Discussion: On Book Blogging and Monetization


Book blogger. What does this mean to you? What is its definition? It’s a title I wear proudly, enjoy and am fully invested in. Five
years ago when this space began, ironically, I knew next to nothing about book blogging or the community that surrounds it.  

Since learning about this vast community and inserting my book worm lovin’ heart into it, I’ve found book nerd bliss. Speaking from a personal standpoint, I’ve only experienced the welcome mat in this community. A community that is full of writers and bloggers who, at the heart of things, just want to have fun and fangirl. A place I find myself frequently in, and as
there’s no one in my life who really “gets” this, I’m always glad to have a place to go and fangirl – with all of you.  

Despite these happy thoughts, there is, sometimes, problems. Bloggers fight over various things (that seem insignificant) and sometimes debates turn cruel instead of keeping to an “agree to disagree” healthy debate. One stigma in book blogging is monetization.

My question, asking without any disrespect or idea there is a “wrong” answer, is simply, why?  

Far as I know, I’ve never been part of a debate in regards to this issue (with the Internet, one can be dragged into something without knowing about it), but I do know it’s a touchy subject.  

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Full disclaimer, it’s also not a subject I’ve done much research reading on. Considering I have (in the last year) made strides to monetize here, it’s become something I’m aware of; and made me rethink my choice to go this route.  

From the little I do know as to the “why” it rubs some the wrong one, the main reason seems to revolve around book bloggers doing what they do for the love of reading and nothing else. This is something I understand. But at the same time, I personally don’t think that a blogger who places ads on their page means they have any less respect or appreciation for authors, books and their fellow bloggers. I don’t.  

Having an avenue on my webpage that involves monetization in NO WAY means I am any less devoted to spreading the word about amazing books, authors or bloggers. I’m still 100% committed to helping promote books, their authors and sharing my love of fangirl things through writing.    

Like anything worthwhile in life, book blogging takes time and investment. Or in my case it has. While a lot of my blogging is a “hobby” (because it’s darn fun!), a great deal of it is a kind of “profession” as well. Writing is my passion, so I see this space as a place to hone that, to improve it, to challenge myself. Apart from the investment of time, many blogger’s also opt for a personal URL. This is a cost to us, and while it’s a choice we make, it’s also a helpful shift if you want to create a “branded” niche that might lead to new opportunities.  

Debate or not, care or don’t, at the end of the day it’s an individual blogger’s decision. Perhaps in 3 months I’ll make a different choice or maybe I won’t. For now, it’s an avenue I am exploring. Right or wrong, good or bad, so far, my limited experience with it hasn’t been to one extreme or another.  

I’d love your thoughts. What are your opinions on book blogging and monetization in this space? Have you experienced it? Do you monetize in blogging? What experiences have you had with it? Share your thoughts down below. I’d love to chat with you!  

Thank you for visiting! Come back soon.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Monetizing my blog is something I've debated for years, and haven't pursued yet. And I'm putting money into my blog, as well as time! It's a tough call. On the one hand, I don't mind a discreet ad placement, especially if the ads are for books. (And truth to tell, I generally ignore ads anyway.) On the other hand, too much can clutter a page and make it hard to focus on the content. And then there's the question of integrity: if the blogger is also reviewing a lot of the books that are advertised on their site, I do start to wonder if their reviews are just another product placement.

    There's always the question: what is our "job" as bloggers and reviewers? Some people see it as our job to provide publicity for books, authors, and publishers, and to an extent, many of us do that, particularly when we review new or forthcoming books via review copies provided by the publisher. But is our primary responsibility to the publishers and authors, or to the readers? I see mine as being to the reader. I try to be honest in my reviews, which means explaining what didn't work for me and why, as well as what I did like. So I worry about how much monetization is OK, and how much is too much — when does it make the reader begin to question my objectivity?

    1. Me too, Lark. Last year I made the choice to have a domain and it's costly. That said, of course, it was MY choice to do this, but it's the best option for me right now.

      "…too much can clutter a page…"

      SO MUCH YES! It is a balancing act in my opinion. We have to know what's "too much" and what's enough. The fewer ads you have, the less you'll add to your account, but like you, I don't like "too much" clutter.

      You raise great questions. I've never really thought about it as you have, but at the same time, I feel like honesty has ALWAYS been my number one goal in reviewing. So, even though I don't realize it, my responsibility is to the readers too. UNLESS, I agree to review the book directly from the author, then I'd say it's to both because I want to a. give the book an honest review and b. share that review (honestly) with readers.

