by Lorie Lewis Ham
Check out our YouTube challenge at the end of this post and enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card!
In June I went to my first VidCon in Anaheim and it was amazing! For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it’s kind of like an online content convention–some people call it a YouTube convention, but there’s so much more out there now than just YouTube.
For three days my daughter and I attended panels of all sorts–ones about community, women on YouTube, ones where you got to listen to and ask questions of different online personalities such as Hannah Hart, Tyler Oakley, Emma Blackery, and others. We also attended the ultimate nerd concert! Where but VidCon can you listen to songs about loving science, Harry Potter, and Batman! I absolutely loved Hank Green and his band the Perfect Strangers. I also very much enjoyed the panel with John and Hank Green (if any of you don’t know who John Green is–he’s the author of The Fault in Our Stars, among many other books, and Hank is his brother and the creator of VidCon-I will be talking more about them in the future). There were also comedy panels, a Vine panel, and much more. If you had the money to attend with a creator or industry pass there were even more wonderful panels.
The first panel we attended ended up being one of my favorites as it had to do with books! I learned about a whole new way to enjoy books–what could be better than that–I was introduced to BookTube! BookTube is basically a community on YouTube of people who talk about books. Consider it a new way of being introduced to new books–a new way to review books, and yet so much more. Some do skits about books, some review books, and they all share about their favorite books.
The panelists were Sasha Alsberg, Ariel Bissett, Maxwell Dunn, and Raeleen Lemay. They each have their own channel on YouTube about books. The three young women seemed mostly to read fantasy and YA novels, though they also enjoy some contemporary fiction as well. Maxwell seemed to lean more toward literary fiction. It was a lot of fun to listen to them talk about books with such enthusiasm. I made notes and when I got home I checked out some of their channels.
First off I found Sasha and her channel abooktopia. I quickly got hooked on watching her and have continued to watch her videos ever since. She is lively, passionate, and charismatic. You feel like she’s talking to a friend when she talks to her viewers about books. She also does other book related things like taking us with her when she went to her favorite bookstore–which I really enjoyed not having a bookstore nearby–and she shares about recent book hauls (basically book hauls are the latest groups of books they either bought or had sent to them by publishers). I look forward to continuing to explore her channel and maybe find some new books to try out as I too love fantasy novels!
Next I tried out Ariel Bissett’s channel and I have been enjoying that one too. It has a different feel to it than Sasha’s–while Sasha is bubbly and is this bundle of energy, you kind of feel like you are sitting down with Ariel to have a cup of coffee and chat about books–it’s a calmer sort of feeling, and equally enjoyable. I usually watch their latest videos one right after the other. Again you really feel like a friend is just chatting with you about the latest book they read. Ariel seems to review a variety of books–her latest book haul included several classics, some YA, and some poetry. She also said that she is going to be expanding beyond just books on her channel.
Recently I also checked out Maxwell’s channel WellDoneBooks and enjoyed him as well, though it too had a different feel to it than Sasha and Ariel’s channels. They all seem to have their own style–which provides your BookTube experience with a nice variety. I just subscribed to Raeleen’s channel padfoodandprongs07, and I can’t wait to check it out.
Another thing I really like is that they include links in the video description to the books they talk about, so it’s really easy to check the books out further, or perhaps even buy some of them (not that I need anymore books lol).
I know it can be hard for some of us to get used to something new, but I challenge you all to check out BookTube. Even if you prefer your reviews written, this is still another fun way to enjoy books, and you can get caught up in their passion and excitement and feel like you get to know them. And it’s just plain fun. You can also get involved with the community and make comments and chat with other book lovers, and well what’s better than talking about books!
The one thing I still haven’t found is a BookTuber who mainly reviews mysteries–hmm maybe there’s a need to fill there! If any of you decide to take on the challenge be sure to let me know–and if we at KRL decide to add that to our YouTube channel I’ll be sure to let all of you know. In the meantime, be sure to check out our channel too which I guess could be a part of BookTube since we mostly interview mystery authors!
I got the chance to interview Maxwell recently and get more of an inside scoop on BookTube in general, and his own experience with it–check out his interview here! And don’t forget to check out BookTube after you are done, and definitely don’t miss our contest!
KRL: For those who have never heard of it, what is BookTube?
Maxwell: BookTube is a community on YouTube where people come to talk about books. People create videos reviewing certain books they liked or disliked, talk about things they’ve recently read, or start discussions about different topics from the publishing industry.
KRL: How, when and why did you first become a part of BookTube?
Maxwell: I found BookTube in the summer of 2013 while looking up information about a book and stumbling across a video someone had made about it. I decided to join in December 2013 after having watched and commented on videos for the last six months. It was a community I wanted to be more involved in, and I wanted to talk about the kinds of books I like to read that I didn’t see a lot of discussion about in BookTube at the time.
