Privilege in Publishing, Blogging, & the Book Community

As much as the whole book community is a really wonderful place full of really amazing bookworms, it’s not perfect.

There’s a lot of disparity between groups of people, which obviously reflect real life prejudices within society, even if they’re unconscious ones. Whether it’s against international bookworms or non-white bookworms, this is something that needs to be talked about and not quietly ignored.

Who Gets ARCs & Freebies?

I mean, first off, we can talk about the gap between people who get ARCs (from publishers and other means) and those who don’t.

The reasoning behind not sending books internationally is quite sound, shipping internationally really is expensive, especially when a large number of the English books being published are from American publishing houses. And in terms of even digital ARCs etc., publishing houses have warranted and real fears about piracy etc. based on other countries’ laws.

So in terms of ARCs for international bloggers, it really really sucks, but it makes sense. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it does seem reasonable to me why people don’t like sending things for free when they have to pay more rather than less.

The one thing that doesn’t make sense is why in the world Goodreads would start the new giveaway system. That’s just plain greedy. The platform is just hosting the giveaway–it’s already gaining more views and more adds by hosting giveaways. So by making authors/publishers pay $500+ dollars to host giveaways, and also limiting them to US & CA? That’s just greedy and cruel and unfair. I’m sure if Goodreads needed the money, they could garner it through other means (I mean, we already see bunches of ads). And they’re not the ones paying for shipping of the book, so why do they care if the publisher, for once, wants to ship it internationally? Do better, Goodreads.

But even for US bloggers–why are so many socially important book featuring minority groups not getting into #OwnVoices reviewers’ hands? Look at how many white BookTubers and bloggers and bookstagrammers there are with big platforms that publishers like sending books too, while lots more #OwnVoices reviewers don’t get the chance to do that beforehand.

Yes, large influencers who are predominantly white do good things for boosting a book’s popularity and buzz. But also, there’s a different sort of weight an #OwnVoices review holds–do you want to RT the tweet where the Taiwanese American teen tells you how much she related to the story or the white girl tells you how much she loved it? Both are obviously positive promo, but which has a stronger impact?

And I mean, publishing more often than not looks at the numbers rather than the influencer themselves, and you can’t blame the publisher too much. If you’re in it for the money, you’re in it for the money. They want to make money, and this is how they do it. I wish they did take into account #OwnVoices and smaller influencers more often, and they’re definitely working a lot closer to that, but it still remains rather tied to the promotion which is almost the same as money.

The logic they use is honestly sound for why they don’t send out ARCs to as many minority groups, because the minority group influencers have smaller followings. The largest influencers are a predominantly white group. It’s not the publisher’s fault (Mostly. I mean, ARCs can equal clout, but it’s not enough to build a following by just having ARCs. You still need to have decent content.) that minorities don’t have as large of a following, but it’s most definitely not the minorities’ faults either.

You know whose it is? It’s the viewer’s faults that minority influencers don’t have as large of a fanbase. Because these minority influencers aren’t getting the same amount of support as white influencers.

And it’s not like “OMG EVERYONE DROP YOUR WHITE BOOKTUBER AND GO READ BOOKS FROM THIS BROWN GIRL,” it’s those inherent subconscious biases we have. It’s those biases that say we want to watch videos from the pretty BookTuber–but look at your standard of who’s pretty. As Olivia A. Cole showed with her really great quick thread about cartoon animals and making them look female, “Whiteness is not the feminine default” (or at least, we really want this to be true).

As much as this really should be the truth, it’s pretty obvious that POC beauty is far behind white beauty, and people find more white people attractive than they do POC. And that’s a fact. (Just look at the makeup products out there.)

(This is one of the reasons why I really dislike YouTube. Blogging gives you more opportunity for a fair ground because it’s your words that count, not your pretty face.)

There Are Also Socioeconomic Disparities…

But beyond freebies being expensive to ship, international bookworms still have a really unjustified, sucky thing going for them.

And that’s the extreme emphasis for people to own hardcover books. You look at how the book community’s main platform constantly moves, and how it’s leaning more and more towards Instagram. And the viewership on Instagram really likes: hardcover books.

And hardcover books are usually always the newer editions, and paperbacks only come a year (or more) later. Meaning, if you want to keep with the trend, you get the ARC (which obviously isn’t usually feasible) or the hardcover.

But wait–what’s that? Hardcovers and new books are hard to find internationally? Hell yeah, they are. They have to buy these books at full price, and even purchasing from Book Depository is hella expensive (despite the sales they trumpet, it’s still more than then Amazon price, usually). We Americans have things like thrift stores and sales and lots of coupons and publishers sending us finished copies for free. But do the INTL kids have that? *snorts* Nope.

