TBR vs Review Pile for Book Bloggers- Is there a difference?

TBR vs Review pile

So we all know the common joke: “I was born with a TBR pile that I will never finish”. We, as book lovers, know this is true. There will always be more books to add to the pile. Backlist books you find out about months, years, decades, eons after they are published. Truly, we book lovers know that we will never get through the pile of books we want to read!

But what happens if you are a book blogger? Should you divide your TBR pile into 2 stacks- your review consideration pile and your personal TBR pile?

Let’s discuss why we that might be a good idea…..

Review consideration is a nice phrase for accepting a book from an author or publicist and not tying yourself down to a review. The truth is that while some bloggers will write a negative review- many just choose to not review the book if it’s not their cup of tea (and that is a whole other discussion!)

I think that many, when they start blogging, are fearful if they don’t accept every book from a publicist that is offered to them- they won’t hear from them again. While it may be true, in some cases, I think, mainly, it’s not an issue. If you say “no” you willΒ (most likely)Β hear from that publicist again. Trust.


Why Your TBR Pile Should Be An All You Can Eat Buffet:

If you take a look at my TBR shelf on Goodreads, you’ll see that I have 110 books- which is a fair, but not complete, total of books I want to read. There are books I have added, books I have been wanting to read for years (but haven’t made time for).

I think having a wide arrange of books in your TBR is a good thing- it gives you choices, maybe even shows how you have changed as a reader (maybe you were 100% romance reads and now you include mystery… or vice versa.)

Your TBR pile should be filled with all those books you think you want to read one day- the classics or every trashy novel ever published. It will be big. You will probably die before you finish it. But it will be ok.


Why Your Review Pile Should Be The Hottest Club In Town:

First, I can’t take credit for calling the review pile the hottest club in town- that little gem came from one of my blogging friends after a discussion on blogging blues.

Here’s the thing: You accept a few books for review consideration that you are all jazzed about. Then maybe you accept a few that you are unsure about- maybe you felt like you needed to accept them to keep the pub/blogger relationship going, maybe you felt pressured by a personal relationship with the author, maybe you just wanted to give the book a chance. Maybe everyone is talking about this book and you are feeling left out- the list of reasons goes on and on…. Maybe, maybe, maybe…

If you really start thinking about your review pile (because the truth is- that even if we abide by the thought process of “review consideration” there are many who still feel the stress of not getting the book read “in time”) and after awhile, seeing that book- sitting there is going to start stressing you out.

Do you have to review every book you let in your exclusive club? No, you don’t. There may be some that you think sound good- but then, for reasons unknown, fall apart. It happens. And life will go on.

But if you start to consider carefully what you think of as “review” books vs “just for reading”- then you might feel less stressed about your review pile.


Each blogger is different. Some only “review” backlist books. Some only review the new books. Some bloggers are moving away from the traditional review and getting back to basics- quick thoughts, talking on social media, etc. There is no right or wrong way to do this- it’s all about you.

But, for me, after my bloggy friend said that about “the hottest club in town” I really got to thinking about my review vs TBR piles in a different way. And the realization is, that for me, I can’t AND don’t want to review everything that is offered to me. Not all books are a good fit for me OR for my blog… Plus, not every book I read needs to make a feature on my blog. Sometimes, I don’t feel like finding the image, coming up with some clever things to say, and taking the time to post a review. There are times when I just want to snap a pic of the book, tweet it and say “Go get this book!” And you know what? That’s ok, too!


What do you think? Do you make distinctions in your book piles?


Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,

T @ Traveling With T

T Traveling With T pic sign off


16 thoughts on “TBR vs Review Pile for Book Bloggers- Is there a difference?

  1. This is a great topic T. Just yesterday, I trimmed my Goodreads ‘To Read’ list. While searching for my next read, I found that it was not included in my list, so I added a couple of more books. I worry about accepting too many review books. There is a balance to be found there.

