On Book Hauls

Tomorrow is one of those days on which I will invariably get at least one book. If I don’t, it’s not exactly an exceptional birthday, but that may just be me.

So, today, I thought it might be a good time to discuss book hauls and why I, personally, don’t do them.

What is a book haul?

A book haul is when someone who has (usually recently) acquired books decides to share what books were acquired on some sort of social media. This can be in picture or in list form, and is fairly common among bloggers and vloggers. Often, the person will show the books one at a time and speak relatively briefly of each of them.

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(This, by the way, is not a book haul, but me being indecisive about what to read and seeking assistance from Twitter)

The Good Parts

Book hauls are a fantastic way to learn about new books. People can pick up books you’d never even heard of, or explain what a familiar title is about in a way that really intrigues you. This is easily my favorite aspect. It’s also a decent way to keep up with what someone is reading as a lot of people tend to read at last some of the books they have acquired fairly immediately. In this way, it’s generally helpful for those who don’t post TBRs, for example. It’s also good know what books a person owns in case you want to give them a gift—that way, you don’t give them something they already have. Conversely, if you are giving someone a gift, it can be really flattering for them to mention you, and might provide exposure to gift givers, publishers, and, most importantly, authors!

The Not-So-Good Parts

On the other hand, book hauls can have (often unintended, I imagine) negative side effects, too. There is always the danger that a book haul can come across as bragging because the poster is able to afford all of these books, or because they have so many awesome friends who will give them gifts. It can make people feel jealous or insignificant; what if you can’t afford so many books? What if you can’t buy books that often? Because book hauls sometimes feel like a staple of the book blogging community, this can put people off joining, which we don’t want!

I feel like book hauls can also inspire a sort of competition that we don’t really need. Who has the most books? I don’t think we should care. But it’s more than that—it’s showing off ARCs or books you got for free from authors or publishers, and the feelings that can incite in the audience (there is a lot of drama around ARCs especially). It usually come out to: why did X get that book I really, really wanted but not me?

Personally, I also find that they can be a bit repetitive and formulaic. Here is book, here is summary/I know nothing about it (but PRETTY/recommendation), I am SO excited, here is next book. Some people don’t share those things either. Honestly, I get tired of them very quickly, especially when people are buying the same books because those are popular at the moment, or new releases. They’re memes that I don’t care to read, really.

My Personal Decision

As I mentioned, I don’t post book hauls. I originally did this because I couldn’t be bothered to keep track of when I received what or to take pictures (further reinforcement that I am not a visual person). I also, however, quickly realized how few book hauls I personally consume.

I don’t want to post things on my blog that I personally would not want to read or consume. That is why I haven’t been doing Top Ten Tuesday or Top 5 Wednesday either—I don’t read those posts, 9 times out 10. I don’t read book hauls, so I won’t post them. I don’t imagine I’d have fun writing them. I would rather spend time writing the posts I actually enjoy writing and would enjoy reading.

And, in case you need it, here is a reminder: you don’t have to post things you don’t enjoy writing. Please don’t feel obligated to participate in a trend just because it’s a trend. It’s okay to not be a part of that.

I also want to give a shout-out to the super sweet Zac, who officially opened his blog Of Bleeding Pens and Pages today!
 

Thanks for reading!
Do you enjoy book hauls? Why or why not?
How do you approach book hauls?

 

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29 thoughts on “On Book Hauls

  1. This might be the first time I’ve seen a “book haul” picture where I’ve read several books from. Oh shit. I’d love to say Six of Crows but if you’re intending on finishing Grisha, theeeeen you should maybe do that first then.

    Speaking to your thoughts on hauls though, I feel like sometimes bloggers within the book community feel burdened by invisible requirements to have the coolest haul or the most informative/gif’d review etc. but there’s definitely a difference between contents for contents sake and simply doing trendy things. I don’t know. Point is: do whatever makes you sleep easy, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am usually in a similar situation–new releases I haven’t read are especially common. I kind of want to read Six of Crows first because a) it’s shorter than reading both of the Grisha sequels and b) it’s more directly applicable to my writing project (and c) I think I’ll like it better).

