Should Book “Influencers” Be Paid For Their Work???

Hi friends! I figured I’d pull out a hotly debated, widely controversial topic today:

whether booktubers, bloggers, bookstagrammers, ect…should be paid for their work.

Let the tea spilling begin!

First of all, I’m pretty sure everyone can agree that there should be no such thing as a paid review. I’ve never heard of a case where this has happened but it’s safe to disclose that before moving on.

Reasons why book influencers should be paid:

1: They work really, really hard.

Ask your favorite booktuber how many hours they spend planning and filming and editing and uploading and responding to comments, then finally getting a chance to sit down to read. Chances are, it amounts to around a part-time job or slightly less. Yet, all that time spent working? It’s completely unpaid. Bloggers have to run their blogs and usually other social media accounts, taking forever. Bookstagrammers spend hours setting up and taking photos and dealing with the unruly habits of the weather*, and many will hardly ever see a single dime.

*i swear the weather hates us all tbh

2: Other influencers get paid.

I’m not even going to start on the beauty community but look at the travel one! Food! Parenting! Many people don’t simply get free products, they get paid to send out a single tweet or Instagram post. Of course, they all work extremely hard too: the social media world is cutthroat. However, they put in just as much time as book influencers and yet they come away with more money in their pockets. Is it fair?

It’s not the same for smaller accounts and larger ones.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that larger accounts necessarily work harder or “deserve more”. But, it can often seem unfair to a person who’s giving hours upon hours working to build up a following over social media, simply to see smaller accounts receive the same book. I’m not saying that that’s bad, just that the lines between bigger and smaller are often so blurred that I’ve seen people get discouraged because they feel that what they do doesn’t matter. And that is the real problem.

So clearly, there are multiple reasons why book influencers should get paid. But here’s the thing: they can’t.

this has nothing to do with anything I just wanted to grace everyone’s eyes with Andy Dwyer

You see, paid reviews are simply immoral. But what other opportunities exist for us, besides ads and affiliate links??? Not many. You could argue that being paid to to tweet on a book’s release date could work, or constantly promoting a certain publisher’s novels. But many will do that for free! There’s not very much that isn’t done by this commuinity out of the goodness of their hearts, simply to support authors.

But is the lack of pay all bad???

Not entirely. This whole community is so loving and honest, partly because it’s not corrupted by money. There’s almost no reason to sugarcoat anything, even if you do get a book for free. I think it adds a unique feel to us, because we do so much out of pure love and honesty. While I do think that sometimes book influencers deserve more, it’s also a mark of this community that they don’t.

So that’s it! Sorry this was so long, I guess I had a lot of thoughts. But tell me yours! What’s your two-cents on the subject???

32 thoughts on “Should Book “Influencers” Be Paid For Their Work???

  1. It’s a tough line to walk. One way I’ve seen book bloggers get paid is for an author/publisher to pay $x for their book to be bumped to the top of a blogger’s TBR pile and a review posted in 2-3 weeks (or whatever time period). They aren’t paying for a good or bad review (honesty is still key here), they’re just paying for a quick turn around time on a review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree with you! On the one side, bloggers and all “influencers” that talk or write about books put so much time and effort into her work… even I spend up to an hour on a post (I don’t want to get paid tho)… but on the other hand, you’re totally right! What makes this community special is that we praise certain books because we’re passionate about them and not because somebody is paying us! I love this sort of post btw 😍😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The beauty and travel industries are worth billions. You could argue that the publishing industry is too but the people that create the artistry behind it, in the vast majority of cases, barely make minimum wage and that can taken thousands of
    Book sales to achieve. Why should I get paid for reading and writing a review or advertising?

    If you think I’m terms of scale, billions of people would buy shampoo or lipstick, a far smaller percentage would buy a book. And who am I influencing really? Very few people other than the authors and bloggers who are already reading all the same Books anyway.

    Nope. Paid for bookish anything, unless you are organising a marketing tour, is not the way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that there is a bit of stigma about the right or wrong answer on this topic; I think that in some cases you can assume that the product you are being sent is compensation enough (eg a book which makes me happy because I love books!) but then other industries will pay hundreds for a negative review? I don’t really understand that.

    I think that marketing tours, though, is a completely different story! Perhaps some middle ground would be for influencers to get a discount? But then you have to ask if people are becoming influencers for the right reasons?

    Personally, I don’t mind not being paid. I really enjoy blogging and I am worried if I got paid it would become more of a job than a hobby. Although setting up affiliate links sounds like a good idea!
    -Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a really timely post to stumble across as I was just considering the same thing.
    I was browsing some different sites that allow you to list as a blogger, but also to distribute the books of authors to these bloggers. BookSirens is a good example.
    What I find most interesting is that they are very clear, adamant in fact, that the book reviewers listed do not get paid for their reviews. They seem proud to advertise it.
    But they charge authors/publicists a set fee for listing (fair enough) and then an additional $2 per review.
    In this business model, they’re making $2 for every book review published by someone that sees none of that profit. Is that fair?
    Book reviewers are the product being sold, and they’re not compensated for it in the slightest.

