Let’s Talk…Why Aren’t Books Mentioned In The Media That Often?

Why aren't books in the media

Today’s discussion post I suppose is a little bit different, as it was my college work that inspired me. Now, considering I’ve just finished my first year of a journalism course at college and don’t actually need to do work anymore, it seems a bit odd that it only just inspired me to write this.

But look at it this way. The topic is the lack of books in the general media. Before now, I always sort of knew this was a thing in my mind, but it’s only recently I’ve started wondering why. 

So let’s talk – why aren’t books mentioned in the media that often?


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Now, for all I know this could just be an English thing. Obviously, since I live in England, that’s the media I see. I have no idea how often books are mentioned in the media in other countries.

And when I say “the media”, I mean general media – so on TV, Newspapers, Magazines etc etc. Not social media. Because I know full well that social media is FULL of bookishness, if you look in the right places. Trust me, my Twitter and Instagram are focused solely on books, book bloggers, booktubers, authors, everything book related.

So if social media manages to include books so well…why doesn’t the general media?

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I honestly feel like reading is becoming more popular again. I mean, it might have been popular all along and I’ve just gradually seen it around more and more. But in my experience, over the years reading has become more popular.

During every single journey I make on public transport, I see a fair few people reading. And thinking back to how it used to be, I remember hardly seeing anyone reading when I was still in secondary school. I remember people thinking it was weird that I read so much, whereas now people will find it a lot more interesting. There have been quite a few times where people I used to know years ago will randomly message me, asking for my opinion on whether they’d like a book or not, when I didn’t even know that they enjoyed reading. Or maybe they don’t read that often, and are wanting to dip their toe in that little bit more. And there have been so so so many times where people I know (who aren’t readers) have watched a film, and when I’ve told them it’s a book adaptation, they’ll go out and buy the book because they enjoyed the film.

I’ve seen all these things happen, and it honestly makes my little bookworm heart grow a little bit to see other people appreciate books more and more.

So again I ask…why aren’t books mentioned more in the media?

I think I’ve only ever seen magazines mentioned a few times in magazines, with some really small reviews in the back few pages. Or in London, with billboards on the tube. That’s it.

Is it because it’s unnecessary? 

Well…as I’ve said before, books do seem to have gotten more popular on their own…but you see adverts for things that are bought everyday still advertised. Plus, there’s millions of books out there, it’s not like they all have the amount of sales they deserve.

Is it because there’s no audience for the adverts?

Sure, not everybody reads books. I’m pretty sure the majority of people still don’t read regularly. But there’s still a huge amount of people out there who would be interested.

Is it because there’s more important things to cover in the media?

Of course there is. The general media is used to cover news stories. But the amount of times I’ve seen pages devoted to pointless stories that could be used for book reviews or something book related, or even just the many pages of adverts slipped between them all. I’m sure it could fit in somewhere.

Is it because social media already covers it so well?

The online book community is huge. But that doesn’t mean it’s easily seen. You only really see it if you look for it yourself.

Is it because publishers (etc) don’t want to spend money on adverts?

…But they already do. I’m pretty sure there’s money spent on all the ARCs handed out, printed, and sent to people. Surely it wouldn’t be too much to set aside some money for a more publicised advert? I mean, like I mentioned before, I’ve seen huge billboards in London (I don’t even live in London and I’ve still managed to see them from photos, or from the couple of times I went on day trips there. They’re that noticeable). So it’s not like it can’t be done.

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I see so many opportunities for books to be mentioned. Of course I do, I’m a bookworm. I talk about books all the time.

I’ve seen a few photos from people in America where books have been shown on TV…I’d love to see that here! I have no idea how common it is over there, I just know I want it here.

I think there could be more adverts or reviews in magazines and newspapers, possibly showing offers bookstores have. I’d love to turn the page of a magazine (not that I buy magazines that often) and see a page showing some of the books Waterstones have on the “buy one get one half price” offer. It’d be so simple, but I honestly think it’d work.

And in cinemas. Say there’s a film on that’s a book adaptation. Not everyone will know the film was a book first. Not everyone will have read the book first. So why not throw in a small advert for the book before the film comes on?

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Maybe I just can’t get enough of books and want to be surrounded by them 24 hours a day.

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Join the discussion!

Would you like to see books mentioned more in the media?

How often do you see books mentioned where you live?

Why do you think they’re not advertised as much as other things?

Do you think books being mentioned more would encourage more people to read?

Do you have any suggestions of how they could be brought in more? Like my idea with the cinema?

Join the discussion in the comments!

PS. This was a very long ramble of a discussion from me, so a round of applause to you for making it this far! Feel free to be just as rambly in the comments!)

Until next time…

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24 thoughts on “Let’s Talk…Why Aren’t Books Mentioned In The Media That Often?

  1. Great discussion post! I definitely feel that books should be talked about more in the media, and I agree that it would encourage more people to read. Love your cinema idea!

