Welcome back friends! Thank you all for joining me again today for the second part of The Pond’s newest collab: The Costs of Book Blogging. ✨
The Pond Gets Loud is a feature where I invite book reviewers from the community to share their experiences and talk about anything related to book blogging! Today, we’re going to discuss the costs of being a book blogger – a topic that I’m particularly interested in, and something that I am sure most of you are interested in as well.
The costs of being a book blogger
This book blogger collaboration series tackles the costs of being a book blogger. As book bloggers, we don’t often talk about how much it costs to be a book blogger; it’s often one of those things we just accept as part of book blogging and maybe some people don’t really think about it. Nonetheless, I believe it is worthwhile talking about, as it may give us all an opportunity to openly and candidly talk about the costs of being a book blogger, and give non-book bloggers an idea of how much book bloggers give to their platforms.
Last week, I invited eight book bloggers who talked about their costs of being a book blogger — and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend giving Part I a read!
What I hope you will takeaway from this series
- Book blogging not only requires time, but money. Book bloggers not only devote time and labour to promoting and reviewing books, but have to often invest in books and their platforms financially.
- Promote transparency in the costs of book blogging. Though there is some variance in the costs of being a book blogger (some people spend nothing, some people spend a lot), this series will offer insight on how much a variety of bloggers are spending, and on what.
- Some book bloggers feel pressure to invest in their platforms and books. Where does this pressure come from? Why do we feel this pressure, and how is it perpetuated? Why do we pressure ourselves to invest? The answers vary, and they are interesting.
Today, I am pleased to share with you nine more responses that I received from book bloggers! I hope you all enjoy reading their interesting and insightful responses.
Kaeley, Book Blogger (3 years) from Spoilers May Apply
My name is Kaeley Scruggs, I use pronouns she/her. I run a book blog and participate in bookstagram. I love reading because I love stories. After I started writing, I gained a further appreciation for books and what they can do. I was on Twitter a while before I was involved in the book community and when I realized people were talking about books on the Internet I was really excited. My in-real-life group of friends likes watching movies and playing games; I didn’t really have any friends to talk about books with. Blogging became a way for me to remember the books I’ve read (and it’s largely why my blog is ALL spoilers), and try and find some friends who I can talk about books with. I’ve made a few really good friends, and I’m so grateful for them.
I really enjoy bookstagram because it’s provided a creative outlet for me. I never thought of myself as an artistic person—I can’t draw to save my life—but it helped me stretch myself in many different ways. It’s also been a way to help me spread the love about diverse books, especially among my family and friends.
Most of the money I spend on bookstagram goes towards the small amount of props I use in my pictures. Part of the reason for minimal props is because I don’t like having a lot of objects in my home I’m not going to use. But a large part of it is because I can’t afford to spend even $50 a week or a month on props. I like to use props from nature (leaves, flowers, sticks etc.) I can find outside. I buy matches and candles once a year (about $6), and flowers from the store every 4-6 months (about $15). I pay for all of my expenses through blogging, purchasing books, and props for bookstagram out of pocket through my full time job.
I try not to spend a lot of money on my platform because I don’t have a lot of disposable income and I have a lot of debt from education. I don’t own my own domain, and I use my phone for pictures. The little money I do spend is because I really enjoy it, and it’s not too expensive to buy the small amounts of props.
When I do spend money on books, it’s almost always because I loved the book so much. Ninety-five percent of the books on my shelf are there because I know I’ll read them again sometime in my life.
However, I 100 percent think there is pressure from the community to spend money. It’s not a question that some of the most popular bookstagram people have hundreds of books and endless amounts of props. There’s a kind of credibility people attach to those who have a lot of books, like they’re more of a reader because they own so many. But that money to buy books is a privilege not everyone has, and it shouldn’t be a barrier to being part of the community.
I wish more people would feel freer to be whoever they want to be online. People visit your blog to hear from you. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or buy your own domain to enjoy what you do. You can write whatever posts you want—all you have to do to be a book blogger is write blog posts about books! Simiarly, you don’t have to have a lot of props or hundreds of color coded books to be a bookstagrammer. All you have to do is like books and take pictures of them!
Marta, book blogger (2.5 years) from The Book Mermaid
Hello! I’m Marta and I’ve been blogging over at The Book Mermaid for almost three years. I started my blog as a way to share my love for books with other bookworms, as no one of my friends irl was really that interested in books!
