Can You Be a Booktuber if You Only Read eBooks?

This idea came to me when I was chatting to someone on twitter. She was super excited when I posted a BEA haul video because I was “vlogging now”. But I replied saying I probably wouldn’t do many more—if any—videos.

Are book haul videos still interesting if you don’t have a physical book to show?

I only read ebooks (except when I go to BEA and get like 20 physical ARCs). I don’t buy physical books at all anymore and I only get eARCs from publishers. I’ve always loved the idea of filming book haul videos, but I always felt like I couldn’t do that with ebooks. It’s fun to sit there with a huge pile of physical books and hold them up one by one. It’s not so fun to hold up a Kindle with a black and white cover that’s typography only (usually no cover art other than the title).

Videos are all about visuals, and I just feel like holding up an eBook cover (or pasting one into the video) isn’t as exciting and visual as physical books.

The same can be said for reviews

This also goes for review videos. If you read physical books, you can hold up the book while you chat about it and flip through the pages. But if you have an eBook, you don’t have any visuals to show off as part of the video. There’s no book to hold up—just a Kindle with stripped down, black and white cover art.

Even if you paste the book covers into the video, is it still as exciting as holding a physical book? I think part of the fun of video hauls is seeing a physical copy of the book in a video.

I LOVE ebooks, but I don’t think they’re as interesting in vlogs. What do you think?

Do you still watch book vlogs if the vlogger doesn’t have physical books to show off?

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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35 comments

  1. I think it really depends on the booktuber and what their goal is in the video. A book haul using a Kindle? Not very interesting. Fangirling or reviewing a book that you read off a Kindle? A lot more interesting! I think it really just depends on the content of the video and how the person gets it across, but if you were just scrolling through your Kindle screen to show/talk about books, that’d be really weird!

  2. Haha ! I have the same problem. (well, if you call it a problem) But I only read eBooks and yes I do prefer reading eBooks. So I tried a while back holding up my iPad with the cover, but .. I’m not sure that works so well. Same goes for Reviews. I also wanted to start again doing videos, but I have the same issue and only have eBooks..

    I agree it#s not the same, but might it not work in the end after all? Looking forward to this discussion!

    1. Yes I totally agree!

      I guess in order to make it work you really need to have a larger than life personality.

    1. Yeah I certainly have no problem with people posting ebook haul videos. More power to them! I just don’t think it interests me personally as much. 🙁 My attention span is already quite short, even with physical book hauls. 😛

  3. It depends on how they do it. What if they tell you about the books they get and have a picture of the book that they got on ebook? I know I have seen some vlogs before were they talked about a book and then flashed a picture, but most book haul vlogs do contain physical books. I just think it might be how you present it.

    Stormi recently posted: Review of Free to Fall
    1. Yeah flashing the picture is okay. I still think it’s bit less exciting than holding an actual, physical book though. But I think you’re right in that it’s better than showing the book on a Kindle.

  4. I very rarely view vlogs unless it’s posted on an author’s site or it’s something specific that someone wanted me to check out. However, I do remember viewing The Story Siren’s vlogs weekly and they were fun and Kristy always had physical books (I’m gonna miss her). I read both ebooks and physical books and I really hate it when the ebook doesn’t have the cover. So, yeah, I would find it boring to view if they didn’t have the physical books I think, but if they had the picture of the book like you demonstrated, that might not be too bad.

    Carrie recently posted: Does Your Significant Other Read?
    1. I’m exactly the same. I don’t really watch vlogs at all… but I think that’s just because I don’t watch videos in general. Some people browse YouTube like others browse Twitter.. but that’s not me. I NEVER go on YouTube and never watch videos! (except movies 😛 )

      But The Story Siren’s video hauls were some of the first I’d ever seen! That was when ARCs were brand new to me (just before I became a book blogger) and I always thought it was fun to see the ARCs in a video. It was like a first glimpse of the real book!

  5. I’ve seen booktubers flashing the cover on screen while they’re talking and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest, yes it can be nice to see the actual cover (and depth) of the book but a booktuber’s personality will make the difference to me, not what props they have for the haul or review…. haul videos with physical books are pretty entertaining though when the ‘tuber tries to hold like 30 books up for the thumbnail shot. I’m kinda sad to hear you only read ebooks now though! Is that a preference thing or a space/travel issue??

    R x

    1. It started as a space/travel issue. I just don’t have room to store any physical books I buy, so I end up having to get rid of huge amounts of books every few weeks/months anyway. eBooks just make more sense for me.

      But after a while I’ve actually come to prefer them.

  6. I don’t actually watch vlogs at all, but I think that if it was a book haul I’d be way more interested if there were physical books so I can see them. As for a review, either a real book or an ebook would be ok, but like I said I like seeing the cover. Even having it printed out on a piece of paper would be good for me if I ever watched them lol.

    Kelsey recently posted: Review: Pride by Rachel Vincent
  7. I think you can be a BookTuber if you exclusively read ebooks.

    Holding a physical book in your hands can be distracting for me. I’ve noticed lots of fidgeting when people are holding books. They switch hands, they look at the book, they flip through the book – all of which can be distracting because I’m watching that person juggling a book while trying to talk. That can make it take much longer for the BookTuber to get their point across. And for me, short and sweet vlogs are best for my short attention span. As someone who watches booktube videos, I much prefer when the book cover is edited into the video as an image.