Meaning, it’s harder for INTL bloggers to get the photographic items they need to build their platform and appeal with the viewership.

Which also brings us to the other point, which is bookstagram. In the last section, I raged about BookTube. It’s bookstagram’s turn.

Because bookstagram is a very demanding platform. And it’s honestly really hard for anyone who has a lower class lifestyle to think about the sheer frivolity of bookstagram.

What are you going to spend your money on: food/rent/basic necessities, or some fake flowers?

Here are a list of some things that are vital to bookstagram, and here’s also me, tearing them all down and showing the socioeconomic issues:

  • Owning Physical Books | I already mentioned a lot about this before, but INTL influencers don’t get as many books for free and books are hella expensive for them in physical format, which is a strain that is also visible for lower-income bookish people. Audiobooks and ebooks are cheaper, but viewers like to see physical books (preferably hardbacks), which is like a kick to the gut when you have a limited income, or when everything is uber expensive.
  • Good Lighting | This isn’t as silly as it sounds, because you might be thinking “Why don’t you just take pics outside?” Well, for one thing, people in lower socioeconomic situations probably don’t live in a perfectly aesthetic fucking forest, thank you very much. And also, it’s well known that expensive houses have large, open spaces with good lighting and cheaper houses stray towards the outdated, dark styles. Furthermore, lower-income people don’t just work 9-to-5 jobs or are stay at home. A lot of the times, they can get home late, where the lighting isn’t at all existent, meaning their photos are artificial-light dependent. Oof indeed.
  • Props | This goes back to the money issues thing, but props, as much as you say “Oh, props are cheap! You can find flowers for a buck at the dollar store and use this really nice wood patterned mat you can find on Amazon,” it’s still not super feasible. Tight money means using it wisely, and props are not really a smart way to use money.
  • Posting at the Right Time | This is both an INTL and a socioeconomic problem (see: working late) because we all know that there’s good times and bad times to post on IG. And working during those times, or being asleep because you live in the wrong country, means your performance is getting a direct hit. (Because I’m pretty sure IG scheduling still requires you to press the button yourself at that time, unless I understand it incorrectly.) Just fantastic.
  • Being Able to Take High Quality Photos | Look, I know bunches of you have your gleaming, case-covered iPhone that takes decent photos, but do you also know how expensive those things are? (I hope you do because you’re paying the bill.) All of my phones over my whole life have been $50 or less. (A fancy phone isn’t really a priority for me. If it functions, I’m happy. I’m fortunate enough to own a real camera.) $50 phones do not have good cameras. You’ve seen my IG stories. You know the camera is sucky. So telling a low income person with a non-iPhone quality phone to just “Use your phone camera because it works perfectly fine!” is pretty inconvenient and honestly offensive, because chances are, they can’t afford a phone that takes nice photos.

Being able to participate in conventional bookstagram (wood, flowers, lots of books) is basically an activity limited to middle to high income bookish people.

So basically, platforms like BookTube and bookstagram are equity-lacking platforms, because the viewers have a larger propensity to alienate people from lower socioeconomic statuses, people who are international, and people who are not the white-standard for beauty.

(Small clarification, I say non-equity because for bookstagram, it’s equal opportunity for sure because everyone gets the same platform to use, but it’s non-equity because everyone starts out somewhere different–low-income people and INTL folks at the bottom–so even if everyone gets the same resources, the outcome still ends up with these people lagging behind. See the graphic below for more clarification.)

See the source image

More Miscellaneous Discriminatory Things

A couple other things I’ve noticed. Things like Twitter Chats are something that can’t satisfy everyone. It’s literally impossible, unless some people stay up really late. The standard Twitter chat time is 8 pm EST. What about those poor souls in Europe and Africa and parts of Asia where it’s time to sleep? Do they get the opportunity to scream in bookish with everyone? Nope.

What could happen is that Twitter Chat times vary to be more inclusive of bookworms. Y’know, just a thought.

Similarly, book conventions. Almost all the major book conventions take place in the US, and that already chucks out a whole group of people. Not to mention that getting there is expensive and whoops is that another group of people who were just isolated? Oops, my bad. Book conventions are great for creating buzz, but they also are hella expensive to get to and attend (costing both time and money) and a lot of people aren’t able to go.

If we took off the emphasis from making book conventions such a big and must-have thing and divert some of the resources from that into other pursuits (idk, #OwnVoices reviewers, maybe?), then that’s another step towards equity.

