Bookblogger guilt

bookshelves
One of the many tsundoku in my house

Look at this photo and tell me what you see.

Well, yes, books. Obviously there are books. Lots of books.

But I look at this and see something else.

Guilt.

As a book blogger I’m hugely fortunate enough to be sent books to review from publishers. And I’m grateful for every single one of them, believe me. But some days I feel a creeping sense of guilt about those books.

Each one is a microcosm of an author’s hard work, months (if not years) of hard effort, rejections upon rejections until the joy of getting a book deal. Then there’s the work of the editors, proofreaders, cover designers, publishers and PR folk who send these books out into the wild.

Then they land on my shelf. Sometimes they’ve been preceded with an email asking if I’d like to take a look at the book. Sometimes they turn up unannounced, in large brown padded envelopes addressed to “Dave Espresso Coco”, with a press release tucked in the the pages. Occasionally they turn up with little tchotchkes, gift wrapped in fancy string or ribbon, with chocolate or, in a couple of instances, little miniatures of booze (I like those ones!)

But there are also the other books on those shelves. Books that I’ve bought myself, bought despite knowing exactly how big my TBR pile is, books that I’ve thought sound too fabulous to resist, or by authors whose earlier books I’ve read and loved, but now their books sit nestled amongst the others, vying for my attention at the point where I finish a book and sit back to ponder what’s next?

What will catch my eye? Will it be the book that I agreed to read three months ago for the blog tour that’s due next week (*cough* two days’ time)? Will it be the book that turned up yesterday that just looks *so* good? Will it be one of the many, many bought books? Or one which sounded so interesting from the PR’s excited email that I just couldn’t resist saying yes to?

I look at these shelves every time I go up and down the stairs. I look at the set of shelves next to this one, which is similarly stacked high with books. Or the pile of books on the dining room table that arrived this week.

And that’s not counting the virtual pile of books on my kindle, or the NetGalley copies which, despite my self-imposed NetGalley ban in an effort to get my read/reviewed ratio up, seem to be breeding.

So many books. So little time.

So much guilt.

I’ve started to say no to some of the blog tours – reading to order and to deadline was starting to add unnecessary stress, especially after hitting a couple of books which didn’t really do it for me. I should probably start saying no to more of the ‘Dear blogger, would you be interested in [AWESOME BOOK]?’

And I will get to these books, eventually.

Honest.

Anyone else suffer from blogger’s guilt?

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

29 thoughts on “Bookblogger guilt”

  1. I also have a TBR pile that will never be conquered, but I don’t feel guilty about it. I love books, I love reading and I love having a choice of what to read next. Great post!

      1. Absolutely, I have the guilt. The worst thing for me is I say yes to review books expecting that I will be able to read them in time and then run out of time. Makes me feel very bad 😦

  2. Yes, I do suffer from that guilt and I have replied back to publishers when I feel that a book they are offering is not to my taste. I have oodles of books I have bought before I began blogging. I think I may stop saying yes as much to blog tours.

    This is mainly due to the fact I have changed jobs very recently and it has resulted in me being so very tired at the end of the day.

    We really should start a support group

    1. I get to the end of the day and it’s a choice between trying to read a bit more of the blog tour book, writing up reviews, or slumping in front of the tv until I fall asleep.

  3. Oh yeah, all the time. But I’ve been blogging for almost 8 years so I’ve mostly gotten past the guilty stage and I’ve entered the “I’m just doing the best I can” stage. You just can’t go through life with so much guilt!

    1. This thursday I’ll hit my 16 year blogging anniversary, though not all of that has been a bookblogger! I’m also well entrenched in the ‘doing my best’ stage and hoping that the people who send me books don’t notice and stop!

  4. Mine are easier to ignore – they’re mostly on the Kindle xD as an international, I almost don’t get print copies. Well, maybe once or twice a year. And I get invited for ecopies less as well. I don’t know, maybe that’s a good thing xD xD but I still totally know the guilt. Like when you fail to read it, or worse – when they’ve actually sent you a print copy, and then you hated the book (worst feeling ever, I swear.)