I actually started by creating a bookstagram account, and only later, a blog. I always used my phone to take pictures and I’d use anything I’d have home for props. It could be make up, mugs, even clothes … things I had spent money on, but that I had other purpose for. Eventually, I quit bookstagram because it became too much to handle, unfortunately, and most times I felt bad I couldn’t afford new releases.
I’m a college student and I have no income of my own. I used to get books more frequently from my parents for birthday and Christmas, but now I have to use that money for different needs. I mostly rely on arcs, books given to me by authors/publishers, books I borrow from friends and the library (and my local library relies on donations, so there are practically none of the books I’m interested in). If I do get a book, I have to check its price in several websites. I usually get them on BookDepository, though, due to shipping. A paperback there might cost me around 9€, while the same book translated to Portuguese might cost me 15€. That’s also why I mostly read in English now. And I always check if second-hand books are worth it (because, again, shipping costs).
I don’t own any domain for my blog and I use free websites to make any edits I might need. I actually don’t mind it at all, seeing it works for me!
As an international book blogger, there are lots of book events opportunities I have to miss! And there aren’t that many here, either. I usually attend the local book fair every year and I’ve been to only one bookish event in the last two years (that was organized by young Portuguese authors).
I’d say that, in a year, I might spend less than 50€ in things I use for blogging. But like I’ve previously said, I use everything for other purposes too. Some books I read and have to buy are mandatory for my classes, for example. However, I do feel there’s a slight pressure for book bloggers to invest financially on their blogs in order to succeed. You have to read all the books, you need to own every fancy prop out there (I own two Funko dolls and I got both because I earned my own money working during local events), you need to have the most expensive camera, you have to attend every book event … I felt that especially when I was still in bookstagram, the pressure was really strong there.
But there are people who just can’t afford it and then feel bad for it. And I wanted to say it’s okay, everyone has different ways of blogging, and if you can’t make it work in a way, it’s time we find some other. You do you! 😊
Noura, book blogger (2 years) and bookstagrammer (7 years)
My name is Noura. My pronouns are she/her. I’m a book reviewer, bookstagrammer, and book blogger. Reading has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved the feeling of escaping the real world, and i love how real the characters feel. Book blogging and bookstagramming was the way I could express myself. It’s also a way for me to share my love for books and reading with others.
Because I try to limit the trips I take to buy books and equipment, I would estimate around 100 dollars maybe. Or a bit more. Buying books has never been an issue for me. My parents encourage it actually. Whether it’s books or book related products for my platforms. They view it as a way of me being myself and doing what I love, but I do prefer to be reasonable with the price of the things I buy.
If there’s one thing I’ve been doing it’s making use of what I have. I’ve always tried to be creative and make my own things for my platforms. I used to feel pressured because of expectations, and seeing other well known book bloggers and bookstagrammers. I realized that I wasn’t happy trying to live up to others expectations. So I decided to do what I needed and wanted.
The message that I would like to get across is this: You will always be a reader. Whether you are able to spend money on books/products or not. Whether you spend a lot or a little bit. We should all support each other no matter what our circumstances are.
Lisa, book blogger (1 year) from Way Too Fantasy
My name is Lisa and I’ve been a book blogger for about a year and a half now. I love reading because it transports you to other worlds. I also love seeing things from others perspectives! I got into blogging because I just love talking about books and wanted to get better at writing reviews. I love the community and new friends I’ve made while blogging.
I spend, maybe, around $75 a month on average. Some months are a lot more and some are a lot less–depending what’s happening that month. On books, I can spend anywhere from $50-$100 a month probably (across audiobooks, ebooks, and physical copies). I think my blog is somewhere between $30 and $40 a year. I also attend one or two book festivals / conventions each year, some of which incur travel expenses (and also splurging on books outside of my normal range). I also had business cards made but that was a relatively small expense. Luckily I work full time to support my book addiction. 🙂
I don’t feel pressure in purchasing books since ARCs are around and many bloggers I follow are huge library goers. But I do think there is some internal pressure to make your blog pretty and unique, to stand out from others. This could include investing in graphics, going self hosted, or upgrading wordpress–I have thought about doing some of these and probably will make some changes eventually.
My message to others out there: Just because others spend a lot on their blog doesn’t mean you have to! Anyone can be a book blogger with relatively low expenses and that’s pretty cool.
Rain, book blogger from BookDragonism
Hullo, bookdragons! I am Rain (which may or may not be my real name) and I’m a book blogger from the Philippines. I aim to spread bookdragon fire and I spend most of my time screaming about books. This dragon is also a trash for anything fantasy. Pronouns are she and her.
