Being a part of the book blogging community is so wonderful sometimes that it’s easy to take it for granted. Bookish inspiration, fangirling, recommendations and reviews, and an amazing group of equally-bookish people all available at the flick of a mouse and a few keystrokes? Sounds like magic, really.
And maybe it would seem truly magical if you tried to tell a bookish person this a few decades ago.
Stop and really think about it for a moment — what did book lovers do before blogging? Before we had this virtual space to rant and rave about the written word, allowing us to connect with fellow book nerds across the globe?
Because if you really stop to think about it, the Internet as we know it is still so young — let alone blogging, or even book blogging. Mini history lesson: the first web page wasn’t created until 1991, and it wasn’t even until the launch of Windows ’95 (In 1995) that the Internet began seeing substantial traffic. It didn’t take off until 2000, and Blogger was only created in 1999 (and WordPress not even until 2003). When I try to gauge some of the oldest book blogiversaries I’ve seen, they don’t stray to far from a mere 5 years old (though I’m sure many were created before then).
So it’s safe to say that book blogging is quite the new phenomenon. While it may seem that I’ve been a part of the blogging community for forever, this is obviously not the case — and pre-Internet readers certainly weren’t using WordPress to share their thoughts.
So what were pre-blogosphere bookworms doing to spread their love of reading? I’d love to hear tales from some bookish people that were active in this pre-blogging world!
As for me, I’m lucky enough to have two other sisters who like reading (just not as much as me, haha). Pre-book blogging for me consisted of gushing over books we’d all read, or trying to push them to read my favorite books. But even all this took place in the age of blogs — I just hadn’t discovered any book blogs yet!
My guesses about the pre-blogging bookish community:
- Book clubs were probably a lot more popular than they are now; without the Internet, meeting other book lovers in person probably reigned supreme. You wouldn’t have to have been constrained by your typing speed to gush about a book you loved, or be interrupted when your wifi failed.
- Instead of tweeting an author, readers would’ve used snail-mail to send their words of praise. Us bloggers are now so used to being able to contact an author instantaneously, and it’s hard to imagine not being able to!
- Non-professional book reviewers might’ve written book reviews for their local newspaper instead of a blog. But they would’ve likely have had to write in a much more formal voice, and maybe had to have been more selective with the books they could showcase. Imagine book reviews without fangirl-ish outbursts and perfectly-chosen GIFs!
Clearly, the book-loving community has changed a lot over the years, and the blogging and Internet age has connected the community more tightly then ever before. While this has occasionally led to minor scandals and drama within the community, these drawbacks are eclipsed by the incredible creativity, collaboration, and passion it has produced within the blogosphere. I feel so incredibly lucky to be a part of spreading all this bookish love! (Sorry if I’m going soft on all of you! :P)