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BBAW: Readers

Today’s topic for Book Blogger Appreciation Week is about “Readers”

I know the post topic said to choose just one of the questions below, but as those who have stopped by the blog before know, I can never choose just one, so I plan on addressing them all. And hopefully I will not be too long-winded in my answers this time around. But I make no promises.

Has book blogging changed the way I read?

Yes. Absolutely.

I used to read according to mood. And it wasn’t simply a matter of whether or not I felt like reading, but what books I chose to read…or not…when I did.

I always liked to have a good selection of books on my eReader so that I could find one that suited my mood at the moment. I used to scan through those titles looking for something that called out to me. I’d then open one, and if the first sentence didn’t immediately grab me, I’d search for another book.

Now I don’t quite have that luxury. If I’ve promised someone a review for a book by a certain time, I try and keep that promise. Whether I feel like reading that sort of book at that moment, or not.

While I usually end up falling in love with these books, if they weren’t required reads, I might not have chosen to read them at that very moment, simply because I wasn’t in the mood.

What has also changed is how I read.

I still read as slowly as I always have in order to become as deeply submersed in the story as possible, so that I can make that “must have” connection with the book. But I’ve had to learn to read while keeping an eye out for things I’d want to include in my review.

While at first this was a challenge, in recent months it has actually gotten easier. I used to get so paranoid that I would miss something crucial for my review, so that every single time I found something of interest, I’d get pulled out of the story and then have a hard time reconnecting.

Now I don’t lose that connection. I’m able to take those notes and get sucked right back in, thankfully, or I don’t think I’d still be blogging today. If I can’t disappear into the books I read, it just wouldn’t be worth it.

Have I discovered books I never would have apart from book blogging?

Millions. Okay, well that’s an exaggeration, but it feels like it sometimes.

I used to get my book suggestions from Amazon recommends. Once I found a new author I loved, then I’d just buy up everything they’d written. But I used to devour books and would read everything an author wrote rather quickly and then have to go on the hunt for more authors and their books.

While Amazon helped me expand my reading by introducing me to the Indie author, they were still limited in their recommendations, simply because my book purchases weren’t varied. And so I’d get recommendations for books on vampires and angels, but not much else.

It wasn’t until I started blogging that I found out that there were plenty of resources available online to help me discover new books and authors. And that the best resources were other book blogs.

Before I started blogging, I had no idea, in all my late night searches, that there were blogs out there that talked only about books. I do have a brain, I just clearly wasn’t using it. I never made the leap from the knowledge that authors had blogs to the idea that readers would also have blogs and talk about those authors’ books. Not one of my finer moments. And I’m sure I missed out on discovering some pretty amazing authors because of this disconnect.

But once I became a blogger, this world opened up to me and I’ve since been able to discover so many new authors and their books that wouldn’t otherwise have been on my radar.

By participating in this year’s Debut Author Challenge I have been introduced to an even larger group of authors. Some I might have discovered regardless, from reading other book blogs or because they were heavily promoted on Twitter and Facebook, but a few weren’t as publicized and I might not have discovered them but for the DAC.

Whether by visiting other book blogs, reading the publishers’ catalogs or participating in the DAC, one thing is certain – I wouldn’t have discovered (and purchased) most of the new books I’ve added to my collection if I wasn’t a blogger.

Which leads to the next question.

How has book blogging affected my book acquisition habits?

It has completely changed the way I buy books in a couple different ways – quantity and format.

I used to buy a book or two a week, sometimes less. I now buy up to ten books a week. Most of them are eBooks, but still. It’s a lot of books. I don’t read ten books a week. I hardly have time to read three these days. But I do plan to read each and every book I’ve purchased.

And where I used to simply add books to my Goodreads to be read list or my Amazon wishlist, I now just go ahead and purchase them. It’s like a business expense, really. I can justify the cost. (Or so I like to tell myself.)

Before I started blogging I would only buy eBooks for my Kindle. But now that I’m a blogger, I also own a nook to read eGalleys, so occasionally I will buy books for both of my eReaders.

What has also happened – and a habit I am desperately trying to break – is that I’ve been buying printed books. Granted, they’re all signed personally to me, but still. I worked so hard to give away all my printed books in favor of eBooks and now I’ve amassed well over a hundred print books that sit in bins in my closet. Not ideal.

So while I was once an avid reader, I’m now a frantic acquirer. Hopefully in year two of my blogging career I’ll find some way to scale things back just a little bit. It remains to be seen.

Have I made new connections with other readers because of book blogging?

Heck yes! Lots of other readers. Granted, all of those connections are online, but that still counts.

Prior to blogging, aside from my father – who is an avid reader – his significant other (a librarian) and a close friend who is a book addict like I am, I knew no one who was remotely interested in talking about books.

And while my friend is part of a book club, she lives across the country, and so it wasn’t as if I was going to be joining in on the conversation from a few thousand miles away.

I was never really keen on book clubs anyway. I wanted to read what I wanted to read, and not some book voted on by a group. I tried an online book club when I first started blogging, but completely failed at that.

Although I’ve been on Goodreads since 2007, I didn’t even realize what it was until after I started blogging, so I missed out on any sense of community it offered.

But from visiting other blogs, to engaging readers in conversation on my blog via comments or on my blog’s Facebook page, and just a tiny bit on Twitter, I have made a number of connections with other readers.

Readers who share in my love of books. Readers who are just as enthusiastic as I am about those books. And readers who will never tire of repeated gushing about a favorite author or their latest work.

***

As a blogger I am first and foremost a reader. I’m now just a reader gone haywire with an endless TBR pile, a wishlist a mile long and more than a dozen brand new authors with all their lovely books to get caught up on.

Blogging may take up more of my time than reading these days, but it is my love of reading that keeps me blogging.

And as long as authors continue to write their amazing books that keep me entertained hour after hour and day after day, I will forever want to talk about those books.

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