Let’s Talk Bookish – Gatekeeping in the Book Community

Aria @ Book Nook Bits will be the new host for Let’s Talk Bookish! If you aren’t following her yet, good check out her blog and give her a follow!

November 18: Gatekeeping in the Book Community (Nicole @ Thoughts Stained With Ink)

Prompts: Are there times where you have noticed gatekeeping in the book blogging community? What about in the publishing industry as a whole? What does this gatekeeping look like? How can we combat this?

Welcome to another week of LTB here at DTRH everyone! Today’s topic is very interesting, as I haven’t really thought about it. I’ll try and parse out some of my ideas here, but I’m certainly no expert. I’d love to see what you guys have to say on this!

I haven’t really noticed any gatekeeping in particular in the blogging community. People do tend to read the books mainly that are hyped or popular within the community and provide their own thoughts on it. I certainly wouldn’t call that gatekeeping though, as I have seen people express their real opinions on books despite their popularity (and I have done the same here as well). I do wonder if there are books that bloggers don’t mention though, because they’re not as well-known in the community. I just post about whatever I read, but I can definitely tell when books are popular or not even by the responses.

The public industry as a whole definitely gatekeeps. I don’t have specific examples and I don’t really see it, but I just know that it happens. There are certainly ideas and perhaps types of tropes, etc., that never make it past the editors/publishers, and there is some sort of censorship or gatekeeping happening here. They do have the monopoly on everything, so it does make sense that this would happen.

Gatekeeping can look like a lot of things. But it’s usually an individual or a group of individuals (a community) expressing the same opinion to keep something suppressed. So an obvious example would be people who call audiobooks not real reading. These kinds of sentiments are generally unproductive and tend to alienate another class of people. I haven’t seen this too much in our community actually, I feel like we are generally a welcoming bunch, and most “bad” reviews I read always have a hint of optimism or at least include that it may have just been due to personal taste.

Being more open-minded and more careful in how we express our opinions can be a way to make sure this doesn’t happen as easily within the community. As for the publishers and other big corporations doing it, it may be a bit more difficult to challenge. It’s okay to share your opinions, but it should almost never be done in a way to alienate or put down others, when it is really just a pure opinion. A little more compassion can go a long way I think!

4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Gatekeeping in the Book Community”

  1. Great post! Gatekeeping in the community wasn’t something that I ever gave thought to or even recognised until I joined the book community on Twitter and I saw a lot of posts talking about how difficult it is for BIPOC and queer authors to even get past the first gates of publishing. I think it’s great that people can be vocal about it and use their platforms to amplify the need for more diverse voices! When I first thought of this topic I also thought about the people who like to tell others what constitutes “real reading”, specifically those who say audiobooks aren’t real books. Or those who say you’re only a “real reader” if you read classics or non-fiction but not if you read YA or romance. 🙄 We should just let people live their best bookish life in whatever way they want! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! It really shouldn’t be this hard for them to get a publisher. And there’s no such thing as a “fake” reader in my books!


  2. There are people in the book community that express opinion that alienate or put down others. It has become an unspoken rule that you can only talk about issues on a curtain side. If you present an issue with both sides or the side that no one wants to hear then your ridicule for it.

    For publishing companies, they has to have some quality control in order to sell books and make a profited. If you can’t get a book publish the traditional way then indie and self publish are the other options. No matter how you publish a book it going to be hard work for everyone that does it. This is the type of opinion that going to be ridicule on Twitter.


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