(Oh, and also, bunches of ARCs are sold illegally after cons. That’s also a downside :/)


So, in conclusion,

  1. if you’re white cis het allo and you live in America, then you have a natural group of people who don’t immediately dislike you and you have locational things working in your favor. You’re at the top of the pack, without even having to work for it.
  2. BookTube and Bookstagram are some of the most discriminatory platforms, because it isolates lower income, non-conventionally beautiful (aka non-white), non-US bookworms.
  3. Something must be done. Which brings us to…

So what gives? How do we change this?

This is a huge problem. Even though it may not be immediate and glaring you in the face, like the blatant lack of diversity in some novels, this is something that needs to be changed.

It’s also something that spans a lot wider than just the book community.

Look at BookTube. The way to make BookTube more accessible to people? Eliminate those white standards of beauty (aka, eradicate racism).

The way to make bookstagram more accessible? Eliminate the requirements for people to bookstagram in the conventional manner, with hardcover books and lots of props etc. (or, alternatively, eradicate poverty.)

It’s obvious we can’t do the parenthetical goals. We can’t eliminate racism or poverty or make international shipping cheap that quickly, not unless you want to invent teleportation and also simultaneously create a utopia.

What we can do, is try and change the way we look at things. Instead of putting a focus on hardcover books, put a focus on books in all formats. Instead of putting a focus on BookTubers to look super put-together with a face full of makeup and a giant, sprawling, hardcover bookshelf, put a focus on BookTube videos in interesting places with more natural get ups that stick a metaphorical middle finger up at beauty standards.

It’s YOU, the viewers, who decide where things go. If everyone stops following flowery bookstagram accounts and instead go for the outdoorsy ones, what do you think bookstagram is going to start shifting to?

Where the numbers are determine what influencers and even publishers do. The type of content you look at emphasizes what the market likes, and if the market likes not isolating international or socioeconomically challenged bookworms, then we’re moving in the right direction.

We showed the publishing world how diversity is important to us, and books by diverse authors with diverse characters are on the rise (though, not at the level they should be). Now, it’s time to show the whole bookish community how important people of all groups are to us.

much love, vicky

Please don’t think this is me complaining on my own behalf. I am an Asian American cis het? middle-class bookworm. I’ve gotten so much aid from publishing in terms of free books to help build my platform. I’m far more privileged than so many other bookish people, except the white cis het allo middle-to-upper-class bookworms. And this isn’t how it should be.

I am using my platform to speak out about what I’ve seen about the bookish community and how we are continuing to isolate specific groups of people. Please, I urge you to use your own platform to boost the voices that need to be heard.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Concerns? The comment section is below.


86 thoughts on “Privilege in Publishing, Blogging, & the Book Community

  1. This is such an important post… I can see how even being an Asian living in US hasn’t prevented me from conforming to the usual stereotypes and beauty standards… and I can definitely see how I can do better..
    Thank you so much…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really loved that you wrote about this. Quick story… When I started my Instagram page, I did it before my blog and I was not aware of what bookstagram was, and I just wanted to post pictures of my books and then start my blog… But I didn’t account for one thing, Aesthetic. I still maintain my bookstagram page but I don’t post as much. What are your thoughts on people who blog using it as their main platform but have a bookstagram account?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aesthetic is such a powerful and damning factor. I honestly don’t care too much if/how you manage your bookstagram. What I do care about, is that we support unconventional accounts, ones that don’t necessarily have bunches of hardcovers and flowers and swag and wood in them.

      I do think that by maintaining your bookstagram in conventional manners is a bit detrimental and doesn’t actually help advance unconventional accounts run by low-income/INTL/etc. bloggers. One thing you could do is to feat. more ebooks and audiobooks in an aesthetic manner.

      Bookstagram’s cool, but only if you use it wisely. I say, make sure to follow less traditional, smaller, and diverse accounts so we don’t end up perpetuating the white standard.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a shame that the book community is so centrally American. I really hope that INTL bloggers get more and more opportunities as time wears on.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a great piece. Thank you for writing it. You raise a lot of really good points, especially about getting #ownvoices books into the hands of #ownvoices reviewers. And also, people with privilege using their platforms to boost marginalized voices. It also makes me think of ways I can use my privilege for good! ♥

    I also want to draw some attention to the fact that there are intersections at play when it comes to privilege. While race is a big, big factor, the socioeconomic factors are universal, and the exclusion of people outside the US happens to people even as close to the US as Canada. (I say this as a white, disabled woman from Canada.)