  2. Interesting topic. I don’t keep 2 separate piles (well, I read 100% electronically, so it’s actually a spreadsheet for me), but I do mark the books that are “for review”. I don’t review every “for review” book I read, but I do mention each one somewhere on my blog. Even if it’s just to quickly say “this didn’t work for me” in my Monday, What Are You Reading post. This year, I’ve cut the review books I accept WAY back and stopped doing blog tours with set review dates. My “for review” books are coming more from books I request on Edelweiss or Netgalley or directly from the publisher….so I’m basically trying to only get “for review” books that I really am interested in. I’m trying to find the right balance…I guess as we all are πŸ™‚

    • I’m getting way far away from book tours. I’m only doing them for certain people. Too much stress! Most of my review books are books I want to read anyway- BUT I’m trying to find time to read backlist books (ex: Laura Lippman- I want to read all her books πŸ™‚

      Balance is what we are all striving for- and I think, in the coming weeks, I’ll be playing with other ways to get some promo for books I receive and to give some love to my TBR pile πŸ™‚

  3. I’ve cut back on my review copies because I found that I wasn’t enjoying them as much. It wasn’t because they weren’t good books, but because I don’t like reading under a deadline. Now, when I do accept them (you know, the few I say yes to), I give myself plenty of time so that at some point I will “mood read” it and feel less forced. Also, now that I’m finishing up grad school I am able to read a lot more and I have stopped reviewing every book I read. It makes me a lot happier knowing that I can read something and not feel like I have to have a strong opinion about it because I have plenty of those books lined up for review on the blog, now!

  4. ondbookshelf says:

    As a new blogger I don’t have to worry about being sent copies to review that I’m not sure I want to read……yet πŸ™‚ I request the books I want to read using NetGalley, and since I am sensitive to having those reviews up in a timely manner, I try to only request an amount that I think I can get to. In fact, I haven’t requested anything for awhile now since I’m concentrating on some of the books in my tbr pile (as well as all the new ones I’m adding!). I do try to keep my time sensitive review books separate from my general tbr.

    • Oh yes! You are on the right track πŸ™‚ I’m still cursing the time I went to Netgalley and requested 15 books thinking I would get denied for a few- AND GOT APPROVED FOR ALL OF THEM.

  5. I only get a few books from publisher in the hand, and then try to keep my NetGalley books at a reasonable level. If I ask for them I tend to write a review for them. Where I get caught the most is accepting a book from an author I haven’t read before and turns out I don’t really like it. I haven’t got brave enough to say – look your book just wasn’t that great a fit for me!
    I love to read books from my TBR pile and occasionally I just don’t review them, because it feels like a chore. But I like your idea of a pic and a tweet.

    • I want to get back to my roots- my blog used to be an extension of my Twitter account basically- and I kind of miss that. I also want to find more balance in my reading πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I feel like I am missing out on some backlist books!

  6. Really great post! I don’t really have a review pile, per say, but I do like to keep the number of review books I receive at a minimum. That way I feel like I won’t have to feel rushed. I do review a lot of my books from my TBR, but not all of them since I just want to enjoy reading them for fun. Sometimes I feel pressured to keep up with current book reviews and review every single I’ve read. But now I’ve learned to sit back, relax, and just enjoy reading books like I want to. I think it’s good though to have two separate piles, if your reading/review piles become chaotic.

    • Thank you!!!!! πŸ™‚ I think having the piles separate, for me, is going to work. I can glance at my review pile and see where I am and then estimate some TBR books to mix up in there!

      Sit back and relax and enjoy reading books I want to- beautiful! Perfect!!!

    • Oops hit enter before I was finished! I wanted to say that I don’t keep them in separate piles but I do have all my review books in a running list on Evernote. This year I have made a special effort to read more from my already huge number of books I haven’t read that I own. I don’t want it to be just review books anymore. For one, it gets old to me. For another, I’ve noticed it gets old reading about the exact same books on numerous blogs all in one or two weeks of each other. I like when people change it up.

      This is really great advice for new bloggers or bloggers feeling the burnout closing in. It definitely can happen!

      • And this is why I’ve stopped feeling bad about not posting a review of the book in the 2 or 3 weeks around pub day- because so many people are reviewing the book during that time- so some, I’ll post a month to 6 weeks later- and then boom- the promo continues πŸ™‚

        Thanks so much. Basically, new, old, seasoned, almost burned-out bloggers just need to find a way to make their blogs work for them again. If changing up how you think of your review pile works- then that is great πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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