    I have no issue with reviewing for free in general, it does allow a certain honesty and integrity, but I balk at the idea of someone else making a profit off the review. That seems completely unfair.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Time is money but this is a labor of passion. I actually think the question could also be phrased… does the publishing industry have the capital to pay for reviews? I’d say not… with Amazon constantly squeezing them to sell books for under value and all the other ways people don’t pay to read books… the capital for most books just isn’t there. ❤️ Great points Kaya!! I enjoyed this!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t think there is the money within publishing to pay influencers for anything… Or if there is I guarantee it’d be somehow deducted from the authors (who in the vast majority of cases are the ones who can’t afford it) and I’d hate that.

    I don’t blog for money (obviously, I’m a book blogger, lol) but I do think it kinda sucks that we can put just as much effort (in some cases much more) into creating our content and we get nothing but love and satisfaction from it where other blogger types can earn a pretty penny. *shrugs* I have no suggestions on how this could be different though.


  8. I loved this discussion! I think you’re right. I don’t think anyone should ever be paid to review a book, and that a lot of paid opportunities can lead to impartial views about certain books. I do still wish that there was some way to have the best of both worlds, and have book bloggers, bookstagrammers, and booktubers paid for all the hard work they dedicate in marketing books they love!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hmm, this is an interesting topic. On the one hand, yes, we all work hard! Maintaining my blog so I can keep gaining followers and reach takes a ton of time commitment, I probably spend at least 20 hours a week on blog related stuff, and that doesn’t even take into account the actual time I spend reading. It *is* a job, in a lot of ways, even though it’s just a fun hobby. Why shouldn’t we be compensated the way other influences are? It’s an interesting thought.

    That being said, I don’t think ANY influencers should be ‘paid’. Maybe sent free stuff for review, but paid? At that point you’re just a commercial imo. Money can murky the waters and how are we supposed to trust that someone genuinely is endorsing something or if they’re just doing it because they get paid to say they love something but it’s actually terrible? Look at that whole firefest fiasco.

    I’m okay with getting free books once in a while, I think that’s compensation of a sort without muddying the waters too much. I also don’t want to treat my blog like a space for people to advertise–it’s my space! This is why I generally don’t do interviews or participate in blog tours. Sometimes you can get cool stuff from those things, but I’m okay with missing out I guess. I think it all depends what your goal as a blogger is, really, at the end of the day.

    Great post, Kaya!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve always considered ARCs or other books as my payment. Do you know how much money I save that way?? 🤣 I do get paid for expedited reviews, because they have deadlines and get priority. These are through the publications I work for review-wise. Let me tell you, despite the co-ordinator stressing the reviews will be honest and thorough, we get authors (and sometimes publicists) who get so upset if an expedited review is 3* or less. I have an author whose books I will not review any longer because they said I ‘clearly hadn’t read the book’. Pretty sure what tee’d them off was that I politely disagreed with the synopsis comparison to Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. There were also inconsistencies with the development of a character as a serial killer, which I pointed out. *shrugs* Forensics is a love of mine. It was almost my career.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s such an interesting perspective! And that’s terrible, sometimes people have got to learn constructive criticism. I also like forensics, actually! Do you have any books that you think are good with forensics involved?


  11. The Dexter series by Jeff Lindsey. Some of the CSI books. Those forensics are good in all, actually. It’s just the timeframe 🤣🤣 nothing’s that fast. American Psycho. Sherlock and pastiches, remembering the historical era. The actual forensic anthropology in Kathy Reich’s books. Like CSI, though, there are embellishments. Course, that’s what fiction is for, yeah? Kinda like Indiana Jones to archaeology. 😆

    John Douglas and Robert Ressler have very engaging nonfiction books focusing on cases they’ve worked. Those are forensic psychology books. Bass and Maples both have equiv books for forensic anthropology.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dexter is awesome and I highly recommend Douglas/ Ressler & Bass/Maples. Whoever Fights Monsters and Dead Men Do Tell Tales are excellent. Oh, also, The Bone Lady is another forensic anthropology book that’s good. Hope you enjoy them!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m of the opinion that while book bloggers (booktubers, boostagrammers, etc) shouldn’t be paid directly for their reviews, I see absolutely no harm in fan contributions that can help support the work that influencer is doing. If you enjoy the work that someone is doing, and you can afford to spare a few dollars (or whatever your local currency is), then there’s no problem doing so. Or if a blogger is asked to coordinate a book tour, then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be compensated for all the work they put into doing so.

    But for some reason, writing and books are often so devalued that the idea of a blogger or a book reviewer actually earning money for their work seems to rub people the wrong way.

    Liked by 1 person

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