Hello my dear friends! It’s been awhile since we posted our last The Pond Gets Loud installment. Unfortunately Bao was feeling a little burnt out trying to find all the responses from people, but he’s back and is ready to share with you some book blogger experiences! ✨
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 continue with our current series: the costs of being a book blogger. This is a topic that I’m particularly interested in, and something that I am sure most of you are interested in as well.
In my last series, I invited book bloggers to share their experiences as book bloggers, specifically about their average day as a book blogger and how much time they give. I had the privilege of hosting around 42(!) book bloggers, and it was incredibly humbling to learn from their perspectives and experiences. (If you missed out, you can read all the responses here! Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, & Part V.) At the end of the series, I put together a massive summary of things we could learn from all the responses – I highly recommend giving the summary post a read; the hours book bloggers spend on reading and blogging may surprise you.
The costs of being a book blogger
This new book blogger collab series tackles another topic: 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.
Before we delve into this topic further, I want to emphasise that the below responses should not be seen as a guide or an indicator of how much you ought to spend. There are book bloggers out there who pay barely anything to be book bloggers, and there are book bloggers who have the capacity to spend more money — and both, and everything in between, is valid. (One of the questions that I asked book bloggers was whether people felt pressured to spend money, so if this is a concern of yours, it will be addressed in most of the responses!) In fact, you’ll see that there is a lot of variance across the responses!
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 eight more responses that I received from book bloggers! I hope you all enjoy reading their interesting and insightful responses.
Bianca, Book Blogger (5 Years) at The Ultimate Fangirl
Hello! My name is Bianca (she/her) and I am a book blogger. Book blogging has been my stress outlet since coming into university. I wanted to read more books and reignite that spark that I had in high school when I had fun discussing books with my friends. I found both aspects in book blogging, and meeting and interacting with other bloggers is why I stuck around.
I roughly spend $114 a year if I combine the cost of my book hauls when there is a sale. I reserve my book purchases to sales, with minimal to no impulse buys. I mainly buy books, but oftentimes I also haul bookish merchandise like bookmarks and stickers when given the chance. When I was a student, my funds often come from what I can salvage with my weekly allowance. Now that I’m working, honestly it is still the same.
I spend money on books because books always give me comfort, even when I’m not blogging. It is also my way of supporting authors. I’m a shy person and oftentimes I can’t reach out on social platforms to chat. Buying a particular book is the way I choose to show my full support.
I definitely feel the pressure of spending money on books. Oftentimes I feel the that I’m a bad blogger when I don’t support a certain release. It is a thin line between giving into the hype, supporting the author, and plain peer pressure when everyone is raving about it. I know it’s a pressure I put onto myself, but it’s what I feel.
To be specific, oftentimes my feelings reflect what books I want to pick up. One time as I was healing from a broken heart, there was a sudden outburst about supporting a certain release. While I wanted to put my best foot forward, I struggled because of the inner pain that I felt. It put me in so much pressure because it definitely I made myself enter a place of uncertainty. Nowadays, I hope to make myself feel less bad about circumstances that I cannot control. Whether I support a certain book or not is entirely up to me.
I’m still trying to find a conclusion, but my takeaway is that: Books that make you happy are worth the money you shell out. As long as it does not give you stress and intimidation, it’s all good. Book blogging is not a race that requires you to have as many books as possible. Buying less books does not make one a lesser book blogger.
Isa, Bookstagrammer (3 Years) at @puttingwingsonwords
I’m Isa, they/them, a bookstagrammer, booktuber and book blogger from the Netherlands. I mostly post on bookstagram, but I write the occasional review on my blog and do videos on books, writing, and being queer and disabled on my youtube channel.
I’ve loved reading all my life and sharing that interest with lots of people is amazing. The online book community is full of lovely people. I’ve gotten tons of great book recommendations from them and I love sharing my own recommendations (or sometimes the opposite) in return!
I think I spend between 10-50 euros on books each month. Numbers differ between months in which I need to buy other things so there’s no money left for books, and months in which I go to events where I buy lots of books. It probably avarages out to about 360 euros a year, though I find it hard to make a correct estimate. This includes my audiobook subscription.