      All great thoughts! I'm glad you came by to share. :)

  2. Ah, this DOES seem to always be a controversial topic and I don't really understand why either. Like, I get if people were being paid for a review, because that could probably taint the authenticity of said review, but just advertising in general? I don't get why it's a problem! I mean, personally speaking, blogging is expensive! I pay hosting every month along with my domain, plus giveaways, plus you know, buying books to read hah. So yeah, it adds up! I do have an ad, and am an Amazon affiliate, but I make basically zero dollars from either. Like- you have to make $10 on Amazon before you get a payment and… I have NEVER gotten a payment. And have been blogging for almost 4 years. Same with the Google ones- only it's a $100 threshold, and I'll probably be dead before I ever get that hahah.

    Really, the only time ads bug me is when it is clear that a person is ONLY featuring something because they were paid to, and frankly, I almost NEVER see that on book blogs. I know when I used to do mom blogging, some of my friends would just feature all these products that they could not have cared less about, because they were being paid. That is different to me than just placing an ad somewhere. That sort of thing makes me doubt what they said, which is a big part of why I wasn't comfortable in that community.

    But a regular ad? Affiliate links? As long as they aren't like, pop ups with music or something annoying, I am down! I think we SHOULD try to earn a little money if we want- why not!? Everyone in every other community does!

    1. You make an excellent point, Shannon. I didn't even think about bloggers being paid for a review (I never have and I don't see myself ever accepting that term for a book review either).

      LOL, I hear you. It's the same with Youtube (Google) too.

      I agree! I don't think there's anything "evil" or "wrong" with ads. Like you, I pay now to have my blog (granted, it's my choice), but I think it's the best bet for me right now. Blogging does become expensive when you consider hosting (I'm still with Blogger, but consider a switch off and on)/domains and/or design work.

      That said, I love this world and despite the costs or extra work, I wouldn't trade it for anything. :) Glad you shared your thoughts, Shannon – thanks!

  3. I haven't monetized any of my blogs because I feel like then I would start treating them like a business, and I would stop having fun with my blogs. And since the whole reason I blog is because it's fun, I don't want to mess with that. However, when I self-publish "Cloaked" this summer, you'd better bet there will be places in my sidebars that advertise it and help people find out how to buy it, and that will be something like monetizing it, right?

    All that being said, I have never avoided reading a blog because it had ads on it UNLESS they were pop-up ads that covered the blog text.

    1. I agree, Rachel. I *never* want blogging (for me) NOT to be fun. But at the same time I also see my blog as an "extension" (to some degree) for new opportunities. Writing is a passion, so I also treat it as a way to improve and become better at the craft.

      Re: sidebar book ad. In some sense, yes. But what you describe is not monetizing so that you make something FROM your blog. You're simply advertising/promoting your novel, which many bloggers do. So in that way, all you're doing is helping create exposure for YOUR novel which is a separate entity from your blog.

      CONGRATS on a new release! That's awesome.

      Me too! I don't avoid blogs with ads either unless, as you say, they pop up everywhere and disrupt my reading of the content. :)

  4. I had to scroll back up your blog to look for your advertisements – that's how little attention I pay to ads on a blog.

    I don't understand the controversy behind a blogger's decision to monetize their blog. How is it any different than getting ARCs? Would we not fear the same biases from bloggers who have great relationships with certain publishers? What if those relationships were built on positive reviews that were weighted more positively knowing future ARCs were in jeopardy? If anything, monetizing your blog gives a degree of transparency other methods of being "rewarded" might not provide.

    Anywho, just my rambling 2 cents! Haha

    1. I would say, usually, I don' either, Kelly. Unless they're pop ups that disrupt what I'm reading – then I'll admit; I get a little annoyed. :D

      You make an excellent point, Kelly. While we don't earn anything in terms of "cash" from ARCs, there is a certain "reward" or "benefit" from ARCs and for some, perhaps a mindset when reviewing ARCs. I feel bad if I've requested an ARC, received it and then didn't care for it. That said, I try to find what I did like about it, talk about that and then, honestly, but not unkindly, discuss why I didn't ultimately care for the book. hard or not, I strive for honesty in my reviews.

      Great thoughts – thanks so much for sharing them! :)

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