    I rarely agree to blog tours though. They’re way too stressful. At least with NetGalley copies you can pick your own date and it doesn’t have to be ONE particular day.

    Anyway! I didn’t know I wasn’t following your blog! That has been rectified 😀

    1. Oh, the kindle TBR pile is frankly ridiculous. I’m a sucker for a kindle bargain ‘just in case’. I wonder how much I’ve spent on ‘bargains’ I’ve not read.
      Actually, I suspect I’d rather not know!
      It’s rare I’ve been sent a book that I didn’t like, though I’ve had a couple which have been not entirely worth the hype! I’m also pretty good at weeding out the ones which I don’t think I’ll get on with, though that does add extra guilt at not even trying. I wonder about emailing the PR person…

      And welcome to the blog! 🙂

  5. Yes guilt – and frustration that I don’t have as much reading time as I would like to get to them all.. I’m accepting less blog tour requests and offers of review copies and just trying to muddle through although I haven’t stopped buying! I love your tidy bookshelves by the way, mine have books in every available space!

    1. Ha! they’re only tidy because we bought some more recently and had a huge purge. There’s another set exactly the same next to it. And the ones in the bedroom, dining room, lounge…

    1. Mine are scattered across multiple shelves – I reckon those bookshelves are about a third purchased, a third read and a third to review.

  6. So much guilt! I was just thinking earlier today that I might have to set a month aside later this year where I turn down all requests and just catch up on my tbr pile a bit. Your pic has reminded me that I STILL haven’t read Gnomon despite pre-ordering it so I received it on publication day!

  7. Just wondering… did you AGREE to accept all these books or did they send them to you without contacting you first? Because if you didn’t agree to read and review the book, then you shouldn’t be guilty of not reading or reviewing them!

    1. I agreed to some of them, and bought a lot of others. Some of the guilt is about not having time to read the books that I’ve bought myself! Guilt may be a bit of a strong word…

  8. I feel exactly the same. Some of the books sitting on my shelf have been waiting there for more than two years. I keep trying to put a ban on buying any more books but it never works.

  9. A little bit. I’ve got a lot of outstanding ARCs and I get overwhelmed but never learn. I feel better having read this post. I only have books I’ve agreed to read and it’s a much smaller amount. So your guilt has eased mine? Sorry 🙊 but I get it, there’s not much time to read and if people are just sending you books you didn’t ask for don’t feel guilty.

  10. Guilt!
    I was brought up by an Irish Catholic woman -guilt is part of my make up!!!
    However, it’s better to feel guilty about books than about numerous other things

    Love this xx

  11. I found myself under a huge, unnecessary, amount of pressure towards the end of last year, feeling that I needed to read books by a certain date. I’ve taken back control this year, and greatly reduced the number of ARCs I request, and the number of blog tours I agree to. It’s helped massively, and I feel much more comfortable about blogging. Now I just need to get through the books I’ve bought as well…

  12. I feel guilty about this sort of thing so easily that I specifically avoid requesting any ARCs and have turned down the few that have reached out to me. I just know it’s something that will take pleasure away from the hobby for me. I definitely still buy books, but I feel less guilty about those (and donate a pile every now and then if they’re haunted me…).

  13. I suffer from blogger’s guilt pretty much 24/7. I know that I’m not unique in saying that my TBR just keeps growing and growing and it makes it so stressful to take on new reviews and make new promises. I have told myself that I need to exercise more willpower but when I see a shiny new cover on Twitter or Netgalley, it is just so hard to resist as a person who lives and breathes books. So it’s natural to feel this way. And in a perfect world we would all get our reviews done on time and only request what we can handle. But I’m a flawed person and can’t really control it. That being said I really do try y hardest to keep my reading worload manageable and plow through my TBR as diligently as I can.

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