KRL: I just watched your “reading widely” video-can you give us a general idea of some of the different books and different types of books you read and review?
Maxwell: One of my favorite genres is literary fiction. I love anything that’s character-driven and has beautiful writing. But I also like to dip into non-fiction, memoirs & autobiographies, thrillers & mysteries, and occasionally young adult fiction.
KRL: Why do you think it’s important to read widely?
Maxwell: I think for me it’s important to read widely because a.) I would get bored reading the same types of books over and over, b.) it helps me expand my knowledge of the world by reading about so many different kinds of people and c.) I am able to talk about a variety of books for more people to find & enjoy.
KRL: Most of our readers are mystery readers, do you ever read mysteries?
Maxwell: I do! I especially love J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike mystery series written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Gillian Flynn is also one of my favorites, though she tends to tread into thriller territory. But she pulls off a twist so well.
KRL: Do you know any BookTube people who review mysteries?
Maxwell: Because most BookTubers I know read a wide variety of books as well, there’s always a chance that they will read and review mystery books on their channels. However, I can’t think of one BookTuber in particular who reads solely mystery novels.
KRL: What do you do on your channel other than review books?
Maxwell: Other than review books on my channel, I make videos talking about what I’ve read each month, sharing music I’ve been listening to as well as podcasts I enjoy, and creating discussions about books, such as discussing book-to-movie adaptations, series versus standalones, and more.
KRL: How do you get the books you review & how do you pick them?
Maxwell: I purchase most of the books I read and review myself. Occasionally I will receive books from publishers if I request them, but mostly I buy my books. I pick what I read based on the mood I’m in as well as based on recommendations from other BookTubers or interesting books that I see floating around the publishing community online.
KRL: How does someone find BookTube channels on YouTube?
Maxwell: I would recommend searching for a book review of something you’ve read and enjoyed recently. I would expect at least one person in BookTube has read and talked about it, as long as it’s not a totally obscure book. From there, it’s a matter of reading through the comments and finding more people who are making videos themselves. The great thing about BookTube is that it’s very supportive, and fellow BookTubers comment on each other’s videos, so that’s a really great way to find more to watch.
KRL: Are there other ways readers can get involved in BookTube other than just watching reviews?
Maxwell: Yes! Commenting on videos to create discussions, adding BookTubers on Goodreads, joining online book clubs, chatting on Twitter. These are all great ways to interact with the BookTube community online and be a part of the discussion.
KRL: What do you enjoy most about BookTube?
Maxwell: I love the friendships I have made most during my time on BookTube. I never expected to meet and talk to so many wonderful people who really have become a part of my daily life. It’s been a great experience to bond over something we all love, and I look forward to seeing how many more friends I make through it.
KRL: What would you like to do on your channel that you haven’t done yet?
Maxwell: One thing I would love to do is to interview an author. I have seen other BookTubers meet some of their favorite authors and film videos for their channels, and it seems like such a fun and exciting experience. Hopefully that will happen one day!
KRL: How did you end up on the BookTube panel at VidCon?
Maxwell: I was kindly invited by VidCon to speak on the BookTube panel. I don’t know exactly how they got my name, but I received an email a few months before the event and was shocked and thrilled to be a part of it all. It was definitely the coolest experience that has come out of being part of BookTube for me.
KRL: Other than the friendships, what do you enjoy most about having a BookTube channel?
Maxwell: Besides all the friends I’ve made through it, I love the comments I get from people who watch. Whether they say “I read this book because of you and absolutely loved it!” or whether they are recommending books to me, I really appreciate every comment I get.
KRL: All time favorite book?
Maxwell: It’s so hard to choose! I’m going to cheat and say that it is a tie between Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Although I could go on for days about this topic. I have so many I love for various reasons.
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Maxwell: Explore BookTube! There are so many wonderful people that are a part of the community, and odds are you will find someone who talks about the same kinds of books that you like to read. And if you don’t find them, make your own videos about those books!
KRL: What is the link to your channel, and you social media?
So get yourself to YouTube and check out some of these BookTubers, and see what else you can find. Then share with the rest of us here in the comments section about your experience!
For every one of the channels mentioned in this post that you check out and comment about here, you will be entered in a contest to win a $15 Amazon gift card! All I can tell you now is that it will have something to do with books! US residents only please and please include your email address so we can contact you if you win. This contest will go until the end of the month to give you more time to check out BookTube!
I would like to start providing a YouTube related challenge for our readers every month. There are so many wonderful things out there that I have discovered and I want to share it with all of you! So this month’s YouTube challenge is to check out BookTube!
Here are the other BookTube channels mention in this article:
Ariel Bissett: www.youtube.com/user/ArielBissett