Book blogging is a huge part in my life because it has become an outlet to show people just how much books impact my life. Before blogging, I found it hard to fangirl about books. Now that I’m ten months into the book blogging community, I finally found bookdragons who will scream about books with me and cry with me during tragic times. I really found a home in te book blogging community and I’m forever thankful.
I actually do not keep track of my bookish expenses because I still want to stay sane thank you very much. Nonetheless, I can estimate that I spend no less than 10,000 Philippine pesos (190 usd) on books every year. My wallet constantly cries blood but that’s the life of a bookdragon and I have learned to embrace it a long time ago. I spend money on books mostly because books make me happy. With all the pressure of being an achiever at school, books are the only things that give me life. Holding a new book in my hands is nothing short of magical. No experience can ever compare.
I am a jobless bookdragon whose life is threaded together by thoughts and broken dreams so I jusy save what I can from my allowance to buy all the bookish things. I save about 95% of my allowance for books. I am super thrifty and am a huge contributor to the improvement of the economy. You’re welcome.
Of course I feel the pressure to spend more money on books. As an international blogger, I often get insecure because I can’t access books just as much as most bloggers can. Despite this, I have learned to be contented of what I have. I just put my focus on saving up money rather than putting all my energy on being jealous of what other people have.
Message to y’all: you don’t really need to spend a lot of money to be called a bookdragon. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with spending if you have the means but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with NOT spending too. I know that the pressure of blogging can be too much and the impulse of buying a lot of things just to keep up with others can be overwhelming but always remember to follow your own pace. Feel the pressure but don’t let it rule your life.
Rain is a bookdragon who travels through books. She breathes fire and writes haikus during dire times (e.g. while in class). Nikolai Lantsov trash. Highly-flammable. Don’t disturb while reading. Visit Rain’s blog, Bookdragonism, her Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, and Instagram. Consider donating to her Ko-Fi!
Lynell, book blogger (1.5 years) from Weekend Reader
I am the Weekend Reader, and my pronouns are she/her.
I consider myself a blogger, who focuses on romance, contemporary, graphic novels, and feminist literature. The goal of the blog is to encourage people to read even with a busy schedule. My blog is hosted on bloglovin.com/@weekendreader. I post once a week. I also use FB @weekendreaders to host online chats/polls and IG and Twitter @weekendreader_ for daily engagement.
I recently started tracking my spending and on average I spend $200 on books, merch, and supplies (backgrounds, stickers, thank you cards, etc.). Most of my expenses are on books. I do feel pressure to keep up with releases but also vary my recommendations based on the feedback of my followers.
My blog is relatively small so I want to make sure my content is varied but not overwhelming. I don’t have any income from the blog, it’s a hobby that I take very seriously.
Michelle, book blogger (1.5 years) from FirstBookLove
My name is Michelle, I go by she/her, I am a book blogger and bookstagrammer. I love reading because it helps me escape reality and I get to connect and go on interesting adventures in different world with other characters. I really like book blogging as the blog gives me a voice that I wouldn’t really have in my personal life as I am not surrounded by people who love books. I love bookstagram as it’s always fun to plan a shot and interact with others on the platform, the community is great on both instagram and the blog.
For a month, I spend less than $10. I usually load up on books at my local library which I am fortunate to have as they bring in new releases frequently. However, I usually spend about $50 on books that have been on my TBR for the longest time (books are really expensive in my country).
I like spending money on books because I love reading and sometimes I would want a personal copy of the book. I don’t purchase book-related products, but would love to if I had more money or review opportunities. I mostly spend money for my Bookstagram as I need certain props to help bring out the feel of the photo.
However, sometimes I do feel pressure to invest in books. Although the people are really good, there is an underlying competitive edge to book blogging/bookstagram and those who review copies of books that are fresh of the print and sparkling brand new always gets more views. More people love seeing brand new copies of books with pristine white pages and usually pass off a battered old library copy of a book. I think there is also pressure that we always have to be constantly changing to make our platforms better, so that we can grow in following over the years.
Therefore, not everyone has a lot of money to spend on books and not a lot of people have great libraries with fresh releases, I think we should be less judgemental about spending too much/ too little on books and instead, focus on the book itself and talk about the book as a conversational topic instead. We could definitely help one another out, donate old books to those who want them, trade old physical ARCs that you don’t need to international bloggers who never get access to them.
