Bookish Musings: What Did Book Nerds Do BEFORE Blogging?


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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)

How did you share your love of reading pre-bogging (or even pre-Internet)? Share a little love for the book-blogging community here!



  • Jessica says:

    Pre-Internet, I share my love for blogging with fellow real-life book lovers. We recommend each other books. I remember writing my one and only physical fan mail to an author known as Lurlene McDaniel. I remember that she sent me back a form letter and a bookmark.
    Jessica recently posted…14 Days of Love: Day 8 [Book Review] The Tournament by Matthew ReillyMy Profile

    • That’s so cool that the author took the time to send you back a letter! While it’s still pretty awesome to interact with an author online, to know that an author spent that much time replying to you must’ve felt pretty special.

  • Annie says:

    Goodreads also played a huge role in the evolution of book lovers in the internet age. I joined in 2008 and had never really written a review before that. I’d written book reports, but once I was out of school I just read books and then moved on. It’s great to be able to remember what I thought of a book or look back to see details in my reviews 🙂

    And yes, lots of books clubs. Snail mail. And a lot of just *not* talking about books. Reading them and loving them and rereading them and getting REALLY excited when you found someone you could actually talk to about that book 🙂
    Annie recently posted…the key to predictabilityMy Profile

    • Aaah, Goodreads! It would be awesome if they did a spread on how they’ve grown over the years and what impact they’ve had. I never really thought about how Goodreads reviews (and book reports!) probably contributed so much to the start of book blogging. I know that my pre-Goodreads days were dark indeed — I couldn’t keep track of books I’d read before, details of the books, and so on. I remember being shocked and overjoyed when I could finally start keeping track. Us book nerds want to remember everything about the books we read 🙂

      Yay, spot on with the book clubs and snail mail! But the ‘not’ talking about books sounds so sad! It’s amazing how today it’s so easy to find someone who has read and loved the same book as you. Long live Goodreads and book blogging! 😀

  • Yup, your guesses seem pretty accurate. My mom tells me she used to go to book clubs all the time! As for me, before I started blogging I just was very vocal about the books I liked and didn’t like, haha.

    • I can’t imagine! The only experience I really have with book clubs is with “book circles” in English classes, but those weren’t fun, only homework 😛 But if I hadn’t had my sisters, I think I would’ve maybe gone to one! Glad to hear my guess was right!

  • […] Lina wonders: what did bookworms do BEFORE blogging? […]

  • This was a lovely post, Lina! Things have definitely changed, but I wouldn’t know about it personally since I didn’t start reading until around 2011, and blogging in 2013.

    But pre-blogging, I used to be obsessed with these monthly newsletters from our local bookstores which had some pretty awesome book recommendations. 🙂
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Darling Diaries: Five Random Facts About MeMy Profile

    • Wow, that’s cool, I never thought about things like that! I bet independent bookstores were probably much more central to the reading scene, provided a hub for readers to gather, and produced awesome literature like those newsletters! Thanks for sharing!

  • […] Lina has written a very interesting post about what people did before book blogging. You can read it here. […]

  • Oh my, I have no idea! I mean, I WAS a reader pre-internet, I just don’t know what I did about iT! When I was young, my friends and I were all kind of obsessed with The Baby-Sitters Club. One of my best friend’s aunt lived next door to Ann M. Martin, so she sent us letters! THAT was awesome. But otherwise, I just went to the bookstore and hoped for the best (which didn’t always end well!) I think it really took Goodreads and the book blogging community to get me back into books, which I am forever grateful for! That, and the friend who insisted that I read The Hunger Games 😉

    Such an amazing topic, I am going to have to really think more about life before book blogs!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Many Strong and Beautiful WomenMy Profile

    • Wow, that’s so cool about Ann M. Martin! I’ve read some of her Dollhouse books, but not the Babysitters Club. The bookstore must’ve been even more daunting than it is now without recommendations on what to read! It seems that everyone is in consensus that Goodreads really changed things for us book nerds. I’ve honestly heard some of the most interesting stories from commenting bloggers on reading before book blogging, thanks for sharing! 😀

  • […] Lina @ Every Book a World wonders “What Did Book Nerds Do BEFORE Blogging?” […]

  • I guess I just didn’t share my love of books, except with a few friends. This is SO much better!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  • Luckily becoming a reader came with blogging! I was a reader from a young age but I was more of an “occasional” one. It wasn’t until recently that I started reading more often and reviewing what I did!

    I never knew that we could tweet authors. I just fangirled over them silently. In my opinion, I don’t think my life really started until I started blogging 🙂
    Nova @ Out of Time recently posted…3xA MA: 2015 Opening PostMy Profile

    • That’s even better, you never had to suffer the delightful agony of wanting to share your love of a book with someone but not having one! Here’s to life opening up with blogging! 😀

  • Before blogging, I NEVER contacted American authors. At all. Twitting them is now one of my favorite activities ^^ because they actually reply!!! Also, I was indeed in a book club, but the reason why I stopped being in one is that this is my last year of high school so I wanted to spend all of my lunch time with my friends. By the way, I’m going in an English CEGEP, yay!!!! Awesome post 🙂
    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books recently posted…Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana HeadleyMy Profile

    • I know, getting a tweet back from an author is the best feeling and makes my day! 😀 the book club must’ve been great if you stayed in it most of high school! It’s understandable wanting to be with your friends more senior year though. And what is a CEGEP? I googled it and it looks like a sort of Canadian college. If so, CONGRATS, that’s awesome!!!

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