    Thanks again for the awesome piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading! I’m glad it proved to be helpful to you!

      Yes! I definitely think that we do use “race” as a sort of buzz word, but this isn’t just a race problem, this is a class problem and a country-to-country problem. (This piece doesn’t even begin to go super in depth into everything that’s discriminatory, i.e. disabilities & book conventions.)


  4. Absolutely agree with all of your points here, especially about how viewers prefer to see hardbacks rather than e-books. Changing the way we look at things and consume book blogging/bookstagramming/booktube content is a great point and I hope it’s something we as a community can achieve!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for reading & I’m glad you enjoyed! I really hope we as a community start tearing down some of the unattainable standards, i.e. hardbacks, and make bookishness more accessible everywhere!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Being an INTL blogger definitely sucks sometimes. Even Netgalley is stricter with who they approve for arcs these days and the only way I’ve ever gotten my hands on physical arcs has been my friend sending her extra ones to me (and I’m lucky to even have that possibility haha)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate the Netgalley changes but I’m really glad you have a friend who sends you ARCs! It’s unfortunate they’ve become such a large part of the community–I wish there was a better way that EVERYONE gets the same opportunity with ARCs.


  6. Can I like, marry this post? Because holy hell, I adore everything about it. I love hardcover books and pics of hardcover books as much as the next person, but the book community’s fixation on owning ALL the new books encourages unhealthy spending habits. It’s why I’m iffy about doing book haul posts and looking at other people’s book haul posts. It feels a little like, “Look at how many books *I* got this month. Bet you can’t beat this number!” I would LOVE to see people posting more pictures of library books and used books.

    Also, with regards to minority bloggers missing out on ARCs, I always die a little inside when I see publishers prioritize handing out books with Asian and LGBTQ rep to white cishet women. But you’re right, publishers are first and foremost running a business, and it’s up to the consumer to say, “Hey, I want to see more content from *these* bloggers.”

    Ugh, I can’t say enough good things about this! Thank you SO, SO much. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! I’m always suspicious when someone in the community goes “OMG I’m so sorry I have to cancel this giveaway to INTL folks because I can’t afford it (or something of the same vein)”, but then they go and buy 5 INTL copies of the same book? I feel like that doesn’t correlate.

      I love the publishers for doing a great job in publishing these books, but I do agree that I wish they gave more effort and a bigger push in getting the ARCs in the hands of people who will read them and relate. But if I were them, my goal would be making money from these books and they unfortunately don’t find the value of #OwnVoices etc. reviews as much. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading, thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You bring up so many great points Vicky! I was just *nodnod* at these sections, especially as I myself just started observing the Bookstagram/BookTube dynamic. It’s always been a struggle with Bookstagram for me personally because I don’t own a lot of props, and I personally can’t post once or more a day (as a full time student), unlike many of the people who dominate the field. It’s really interesting to see the lack of diverse books on that platform too…
    Anyhow, your call for the viewers to take an action really resonated with me. Boosting marginalized voices is something we can’t stop doing, and we gotta keep the momentum going! Thank you so much for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading & I’m glad you enjoyed! It’s definitely hard to pave your way in bookstagram when you’re on a tight budget or work long hours, despite what a lot of “Bookstagram Is Easy!” posts say. And we definitely need to use our platforms more to boost marginalized voices, because these are things that we need to talk about!


  8. Love this Vicky!! I’d never thought about how beauty standards would play into BookTube, but when you put it so clearly it makes a ton of sense. I’m not really into BookTube anyways, luckily 😂 I’ve thought for a long time that bookstagram has disadvantages for basically anyone that’s not a white, stay-at-home mom with nothing to do during the day except blog & read with an expendable income. Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I also think that more white bloggers should work on getting their ARCs into the hands of #OwnVoices readers, so I think I’m going to make that more of a goal of mine. Great post once again! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG yes, I’m so confused sometimes at how these people have the time to maintain their bookstagram! It’s going to be a long time till bookstagram dies, I feel (unless IG randomly breaks down) but I really hope people will try and boost minority voices and less conventional bookstagram accounts!

      and YES! I’m thinking of finding a way to get my ARCs in the right hands–you might want to check out Div Book Bridge on Twitter to see if they’ll take donations!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’d say we should rather try working with things that we already have. Paperbacks/Hardbacks are fine, but I feel most of us read on E-readers/mobiles for most of the time. There’s a niche of common people still addicted to print versions and rest are just influencers, publishers who have made this hype around prints. I’d say there are discrepancies and to avoid those you can start working out with houses which sell and publish in your regions. That’d possibly avoid most of the things that you mentioned in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think what we need to do is to change the standards. By changing the standards, we make it just as acceptable to read a print copy as it is to read a digital copy. Unfortunately, by working with local publishers for INTL folks, most of their local publishers don’t publish in English so they still wouldn’t be able to get the same opportunities. And still, getting hardbacks/paperbacks available in every region will still isolate those with low incomes from the bookish community.