Michelle is an INFJ book blogger and resident bibliophile. She loves anything that is out of this world and spends her time reading more than writing. Visit Michelle’s blog, FirstBookLove, her Twitter, Instagram, and her Goodreads.
Haley, book blogger (3 months) from The Caffeinated Reader
Hi I’m Haley, she/her pronouns and I am a book blogger and bookstagrammer. I love reading because it allows me to live an unlimited number of different kinds of lives and in so many different worlds and I like to share my love of reading with other bookish people through book blogging and bookstagram. I also feel I get the benefit of sharpening photography skills and writing skills, so, these outlets are beneficial for multiple reasons!
I would say that I don’t spend any money on my bookstagram and I’ve only spent 40 quid on my blog directly and that was to buy my domain. However, due to other bookbloggers, I have definitely bought more books now. I spend money on preorders now because I realize they help the Author(s) and really make a difference for them, and not to mention sometimes, just sometimes there is cool preorder swag!
With buying more books, I only buy more NEW books, I keep spending about the same amount on used books that I ever have, but now I try to keep aside 20-40 a month toward books I’ve been preordering. Luckily for me, I’ve been able to do things like preorder more now because my husband has a decent income. I myself am a musician but I only take part in local things and don’t generate any income of my own at the moment! Most of my books come from the library or from NetGalley so I’m not really needing to spend the money that I do.
I feel sometimes that maybe if I spent more money on props for photos or on book crates that I might get more followers, and I do feel really, not pressured, but almost disappointed that I can’t afford these sorts of things. I don’t think people are out to make others feel pressured it’s just hard when you see photos of such nice things lol, makes you want all the lovely bookish things!
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how much you spend and if you do sometimes feel pressured just know you’re not alone, but we’re a community and most aren’t out there to make us feel bad about our spending (whether we buy a lot or can’t). So, it’s totally justified to feel the way you do but don’t feel afraid to reach out to others when the frustration hits!
Haley @ The Caffeinated Reader is a book blogger and bookstagrammer with too much time on her hands. While she should be rehearsing, she spends her time fan girling over books new and old, she survives off coffee and sweets. Visit Haley’s blog, The Caffeinated Reader, her Instagram.
Kaliisha, bookstagrammer (3 years) from @Bookish_Kali
Hi, I’m Kaliisha, she/her, and I am a bookstagrammer! I love taking vibrant photos of young adult literature and show my artistic view on how to portray a book in aesthetic and simplistic ways.
I think I spend around $50-$100 dollars a month now, but I used to spend nearly over $1,000 on books and props. I mostly spend my money on bookstagram props now and a book here and there. I found that I lacked props that other bookstagrammers used and I wanted to upgrade my photos. I buy books because I want to read them and because more popular releases are usually what my audience wants to see.
I think there is some pressure because I do not want to have consistent photos. I love to change them and make each one a surprise with each post or else it can get boring. I also struggle to find a new book that is popular and photogenic enough to get more attention.
I want readers to know that taking a picture may be as simple as aim, focus, snap, post, but I pride myself in caring about the details. Readers should use bookstagrammers for finding new reads even if their covers are a bit disengaging, but the story and the review should matter most!
Bookish_Kali is a poc/teen bookstagrammer. She loves to dance and sing along to musicals, take a book wherever she goes (literally everywhere), and strives to make her mark in the world. Visit Kaliisha’s Instagram.
A big thank you to the bloggers who contributed!
My biggest thanks go out to the eight incredible book bloggers who their experiences and their costs of being a book blogger. I’m so grateful for the time that they gave – especially since book blogging is such a big undertaking and requires so much time – and am thankful for their contributions. Thank you all!
Please do take a moment to check out their awesome blogs! Give their pages a follow, a like, or leave a comment as well. ✨
- Kaeley, Spoilers May Apply
- Marta, The Book Mermaid
- Noura, The Perks of Being Noura
- Lisa, Way Too Fantasy
- Rain, Bookdragonism
- Lynell, The Weekend Reader
- Michelle, FirstBookLove
- Haley, The Caffeinated Reader
- Kaliisha’s Instagram
And friend, if you have read all of their responses and you are reading this: thank you. It means a lot to me to hear these wonderful bloggers out. I hope you have learned something today, and if you have, or would like to share your thoughts, please do share them in the comments!
Want to contribute? You can help but filling out this three question survey that will be part of the massive summary post that I will post at the end of this series! 💛
This time next week, I’ll be posting more responses from nine more book bloggers. I hope you all will visit the Pond next week, and will listen to what the book bloggers have to say about their costs of being a book blogger.