  8. Interesting question! I have to say, I don’t watch many booktubers because of the noise factor. A lot of times I read blogs on the go, places that I’d have to pull out my headphones to listen. I was able to watch your video just now though and I definitely agree with you – a physical book to hold does make a HUGE difference! I was thinking you could show the cover image – but then you did that and I thought, “wow, that really ISN’T near as interesting as the physical book.” The only way I think it could be interesting is if the booktuber is seriously excited/upset about a book. There’s only so much emotion that comes across via text – and that often takes a particularly good writer. So a video probably could do a lot better, eBook or not, in that context.

    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted: Top Off Tuesday | Renegade Lady
  9. I don’t typically watch book vlogs because I find it much easier to concentrate if I’m reading an actual post (surprisingly!), and because I can always just scroll back up to read a certain paragraph instead of scrubbing here and there on the video to find a certain part, so it’s much easier to write comments on written posts than on vlogs, imo. And sometimes I just feel so intimidated and detached from people making vlogs — especially those with huge followings, like Ariel Bissett or Little Book Owl. But you raise a good point! I have to admit that I’d definitely find it a lot more boring if all the books you had to show were e-books on a Kindle. Maybe if you used an iPad, which shows full-color covers, it would be more interesting, but then again, you can’t flip pages on an iPad like you can do on a physical copy so it would be kind of awkward to just be holding a heavy device in your hand and wave it around while talking to the screen.

    As for reviews, I generally find them boring on vlogs. Unless the vlogger does something interesting or cool, or cracks a lot of jokes (which doesn’t happen often; at least, not in the review videos I’ve watched) — it gets boring just hearing a person talk. I’d much rather read! So I’m more of a blog than a vlog person… which makes my comment biased, but whatever. 😛

    Megan (Adrift on Vulcan) recently posted: Author Alert: Corinne Duyvis (Otherbound) + Giveaway
    1. I totally agree! I think I have a short attention span and I’m not usually interested in watching a long video. I even get impatient with the 2-3 minute ones. At least I can skim textual reviews if I don’t want to read the whole thing carefully. 😛

  10. You can totally make good videos without the physical books. Most vloggers I watched just use the book as a prop that they wave and shake mercilessly while talking…
    Actually, it might be beneficial to not have the physical book. You’ll have to work on your content and on your body language. It will prevent you from using cheap trick or do as once I saw: a guy who would actually describe how the physical book LOOKED nice for 10min without talking about the content. -_-‘

    Angélique recently posted: Deadroads by Robin Riopelle
  11. I actually watched my first booktuber video recently (as a reader of books, i personally much prefer to read reviews of books, also). So, i don’t know what they are usually like, but in the one i watched, there was no book (or e-reader) in sight. It was the person and what they had to say that kept me watching. So, i think in theory it’s entirely possibly to be a booktuber with only ebooks.

  12. Great discussion, Ashley! I love watching booktubers because one thing is that I like seeing their book hauls of physical books but for e-books I tend to get bored easily because like you said, it’s about the visual. I just get more excited to watch a video if it’s about physical books but if it’s just e-books then I tend to ‘X’ out of the video unless she/he is my favorite booktuber, then I’d watch any of her/his video.

  13. I see what you’re saying, but, honestly, if you had a very basic video editing program that allowed you to add book cover images wouldn’t be all that different from physically holding up a cover. The only thing I really see it affecting is that then the person being recorded doesn’t have anything to do with his/her hands (and may feel more awkward). I watch book haul videos to hear what a person has to say about the books, not to see physical copies of said books, and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that way.

    Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books recently posted: Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR list
  14. I’m sure you could figure out a creative way to add visuals, but honestly I don’t like watching vlogs. I usually don’t have a lot of free time, so I like being able to get my daily dose of blog posts within about 40 minutes. Plus, it’s hard for me to stay focused on a YouTube video for more than 2 minutes. I like being able to quickly read/skim blog posts.

    Dana @ The Nerdy Journalist recently posted: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  15. You already know my opinion! I really don’t mind watching ebook hauls or hauls with physical books, but I do like it when people show the cover somewhere in the screen. It makes the ebook more.. real and I often recognize books by the cover. You could always do one haul to try out how people like it 🙂

    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted: Top 10 Tuesday 33. Summer TBR pile.
  16. Another ebook only person! Yay! I love having my entire library with me all the time. It’s so comforting and enables the hoarding tendencies that I’ve crushed in myself over the years.

    For whatever reason, I’ve never gotten into vlogs, but I would tend to agree with you. It’s fun to see the pretty books “out in the wild.” I think you could do a split screen effect though and put the cover in one part of the screen while you talk about it. If you wanted to feature quotes, you could take pictures of them or type them out for display. I still think there’s a ton of stuff you could do even if you’re not holding the physical book, especially if you like doing review videos or haul videos or whatever. 🙂

  17. I’ve often thought this myself mainly because I’m a cover whore. 😉 I enjoy watching people showing off their physical books a lot more than ebooks. I’m not sure what it is but it’s true. I prefer to read ebooks but love the look of a physical book. It doesn’t help that more often than not an ebook “cover” is just the title in some block text.

    If a Booktuber is charismatic enough, I don’t think it matters what they use. At that point I’m watching them for the Booktuber themselves. Excellent post!

    Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter recently posted: Discussion: My Dirty Little Secret
  18. Lol.. Just started a booktube channel myself and I have the exact same problem. Add to that I am a complete novice at editing videos and we have absolute mayhem. I would think that putting up book cover pictures instead of holding up my poor battered kindle is a better choice anyday!!

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