  10. Great post, Vicky! I actually think that minority bloggers do get the attention, but not all of them. Those who do though, get really big because they’re obviously relevant to those groups that are much more prominent online than outside of the internet. It’s stupid of the publishers to not see that though :/ it’s very short-sighted. They forget that smaller influencers with a really focused audience can actually sell more than someone with a lot of people who are anyone and everyone! That’s an actual thing, but people don’t actually think of that. They think big numbers = best result, but it’s not true. Publishers would win themselves in the long run if they gave more books to ownvoices people. I just hope they see that.

    And don’t let me get started on ARCs. It is getting to a point where I’m starting to feel hated and unwanted and I don’t think I’ll be getting ARCs anymore. Because I just keep being muted and ignored on those platforms, which wasn’t the case at all before NetGalley implemented the changes. I now even have a better feedback ratio and much better follows, but they don’t need me. I don’t know how long I’ll still be doing ARCs because it’s just degrading. And no, actually, it doesn’t make sense to not give us e-copies – because often if you get denied and then email and ask, they are happy to give you a copy. So what gives :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s definitely true! There are a couple of minority influencers who have made it big (Naya Reads and Smiles, twirlingpages, etc.), but in comparison to white influencers with the same follower count? They’re only a small percent of the population.

      I wish publishers would help boost smaller-audience influencers (which would also help these influencers grow) by giving them the same resources, but it’s really unfortunate they don’t see the value in smaller voices.

      I’m so sorry you feel isolated because of ARCs! I think this is a really exclusive way of singling out INTL readers, and I truly hope that publishers would be more willing to send out books INTL, or that we make the norm that ARCs aren’t necessary for everyone. I do think their reasoning behind not giving e-copies is valid at times, because eARC piracy is a real thing, but I also think that the risk is small enough that it shouldn’t let them stop them, because the payout from INTL buzz is worth a lot more than the potential for piracy.

      There are a lot of things wrong with the system, but I hope you don’t let it discourage you too much, because a lot of readers & influencers look up to you (I know I do) ❤


  11. This post is amazing!

    I would add access problems for disabled folks (cons, events, readable formats) – who also often don’t have as much disposable income.

    I don’t take part in Twitter chats often because they make my Anxiety flare up (‘have I said the wrong thing?! What if everyone hates me?! I don’t understand what I’m ‘supposed’ to say!’)

    Plus, I live in the UK and struggle to work out international times (thanks to dyscalculia) and dates (just write the month, because we don’t use mm/dd, we use dd/mm, & I’m totally confused,) and if it’s late at night, or even just the evening, I don’t like being on the computer because I have to keep a good sleep schedule or my mental health goes downhill v. quickly.

    Those are just some issues with my specific disabilities – there are many, many, others.

    Plus, I’ve noticed that RT’ing pics of black actresses or same-sex couples kissing (just as two examples) instantly loses me Twitter followers (not that I let that stop me!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I wanted to cap this at 2000 words, but there’s still so much left to say about disability and mental health. You’re points are totally valid, and I think that there are a lot of groups that we are excluding from the community besides low income, INTL, and even POC.

      That Twitter follower thing is a shame, but I do think that it might just be bots or random white dudes and not actual bookish people who unfollow, so try not to fret too much, lovely!


      1. Unfortunately, I use Crowdfire. So I know it’s sometimes people who I thought were pretty cool. I guess it’s better to be rid of them though!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, this post was so great and I agree with ALL of your points!! But I was really nodding my head at your point about #ownvoices books getting in the hand of #ownvoices reviewers because it’s so true! I always hold off reading/reviewing #ownvoices books for that reason because who really wants to hear my opinion about it? Me, a white cis hetero American?? It should be reviewed by the people who can really relate to the content!

    And as a completely broke person who works a 9-5 job, I completely LOVED what you said about bookstagram. Sometimes I see the photos on there and it’s just so crazy. How the heck can I even attempt to compete with THAT. I only started my account for my blog and I purposely keep my aesthetic simple and clean because it’s waaaaaaay easier/cheaper that way. It doesn’t get me followers, but being able to interact with the community is all I really care about.