This number used to be much higher. I think I spent about 100 euros each month on books and book related things, even though I really should have been saving money instead.
I spend my book-related money almost exclusively on books and my audiobook subscription (which is 9,99 a month). I occasionally buy stickers and bookmarks with book quotes or art, and very rarely I buy booksleeves, bookish candles, or a subscription box.
I currently live from student loans. I also get a small amount of money from my city because I’m disabled and so can’t work alongside uni. Lastly I have a patreon, but this is still too small to make much of a difference.
I spend money on books because I love reading and I want to support authors, bookstores and other people in the publishing industry – especially when it comes to diverse books. Promoting diverse books on my platforms is just another way for me to support them. Plus it’s just fun to talk about books I love!
When I started my bookstagram and became more involved in the online book community, I definitely felt pressure to buy lots of books and merch and to read what everyone else was reading (which in turn meant more books to buy). As I mentioned, I started spending more than I really should on books and merch. Seeing everyone talking about the same books, sharing huge book hauls and special editions made me feel like I should be doing the same thing. When my bookcase started to overflow I started thinking about whether or not I actually wanted to read all those books I was buying, and whether I was actually using all that merch.
Finally I decided to cut down on spending, because the pressure of all those books I didn’t really want to read that badly cut into my enjoyment of reading. Plus, I didn’t really have the money for it! I realised that I could enjoy reading and bookstagram just as well, if not better, if I was more selective in the books I bought, buying them because I wanted to read them, not because everyone else was talking about them, and focussing on diversity over popularity.
When you’re new to the book community it can seem like you need to read all the popular books and own all the newest releases. But much more important than that is that you’re enjoying yourself. This could mean spending lots of money on books and merch, but it doesn’t have to. If you read what you like, you’ll find people who like the same books, and who don’t care whether or not you have the prettiest, newest editions.
Isa is a writer and book blogger. They live for stories of any kind and dream of a future in which they have a bee-friendly garden and a large dog. Visit their Instagram, their YouTube, their blog, and their Patreon.
Vanshika, Book Blogger (3 Years)
My name is Vanshika Prusty (She/Her), and I’m a Book Blogger & Bookstagrammer. I adore reading because it’s how I figured out who I want to be, and it’s what has saved me countless times.
I spend my money on books usually. I spend more than $600 a year, and about the same (if not more) on props, going to places for photoshoots, events, camera stuff and photo editing apps as well as extra storage space. I do have a job but I’m working a minimum wage job so I always feel guilty for spending money on things that aren’t necessities even if I’ve wanted what I bought for quite a while.
I try to be very specific on what I buy and thoroughly evaluate whether or not I need it to make my space as a Book Blogger and Bookstagrammer more comfortable for me because, at the end of the day, I do all this because I love books so much. They’re my escape and so I want them to remain a place for my comfort and happiness.
I definitely feel a pressure to invest money in books. I try to fight against it internally but it’s a looming thing. Always there, hiding in corners. I feel as though if I don’t have the newest thing, whether it be for a trend or whatever, I’m not doing the most I could for my space as a blogger and that’s a scary feeling. I still try to fight it and prioritize my wants and needs, but it’s tough.
My message to other readers is that you don’t need what’s new if you don’t want it. And you shouldn’t feel guilty for buying something just for yourself if you want to. It’s a tough world, and books are the one place that you get to cultivate a space for yourself to be genuinely happy. So do whatever you want, buy a lot or not at all, to make it happy for you.
Vanshika Prusty is a book blogger, Bookstagrammer and writer studying History while slouched over a cup of tea. She loves Brooklyn-Nine-Nine, random history facts, and if you have a pet, hopes you will give them a hug from her. Visit her blog, her Instagram, and her Twitter.
Natalia, Book Blogger (3 Years) at Books On Pointe
Hi, I’m Natalia (she/her), a book blogger. The reason why I love blogging and reading is to share my passion for the books I love and/or make me want to rant, and to show off my writing and creative skills.