      Those invisible requirements can definitely be stressful, though I don’t think anyone consciously enforces them (or so I hope). I feel like it’s very much seeing patterns and feeling like you can be apart from them if you want to be “successful” in that community, which is certainly not limited to the bookish community.

      I completely agree, though. You do you. I’m not going to judge.

      Like

  2. I don’t do book hauls because I don’t get physical books, haha. If I do happen to buy or win books though, I’ll share it in my weekly update just because I’m always excited about it. But I don’t do ebook or Netgalley hauls. I prefer to share what books I’ve actually read each week. It’s far more fun for me to talk about books I’ve read than ones I haven’t.

    I get everything you’re saying though. Sometimes it can come across kind of braggy, and, for the most part, I don’t pay much attention to them unless I happen to see a book I’ve read or am dying to read and want to comment about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That makes a lot of sense -nods- I have seen ebook hauls before, which isn’t too different because you can still show the covers, but the pictures people get up to with physical books can be very pretty.

      Emily commented on the haul being incorporated in other things, too, and I think that can be really effective ^^ But I agree with talking about books one has read–I find bloggers often have more to say and discuss when it comes to those.

      Like

  3. I actually LOVE reading book hauls. I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s like bragging – most people are just excited to be reading books and they can’t be responsible for other people’s ARC envy or whatever. But I do like when book hauls are combined with other things, like in a weekly wrap-up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right–I don’t think it’s fair to call it bragging, because I don’t think it’s supposed to be, but I do think it can come across like that. The excitement was definitely one of my favorite parts when I first joined the bookish community ^^

      When they’re parts of other things, I don’t tend to mind so much either, because there are other interesting things that complement the book haul ^^

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  4. Hmm…I think you’ve made some excellent points. I definitely agree, though all of my book haul viewing has been on Youtube. I didn’t know it was a blog thing as well. My biggest frustration with some book hauls is that they tend to showcase the same type of book (if not just the same books, period), and present a fairly limited range of ‘recommendations’. Great article!

    Like

  5. I put my book haul in my Sunday post, but I honestly don’t get more than a few books a week, typically, so I doubt I’m making anyone jealous. 🙂

    I don’t go out of my way to read other people’s haul posts but I don’t mind seeing them. And I actually like seeing what people get from NetGalley and Edelweiss sometimes because that tells me what new books are up that I might want too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Birthday! I don’t post book hauls. I don’t tend to get a lot of books so it wouldn’t be all that exciting. I don’t mind if people share them or not. I like seeing new titles in book hauls because I don’t always know about things, even if they are popular titles, so that part is nice. Other than that, I don’t worry about it too much! I hope people don’t worry about doing book hauls if they don’t want too – do what you like!

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t mind seeing book hauls, although I don’t particularly enjoy them either. But I’ve never really come across any that I think of as bragging. Honestly – I find it hard to imagine that people are so into books that it would make them jealous to see someone else with a book that they want. I mean – I would get it if it were a car … or a house, or something like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t read book hauls, so I don’t post them either. As a blog reader, my TBR is up over a thousand, so really, the last thing I need to do is go LOOKING for more books I want to read. As a blogger, I either get my books at the library or buy them for my classroom; in neither case does it seem super interesting to post a picture and list. The only exception was when I brought 50 books home from a conference–I just couldn’t get over what a stack that big of brand new books looked like! To me, I’m no more interested in a book haul than I would be in someone who posts all the clothes they buy, or who takes pictures of all their meals. Like–that’s YOUR life, and that’s fine, but why am I supposed to care? Not that I don’t care about other people, but I don’t care about their shopping trips.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoy watching book hauls more than I like posting about them, haha! I find lately that it’s tedious to keep up with what I bought in a month and talk briefly about it. So I decided that I’m not doing them anymore unless I do it in video format. I think last year was fine because I was buying books like no one’s business, but so far this year I think I’ve only bought a handful of physical copies and a few e-Books, so there’s not much to even talk about.

    Liked by 1 person

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