    Such an amazing post. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely agree! I really hope publishers make a greater effort to approve #OwnVoices reviewers.

      And the socioeconomic side is something a lot of people don’t see, but so many bookworms are incomeless teens etc., so putting that expectation on Instagram is really unfortunate. I’m glad you get something good out of Instagram, though!

      Thanks for reading & I’m glad you enjoyed!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This is such a relevant post! Do you know how many times I got even remotely sad because the majority of women and females have blue eyes? Even in music, songwriters prefer to talk about “your baby blues” than any other eye color and it’s so damn infuriating. This is probably why I loved Hermione so much, because she was the first female character that looked like me: brown hair, brown eyes, terrible teeth (and not the straight, painfully white teeth everyone seems to love).

    I do feel left out as an INTL blogger, but thankfully there are a few publishing houses willing to work with us, as well as authors willing either to ship internationally or that have e-copies available for us. You know, I really do wonder about the piracy thing. Because I honestly doubt it’s just INTL people doing it. Not that I’m pointing fingers at anyone, but I really, really doubt that excluding non-americans from e-copies will drastically reduce piracy.

    Instagram is a hard place to be in. I do it for the love of photography, but it can be disappointing, especially when I put the same time and effort into my account and get minimal following just because I don’t have cool props, popular books and hardcovers. I can’t afford hardcovers, props are not something I’m even willing to spend my money on, and if I want to be me I cannot just follow a trend and go on an on about the same two or three books that are popular at the time I’m posting the photo. That would be dishonest to myself, and I’m sorry if this offends anyone, I’m not willing to do it.

    Twitter chats…don’t get me started on those. Aside from the fact that they happen at ungodly hours for me (my favorite chat starts at 2am for me and lasts until 4 am… I used to be able to do that, now my sleep is way more important lol).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! The white, blue eyed standard for femininity is totally incorrect and I feel like a contributor to that disparity within BookTube.

      I’m glad you’re able to get ARCs through some publishing houses! And I definitely agree that the piracy isn’t just on INTL’s side, but the problem is that publishers would be able to punish any piracy on US’s side, but not in some countries where the laws are different and less strict in terms of digital piracy.

      Instagram definitely has such a strong emphasis on items that are generally unattainable, like the latest books and fancy props. We need to let the norm be all books, not just new ones. And I wish Twitter chats had varying times to be more inclusive for INTL bookworms :/

      Thanks for reading & I’m glad you enjoyed!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Since starting to attempt to work with bookstagram, I’ve definitely noticed a lot of these things. I don’t have a high-paying job, so I don’t have a lot of money to spend on things I’d of course like to have to make more interesting and “gram worthy” photos like props and good lighting and a camera other than my phone. Because I’m a YA librarian I can get ARCs that I want for the most part, but I don’t buy books a lot and I don’t have the space in my small apartment too keep hundreds of books that most bookstagrammers seem to have. I really like the idea of bookstagram, but I honestly haven’t figured out how to do it yet when I feel like I’m at such an economical disadvantage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it seems like a very niche activity with a very large audience, unfortunately. I wish we’d change the norms a little so things like props aren’t required. I’m glad you enjoyed the post–thanks for reading!


  15. Vicky,
    Oh my goodness, yes! This post is pure gold! Another blogger linked to it, and, dude, you have a follower for life. I love how carefully you have approached this topic because our community doesn’t really highlight privilege often enough.

    As someone who has mental illness and cannot work, I am finding elements of the book blogging community to be really not inclusive. Like you said, I can’t afford new hardbacks. I tend to buy them used or have to wait a while until I can buy them. Still, I am trying to disengage from this narrative of who a book blogger can be and what their resources should look like.

    Again, it’s lovely to meet you with such a powerful post.
    You’re doing great things, dude.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww oh my gosh, thank you! You are so sweet and I’m glad you enjoyed my take on the book communities’ issues.

      I feel like some of the bookish norms or buzz things (i.e. hardbacks) are unattainable and isolate those that can’t afford it. I love (good condition) used books and most of the time I can’t tell the difference (esp. when the brand new book is ruined in shipping anyways). But it’s awesome you’re trying to disengage from the hardcover norm, which is what we all really need to be doing.

      It’s very lovely to meet you to–have I mentioned you’re the absolute best?!


    1. Aww, thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed–thanks for reading! This is such an important topic that we should all be thinking more about.