On average, I spend about $20 – $40 a month. I mostly spend money on the books themselves as they’re the main focus of my content. Because of my current financial situation, I stick to taking my own photos and use whatever my blog platform provides for graphics (e.g. for headers) and format (I have a list of artists I hopefully can work with one day).
I do feel the pressure to invest in more books. Books are like currency and attract attention. There’s pressure to create great pictures. There’s also a sense of pressure on having original or more personalised graphics/format for your blog. Somehow it’s better and people would take you more seriously.
My message to others readers: do your own thing. Your blog or instagram or whatever platform you’re using doesn’t have to be perfect. Only you can decide if it’s perfect – it’s your content. Lastly, don’t be pressured to read or buy books if you can’t afford it. You’re still a book blogger.
Natalia is a book blogger, freelance beta/sensitivity reader, film/TV reviewer and copy editor. She can talk about books, anime, manga and Asian dramas all day. Visit her blog, Books on Pointe, her Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Méliane, Book Blogger at BookishMimich
My name is Méliane (she/her), and I’m a blogger.
My only blog related expense is the books that I buy. With being more involved in the book community I am more interested in new releases and since I want to review a lot of them, waiting for them to be available at my library is not very convenient
I’m lucky to have a full time job and very few expenses so I have money to spend and books and I like to own books so this isn’t something I feel pressured to do, but I still have to find a new balance.
Before blogging I would get 2-3 books every couple of months but now I buy books regularly and also preorder 1 or 2 titles every month. So far this year I bought 16 books for a total of 155$ CAD. That’s the amount I paid, not the full price. I got a gift card for Christmas, used my Indigo points, and got a free trial with Audible. (Oh and also used bookstores)
I don’t know if my habits will change when I go back to school in the fall, but I’m not worried because any pressure I feel when it comes to blogging isn’t directly related to money and with my current TBR and my library I have enough books to last a lifetime.
Méliane is a queer book blogger and yarn lover. She’s always looking for books that reflect her experience and enrich her view of the world so send them her way! Visit her blog, BookishMimich.
Nox, Book Blogger (1 Year) at Nox Reads
Hi! My name is “Nox”, my pronouns are she/her, and I am a book blogger and bookstagrammer. I love reading because it has always been a way for me to escape from reality, and I can really use that sometimes. The thing is, reading is kind of a lonely activity sometimes, so I started by bookstagram and blog in order to interact and connect with others.
I personally spend maybe $40 a month on my platform and reading. However, I am fortunate enough that my parents are willing to buy me a book every month. I spend my book-related money on book boxes! The box comes with prints and other merchandise that I can use for bookstagram pictures, and they come with a book a month. Sometimes I’ll buy another box if I have enough saved or it’s a special edition one. I spend money on books because I love to read. It’s nice having a box to look forward to every month, with a brand new book.
My income for books comes from my part-time job. I’m a full-time student who lives at home, so fortunately my only bills are car-related (car insurance, gas, etc.). I’m also looking for a second job.
However, I do feel like there is a pressure to make my platform better. It’s difficult for book bloggers and bookstagrammers to get views and responses, so it feels like I need to have the perfect theme and aesthetic, tons of bookshelves, etc.
Even though I’ve shown that I spend a lot of money on books/merchandise/etc, it really isn’t necessary. The truth is that other than for food at school, I only really buy a box a month, because that’s what I can comfortable afford. Do what feels okay to you- if you want to spend a lot, then go ahead. If you don’t or can’t, then don’t.
Nox is a book blogger and student. You can find her procrastinating on papers, surrounded by cats, while probably tweeting about Maggie Stiefvater. Visit her blog, Nox Reads, her Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.