    I always notice how there are so many adverts around for films – on buses and posters and stuff all over towns and cities, so maybe something along those lines could be done for books, too? I mean, outside bookshops and stuff, you hardly ever see new books being advertised, so I think it would be a good idea to raise awareness of new books this way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh I love the idea of having book adverts on the side of buses etc. I hadn’t thought about that! And you’d think books would be advertised more around bookshops too, but thinking about it, you’re right. Not even new books are that well advertised outside bookshops. Only if it’s something huge like the new Harry Potter book, where they set up displays!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so interesting Ashleigh!

    I do definitely think reading has become more popular, especially among young adults. Whether that’s because we surround ourselves with like-minded people and are completely submerged in the genre (by being book bloggers), I don’t know. But from working in a bookstore, the young adult section is becoming a lot more than just a few shelves. Youtubers are talking about books more, there are events that are more than just mingling places for publishers, and social media definitely does spread the word!

    When I was a teenager, I only got exposed to very large franchises like Harry Potter and Twilight, but now it’s very easy to find recs and for books to snowball into popularity, which is great. I feel that books aren’t mentioned in the media a lot because they’ve become quite linked with social media and the internet, something traditional media is still wrapping it’s head around (especially youtube).

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a fair point. Maybe the general media wants to keep its traditional ways and just leave social media to do its job.
      I’m glad it’s not just me who thinks reading is becoming more popular though! I really didn’t know if it was just because I surround myself with other bookworms now, or whether it was an actual thing I was witnessing. But like you said, even in bookstore the YA sections are gradually getting bigger. Especially in my favourite, the YA section was recently moved, because before it had two bookcases and they needed more room. Even then, they had to add more, and now there’s 7 bookcases and two display tables devoted to YA! And they’re right next to all the popular fantasy books, like Victoria Schwab/ Brandon Sanderson/ George RR Martin, so there’s been so many times I’ve seen people just mulling around that area. It’s so great to see 😀

      Like

  3. I think it’s both about money and the type of audience.

    People don’t buy books because of a billboard or an ad on TV, it’s just not the right way to sell them. People buy books based on reviews and opinions, which is why you can usually find some bookishness in megazines, even if it’s just a small part. I’ve seen some books advertised on TV, and it always makes me feel strange – it’s not like a movie, where the trailer shows what the movie will be like. Book trailers are rare (and usually not that good in my opinion). You’re probably not going to buy a book based on a terrible 5-second trailer.

    So that leaves the money. If books don’t sell well through ads and TV, why spend money there? Books sell much better by just being in bookshops in the “new releases” section, or by going around social media. So it’s much better for publishers to spend money sending out review copies and ARCs, making sure the book is reviewed by magazines and people on social media, trying to build up hype before it’s released or when it’s new.

    In general, the people who buy books are also people who talk about books and prefer reading about them than seeing them on TV, so a review in a magazine makes much more sense and is cheaper.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. VERY true! It all seems to make so much sense now.
      I think while I was thinking this through, I was seeing the adverts through someone else’s point of view, so from the eyes of a person who’s not a huge reader. But now you’ve mentioned it, the audience IS readers, who – like you said – are more likely to pre-judge a book based on reviews rather than a quick glance at the cover and a few advert lines.
      Seriously, thank you for commenting! I feel like something has been cleared up in my mind!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is such an interesting discussion post Ashleigh!
    Okay, I have a few thoughts on this. Firstly, I definitely think that books are advertised – but primarily in the places readers frequent, and where they can actually buy books. Readers are more likely to read reviews and go to bookshops/ libraries, than wait for books to be advertised on TV or the media. In asking for books to be advertised like handbags, shoes and dresses, for example, that will only succeed in creating a materialistic culture around book-buying. Like, it’s almost the same as shoving a book in someones face, because they see it everywhere they go and feel like they HAVE to buy it. But the great thing about readers is that we actively seek out books that interest us. We don’t need to be told to read. As a means of introducing people who don’t read to books, however, it might be more successful.
    Secondly, I think social media is a lot more effective now than it ever has been. I would say it definitely contributes to getting more people to read and establishing hype for books. When I was a kid, for example, I couldn’t tweet ‘I love Harry Potter. I think everyone should read it!!’ and get all my followers to read the books. And yet, it became incredibly successful and popular in no time, with readers eagerly awaiting every book. And now, social media makes it a lot easier to find out about new releases and share thoughts about books (I’ve gone on a bit of a tangent)
    But yeah, I think what I’m trying to say is, the minimal advertising works for the better, and it’s much more efficient.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice points – all of which are very true!
      The second you started explaining it that way, two examples came to mind. The first – Fifty Shades of Grey. Now THAT book, everyone seemed to be reading because of the amount of publicity it got in the media. And yet…most bookworms who enjoy reading regularly didn’t even end up reading it (myself included). And the second? The Fault in Our Stars. That one, I think a lot of bookworms read, but then when it gained so much publicity, actually a lot of people got sick of hearing about it. So it had a reverse effect really!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, definitely! Those are two great examples. I didn’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, but the media coverage gave me good reason not the pick it up. At least with everyone talking about it, I actually knew what it was about. The Fault in Our Stars … I read that, but the hype definitely made me dislike it a little. I really don’t like hype, and I tend to steer clear of books like that unless there’s very good reason to pick it up. Might be a little strange haha

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I hadn’t thought of this. It’s really interesting.