  16. Thank you so much for this! Sometimes I keep thinking about how privileged popular booktubers and bloggers are. Like, I can’t imagine owning 5 copies of one book. I’m honestly amazed and I feel the pressure to get more “aesthetically pleasing” editions of books. Those aren’t easy to get in the Philippines. Also, I review plenty of self-pubbed authors and it sometimes I feel pressured to review newer, more popular books. Ebooks aren’t exactly popular on bookstagram.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the pressure is immense to follow the white upper class American trends, even though it’s not feasible for a large portion of the book community. I wish we would change the norms to allow for things like non-buzz books and non-hardcovers to find a bigger place in the book community.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post and I am nodding along with a lot of your points here 🙂
    I’m lucky in being a British blogger that I can get plenty of eARCs from the UK version of NetGalley as well as directly from British publishers. I think it’s because I tend to request niche globally authored books rather than the latest YA sensations though! I feel that the book blogging community is bigger than any one nation and it’s important for us to promote ownvoices books from everywhere.

    My phone is waay too old to cope with IG so I’m not there at all, but have seen lovely blog pics featuring book covers on ereaders or using library editions of books. Perhaps if, as book bloggers, we showed as much love to these types of pics then they would become as valuable for promotion as the glossy hardback images. Personally I prefer to see a well-read copy of a book than a shiny cover which might never even get opened!

    Thanks for such a thought-provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree with your point about book covers on phones & ereaders. I wish we could make those types of pics more normalized so we could make the standards less “upper class”

      I also agree that we should promote #OwnVoices reviews from everywhere, yet the blogging community is so buzz dominated that it’s hard for that to happen, which is one of the reasons why we need change so much!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for reading!


  18. Really realy enjoyed your post on this topic! I love how you are able to see where responsibility falls on the publishers and where it falls on the consumers of bookish content – It’s really up to us to give marginalized/international bloggers, BookTubers, and bookstagrammers the support they need to grow their platform!! Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you so much for reading & I’m glad you enjoyed! I feel like it’s just that people put a lot of responsibility on thee publishers, but realistically, if I was in their position of selling books, I’d keep doing what the market is showing works well, which right now is big numbers. We consumers really need to step up and do better in promoting the excluded groups, which will in turn urge the publishers to follow along.


  19. High five to you for writing this post, Vicky! Thank you for using your platform to help bring more awareness to the viewers.

    With regards to bookstagram, I’m lucky enough to have an old camera to use! And some Photoshop tricks to make my photographs pleasing. Even so, it is a BIG struggle trying to fit in to the crowd, to be relatable. I don’t have a lot of hardcovers, or books, for that matter. So I used to get quite jealous of popular bookstagrams and booktubers. People often choose aesthetics over content which makes it so much harder for us to get ARCs and even join rep searches! I’ve come to a point where I now just don’t care.

    I can’t constantly keep up with the trend when I was studying, and my mental illness is one I prioritize over content creating. Behaving in such a way, has made me more at ease with my bookstagram progress tbh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I’m glad you’re at a point where you’re not agonizing over bookstagram! It’s really great that you’re prioritizing your mental health, and bookstagram doesn’t need to be one of those POST TWICE A DAY KEEP YOUR AESTHETIC THE SAME ALKSJDF kind of thing.

      Thanks for reading!


  20. I love this post so much! I am a teenage middle class Indian book blogger. Yeah that one line itself will let you know how much of a disadvantage I am at. Not only am I not able to earn for myself but my family income is mediocre too so I have to learn to use every bit of my resources to the fullest. An you so beautifully explained the whole time zone and ARC stuff, it was spot on! So just thank you for this post ☺️

    It makes me happy to know a few Americans do really understand what we go through.

    Love, Charvi 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This is such a fantastic post ❤ I could completely relate, and it can be sooo frustrating to see so many diverse and wonderful arcs constantly be handed out to white Youtubers/bloggers– even HUGE BOXES that include 10+ arcs!! (I'm Chinese and I live in the USA).

    There's one specific example where there's this arc that I'm an #ownvoices reviewer of that I REALLY want & I requested it but honestly? The arcs will most likely go to popular white bloggers instead because :/ of course!!

    One thing that I really love about our community is how so many people have been trying to get their arcs into the hands of the marginalized reviewers, such as diverse book bridge or #givearcstoteens by the wonderful Mars!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, I really hope you’ll be able to get your hands on that #ownvoices ARC!

      #givearcstoteens and Div Book Bridge are both really awesome programs and I’m so glad people are doing things like it! Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I’m in the US, white-passing (I’m native). But I do so relate to a lot of things things. What are #ownvoices reviewers? I didn’t even know that was a thing.