Sarah, Book Blogger (2 Years) at Bookish Rantings
My name is Sarah, my pronouns are she/her, and I am a book blogger and a bookstagrammer. Books have saved my life and immersing myself into stories is a way to explore, escape, and learn more about myself. I love book blogging because I love writing. I love sharing my (sometimes scrambled) thoughts about books that I love. Especially if it’s a book from an author I LOVE and want to support. For bookstagram, I love the creativity of it. I started off with zero skills and I have watched myself develop to have my own style and know what I want. I’ve also learned to forget the numbers game and just have fun with it. It makes the experience much more enjoyable
For a month, I probably spend around $50. I tend to keep my books budget pretty tight and if I see a prop that’s on sale, I’ll buy it for a picture. Per year…it has to be around $300. I don’t buy books every month because I cannot feasibly do that but if there is a story that is engrained into my soul (hello, Annelies and Sawkill Girls), I will let myself buy it. I mostly spend my money on books and a few props (maybe 3 to 5 a year).
I only buy books that speak to something inside of me or that bring out my inner fangirl. There are just some stories where you read the synopsis and you just know, yes, that is a book I need. Occasionally, I’ll buy a book because other people are excited about it but that doesn’t happen as often anymore.
For book reviewing, I only review books I get an ARC for. If I don’t get approved than I don’t review that book. I have been lucky to get quite a few ARCS (only eARCs). That being said, I have a couple of jobs that help me with my book budget and those books end up for pictures on bookstagram.
I do feel pressure to buy book boxes and it is mainly pressure I put on myself. Because, oh boy, do I love an unboxing video. I could watch them all day and I like doing them too. There is also something about the surprise of book boxes, that you don’t know what’s going to be inside that appeals to me. Luckily, my bank account pulls me away and slaps my hand when I go to click add to cart. But there’s definitely pressure there.
My message to other book bloggers: You can do this without spending too much money. Make it about the books and try (I know it’s so hard) to not let what others have pressure you into spending money you don’t have. Focus on your love for stories and authors and try to keep that as the thing that keeps you going.
Sarah is a book blogger and bookstagrammer. She lives with her miniature dachshund, Gracie, and would kill for french fries. She thinks you should read Annelies so she has someone to cry with. Visit her blog, Bookish Rantings, her Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram.
Amanda, Book Blogger (5 years) at Classy x Book Reviews
Hi, I’m Amanda! I run a book blog as well as being present on twitter and Instagram in the bookish community. I love reading for the escapism. I love blogging and the book community because I love being about to talk about my passion with others that share it.
I mostly spend money on books. Probably around 100$ each month. Though I do have a nice MacBook and a nice camera that I use (but weren’t specifically bought for) to blog and bookstagram. In addition, I don’t have an income that supports my reviewing costs. I am a full time student as well as a stay at home mother. However, I spend my money on books because they’re my passion. I’ve loved books and reading my whole life. I’ve always had a huge collection.
There is definitely pressure to buy all the newest releases, but it’s self imposed pressure because of beautiful book covers or seeing on someone’s BookTube channel and wanting the same books. However, spend money if you want to. Buy books if you want to. Don’t buy books if you don’t want to. Do what makes you happy but don’t live outside your means.
Amanda B is a book blogger and writer. When she’s not reading (which isn’t very often) you’ll find her writing, doing school work, or annoying her daughter and her husband. Visit her blog, Classy x Book Reviews, and her Twitter and Instagram.
My biggest thank you’s!
I want to take a moment to, again, thank the nine incredible book bloggers for opening up and sharing their experiences and their costs of doing what they do. As a book blogger myself, I understand how much time book blogging can take, so it means the world that they have taken a moment of our their busy day to contribute to this book blogger collab project. They’re all incredible, and I’m so grateful. Thank you!
Please do take a moment to check out their awesome blogs! Give their pages a follow, a like, or leave a comment. They do incredible work!
- Bianca, from The Ultimate Fangirl
- Books on Pointe
- Méliane, from BookishMimich
- Nox, from Nox Reads
- Sarah, from Bookish Rantings
- Amanda, from Classy x Book Reviews
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!
In the coming weeks, I’m going to be publishing a summary of all the responses and data I’ve collected from this book blogging collab project! The summary will be pretty similar to the post I did for when we explored how book bloggers balance book blogging and life, so I’m looking forward to sharing the summary of this project with you all.