a book blog is based. I'm in Japan, but I'm an American, and I don't find that I prefer "Japanese based blogs" or "french based blogs" (I just moved from france" or american or uk or anything. I'd say I have four favorite blogs - one of them is french, one of them is uk, one of them is american, and one of them is australian. But there are TONS of other blogs that I love and respect and take seriously, and they are from all over.
    And one of the greatest things about reading blogs that are not from my country is that I DISCOVER NEW BOOKS THAT I MIGHT NOT HAVE OTHERWISE HEARD OF!!
    I have discovered so many British based books from UK blogs that I never would have otherwise heard of.
    Anyhow, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    I'm annoyed with that person now.

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  4. I went to the post you mentioned, and I don't see where it will let me make a comment, so I will just say my word here. :)

    Everyone is allowed to have an opinion, I am not upset about that. What I am upset about is how the blogger was saying "we" instead of "I". As if that is how everyone in the UK feel about American blogs.


    But thanks for sharing your opinion! :)

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  5. That other blog was, in other words, insulting to me.

    The blogger talked about the UK bloggers like they were almost superior to the US bloggers and how they were quiet and we were proud and loud and whatnot.

    We're bloggers; we have to have some sort of proud-ness because we love reading and reviewing books and we really want you to read them too! UK and US bloggers are not different, really. Styles of blogging and what books you read are really the two main differences.

    And if I'm not mistaken, the blogger was taking the UK side in the entire post. Maybe not the entire thing, but the blogger was basically saying that UK bloggers were better.

    I don't care if you're a penguin from Antartica who loves to blog; if it's good, I'll read it.

    xx

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  6. I don't think it's your computer because I couldn't find a means to comment either. Maybe you need to be a member of the site or something. Not going to happen.

    But what a steaming pile of horse shit. That person really thinks highly of the UK book blogging world, doesn't he/she? I'm American and when I lived in the UK, I noticed a lot of hypocrisy from Europeans as a whole on things like this. We're seen as boorish, loud, unintelligent and ignorant of the world around us. But that very opinion makes them just as ignorant and boorish and small-minded as we're accused of being. I had this one Aussie chick say to me, in this snotty ass voice, "We don't ride around in the pockets of kangaroos, you know." Well gee, lady. Thanks for that enlightenment. As if my IQ isn't 126.

    That post just highlighted how ignorant that reviewer is of US book blogging as a whole. Any idiot can tell you that the market, from classics to current reading, is vastly different between the two countries so why is it such a surprise that US book blogs are highlighting books someone in the UK has never heard of? Duh? What sells in the UK might not sell in the US so why is a publisher going to acquire international rights to something they don't think they're going to sell? And why must the Americans always be the ones to reach out and broaden our horizons? Why are we somehow lesser for not having read or promoted UK books? Isn't that UK blogger in the same position for not knowing about some of our classics? Isn't he/she just as ignorant about our publishing world as we are being accused of? Why hasn't he/she reached out and gotten to know our market? Why must it always be US? Why are we the brutish morons when we don't yet when those in the UK do the exact same thing, they're somehow elevated on a pedestal as if they're above it?

    Much to that blogger's chagrin, I'm sure, the epicenter of the publishing world, the WORLD, is in New York City. Not London. Not Bologna. New York City. New York publishers don't want to spend the money on international shipping to send out ARCs yet they're the assholes somehow. Where are all those British publishers that are ready, willing and able to send us some fancy British ARCs so we can broaden our horizons? Do they have the money to ship international? Because I can tell you right now, I've never been solicited my a foreign publisher to read an ARC. Never. I've been solicited to read ARCs of recently acquired British books now being published in America by an American publisher, but never direct from a foreign publisher. So why are we the only shitheads in this equation?

    I'm really sick of this European double standard that exists. That's not to say there aren't some damn ignorant Americans out there and US book bloggers that do nothing but shill but that nard really needs to stop patting him or herself on the back as if everything out of his/her mouth doesn't spell hypocrite. How much time as this UK blogger spent in America? Any at all? If not, maybe he/she should broaden his/her horizons and cross the pond and spend some time here. I've paid my dues with 6 months in London. Maybe if this person had bigger eyes for a grander world, they wouldn't be talking out of their ass.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I read the post and comments in question and while I certainly defend anyone's right to feel offended, I honestly didn't see anything mean-spirited in her post. It appears that some things could be construed that way, but I try to give other people the benefit of the doubt.

    To be truthful, the thing that bothered me the most was reading how mean the comments became. I always thought of the book blogging community and so friendly and forgiving and open, but am quickly re-assessing my opinion, LOL. Wow, some of those comments were brutal. I just thought that maybe some of the commenters should have been more tolerant and try to give that old benefit of doubt instead of going on the attack full blast.

    But I guess we're all entitled to opinions aren't we? Thank goodness for that!

    Anyhoo, I mostly wanted to say that I love your blog (found it through Twitter!) and am having fun poking around here. :)

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  8. @Donna...

    Um, wow - did you miss the part where I said I was Scottish?

    Your rant seemed more directed at people in the UK than just the one person who wrote that post when in reality, the other UK bloggers don't agree with him/her.

    I agree with what you've said, but it did kind of seem like you were making just as many generalizations as the person who wrote that post (like with this comment: "I'm really sick of this European double standard that exists." - that does not apply to all of the people in Europe, I made it pretty clear that I don't agree with what was written in that blog).

    I get that you're annoyed about what was written in that post (I was annoyed by it to, which was why I wrote this post - to make it clear that s/he was not speaking for all UK bloggers) but reading your comment kind of felt like you were ranting about UK bloggers in general (or even just British/European people in general).

    I don't think s/he mentioned anything about ARC's, I was the one that brought that up as being the only big difference I notice between UK and US book blogs... and I didn't say it was a problem, it doesn't bother me at all - I like the fact it puts books on my radar I wouldn't have found otherwise. I wasn't complaining about the ARC thing (I totally understand why they wouldn't ship ARC's internationally - it costs enough to make ARC's nevermind adding extra for shipping).

    So yeah, basically, I get why you're annoyed and I agree with the majority of what you said but it really sounded like you were shoving all European people into the same catagory and calling us hypocrites and I found it kind of insulting... maybe you didn't intend it that way, I don't know but that's how it came across.

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  9. @A Reader's Respite, I actually haven't read the comments on the post - with things like that, where I know it's caused a big drama (and I knew it had because I found the post through people ranting about it on twitter) I tend to avoid reading the comments if I can (I'm really opinionated and have this weird love of debating with people, comments on posts like that get too heated and turn into arguments too easily).

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, the point of this post was basically to respond to some of the things she said/answer the questions that she asked... and to make it clear that not all UK bloggers agree with her, because it kinda came across like she was speaking for all of us (with comments like this: "In the UK we view Americans as loud and self-confident" - key word there: "we").

    Also, thanks. :]

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  10. Great post. I posted about this as well. You can read it here if you'd like: http://imlostinbooks.blogspot.com/2010/04/in-which-i-give-my-opinion-on-uk-vs-us.html

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  11. This is a really controversial discussion post that I totally loved! For me, I don't really care whether the blogger is US or UK or whatever...all that matters is that they're fellow book lovers willing to help promote the YA community =) Sure there are some noticeable aspects that differentiate bloggers, but we're all united by our love of books =) I loved this post and was glad to see your view of the topic! Fantastic!

    ReplyDelete

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