    I’m not a book blogger—I’m a lifestyle blogger—but one of the things I’m actually interested in is finding ways to help the book blogging community gain respect they deserve from publishing companies and all that jazz, so this topic definitely interests me. Regarding chats…I am one of those peoples who stay up late! Heh. It’s actually what’s deterred me from creating a Twitter chat, since I assumed most people wouldn’t be able to partake in it, but now I’m reconsidering that stance. I just…heh, I don’t want to host anything like that myself. I’m not shy, I’m just…reticent.

    Anyway, I do think this is definitely a great discussion that needs to be had! I realized some things I hadn’t even considered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. #OwnVoices is when a reviewer is of a certain cultural group that is represented in the novel. i.e. i’m South East Asian so reading The Bone Witch with SEA rep means i’m an #OwnVoices reviewer for that book.

      you should definitely try a chat! I bet there are a bunch of people in your timezone or near your timezone that would be able to participate! bookworms & bloggers are worldwide ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Awesome discussion Vicky. So much to think a bout. I’ll add another disparity to your awesome list: Age. The viewers favor youth at all level. YA books, Young characters, Young authors, young book bloggers. I love that the point of your post is WE the consumers have the power to change the trends SO TRUE!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I definitely think age is a huge factor–ageism with authors etc.

      It’s actually weird because most of the “big” influencers are all adults. Most teenagers don’t have huge platforms (especially because most aren’t self reliant and teens usually don’t make a steady income so they can’t buy a bunch of books or go to a lot of cons), adults do. But then after adults get to a certain age, they start to not be supported as well.

      It sucks because young adult fiction is specifically geared towards teenagers (13-18) yet it’s people in their 20s & 30s who are oftentimes the most successful in the industry, both in book promoting and in writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Hi, first off thanks for submitting this post to the showcase. I’m this month’s host and while I do write reviews for books as well I have a multitopic blog myself (meaning I just have way too many hobbies reading books being one of them lol)
    Seriously though, as I am not only a book blogger I am not as familiar with this subject as youare, but wow I do really think this truly is a big problem indeed. I think in the end it all comes down to just giving respect to people. The world has changed quite a lot these past decades, and I think people should just accept certain things. I love reading my books in the old fashioned way and do like my hardcovers. But does that mean that in any way I would condemn someone who reads e-books ? Hell no.
    If only people would respect other’s more, the world would be so much better. But luckily not everyone is the same. And a post like this adressing these kinds of problems, especially the racism issues just shows that there is still enough to learn. Great post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh! I haven’t submitted anything (perhaps someone else submitted?), but thanks!

      and I agree that respect will definitely help a lot of the tensions in our community. thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. haha, this is the second time today that someone says that lol 😂 I’m really getting the feeling that the tag everyone of you received on twitter has been lost of it’s original meaning 😊 You have been tagged (and it’s quite understandable that you maybe didn’t notice as the number of people that were tagged is now huge) for the Jon’s Creator Showcase. It’s a monthly event hosted by a different blogger every month, (this month it’s my turn). At the end of the month a post collects some of the submissions that were entered and features them.😊 If you trace it back on Twitter you will find the original tag 😀
        But as I said it’s okay. I really enjoyed reading your post, that’s for sure 😀😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ohhhh that makes so much more sense! it’s a huge tag (I keep getting notifications for it with new posts!) and thank you! i’ll definitely go back and take a closer peek 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  25. My god this post is fantastic.

    I’ve had this bookmarked to read for weeks and I’m so sorry that it took me so long to get round to reading it.

    There’s so much truth in this and honestly as I have started blogging more, I feel less inclined to watch booktubers as I do fall into the trap of wanting a high quality production where that’s a privilege for high class/high-middle income booktubers compared to bloggers where, no matter what your income, you can write well and have a nice looking blog. I’ve also found WAY more #ownvoices on the blogging sphere – from ethnic minorities to queer bloggers and I try to look out for them here. (On a somewhat unrelated note for fashion/beauty videos on youtube it’s so hard to find someone who is British and Asian that I have more or less given up…) We as readers do need to do better and support each other and I’m so glad you’re using your platform for good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I so agree, Arub. It’s crazy how skewed the community is for upper/middle class booktubers with the ability to make good, high quality productions, and a lot of these people who can do that are white and don’t lend a lot of #OV insight.

      Thank you for all the thought you put into this! ❤ So glad you enjoyed!

      Liked by 1 person

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