    I think it comes down to two things: money and what people will trust when considering their books.
    For the first, books just don’t bring in money like films or television shows would. In the height of their popularity, maybe some books would, but most don’t. So the publishing companies and authors have less to play with, so they aim for advertising in the area that will gain them the most interest.

    This lead into the second. People are more likely to trust some good reviews than they are a billboard about a book. So they put their money into creating ARCs or hosting giveaways or other things that will bring around the most reviews.

    We need someone who works in the publishing industry to weigh on in this one, I think. I’d be curious to see what they say. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like all these comments have pretty much hit the nail on the head!
      It’s like you said, books need to target a very different audience to the sort that are watching TV for many hours a day. Most readers would prefer to read a few reviews rather than a few comments on a billboard. It’s almost like…because a book will take up so much more time than a film, or some product you use, you want to make sure you’ll enjoy what you read. So you need more than just a simple advert in the street.
      Thank you for commenting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. very interesting discussion! 🙂 I have thought about this type of thing before when Ive been reading the paper or a magazine and there is a tiny section on a new release but never to this much depth. I have seen in the train station (Manchester Piccadilly) quite a few different billboards for books as well a theatre shows. I am not to sure if this is because manchester, especially near piccadilly, there are quite a few different theatres and usually people interested in theatre are the type which like to read (or in my opinion are). Ive also thought as to whether this is why people using train stations are more likely to want a book to read if they are commuting.

    On another note I do love the fact that I am seeing more and more people reading on the train to work now then I have ever seen reading before and tbh its where I get some of the new books I read from. If I see someone so intrigued in a book, I will see who its by and what the title is and I will do a little research on it. If its something I think I will like on my kindle I will try a sample and if I enjoy it I will purchase it 🙂

    Sorry I went a little of track there!

    I would like to see the occasional book TV advert as I think that would be cool (like 1st books in a series), but I do like finding book via reviews and social media.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like transport is the main target for book adverts at the moment. I’ve seen the odd few adverts on buses (only a couple though) and like you said, train stations. And that’s probably because people tend to like using the time on their commute productively. So at least we know that works!

      And don’t apologize for going on a tangent! I did leave a whole load of questions haha 😀 Plus I went on that many tangents in m own writing, it can be hard to keep up!

      I do the same as you though. If I see someone on my travels enjoying a book, I’ll try to catch a glimpse of the title so I can find it and see what it’s about 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I live in the US, and have occasionally seen books on TV here. It’s mostly from celebrities trying to make a statement about how they support literacy, and more common on channels geared towards children/teens. We even have a channel called “Book TV,” but most of the time when it seems to be talking about non-fiction or adult romance novels so I don’t watch often.

    I know at the high school I used to go to almost no one read. This mostly seemed to be due in a large part to the fact that a lot of the students felt books were only about white people. (I’m white, but about 2/3 of those at my high school were not.) The school tried to combat this by diversifying required reading. This helped a lot, but most weren’t interested in the books until we started discussing it in class and they learned what it was about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a shame when people only read because it’s required reading. Especially when the teachers hope it’ll encourage more reading, but really I think it pushes people away from reading, because there’s not that much choice or diversity at all. I’m glad your school at least tried to combat it!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I would love to see more advertising for books! Most ads that I do see of books is generally YA also. I wish there was more diversity in the ads that I do see. Even though there is an abundance of advertising in America, I rarely see ads for books. The only magazine that I see regular ads for is Entertainment Weekly. I definitely think people would be more willing to read if it was adverstised more. If it became regularly advertised like TV and movies are, people might think it’s just as normal to read as it is to watch TV. So many people don’t even know the book community exists. If they knew it did, there would be more readers! Great discussion post Ashleigh! I never really thought about this before!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this discussion!
      I’d love for reading to be considered as normal as reading! Or at least be advertised to the same standard, so that people are very well aware of the sort of books out there 🙂

      Like

  9. I really like the topic of this discussion! This is also a problem in my country. In fact, when books do appear on magazine/newspaper, it only have 1 small column on the edge of the paper with few lines😒 I would really like more books in the media, maybe play the book trailer on tv like movie trailer? Or just a full page of upcoming book release? It would be awesome and honestly, I think it could increase reading interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’d be great to see books written about more in newspapers and magazines. Just today I saw a page about new releases in a newspaper, and just thought “YESS it’s happening”

      Like

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