Are Book Hauls “Meaningless” Content? | Discussion

When I saw that Ariel Bissett made a video titled “Why Do Booktubers Make Book Hauls?” I was immediately intrigued. To tell you the truth, I had been asking myself the same question for quite some time. Book hauls have sort of been a controversial topic in the online bookish community as of late. Some people claim that they are “meaningless” content because the person talking about the books likely hasn’t even read them yet– what could they possibly have to say about it that is substantial or thought-provoking? Another common argument against book hauls is that they are “filler” content  solely used to generate large numbers of views, since these kinds of videos and posts tend to be really popular. There’s also the idea that book hauls are just a way for bloggers and booktubers to boast about how many books they accumulate on a regular basis, which can lead to the notion that in order to be successful in the online bookish community one has to have the privilege of being able to purchase and own all of the books you read.

There are clearly a lot of issues that need to be unpacked, here; fortunately, Ariel does a lot of that unpacking in her video. She counters many of these negative arguments by emphasizing that book hauls essentially do what most bloggers and booktubers endeavor to achieve with their posts and videos: spread a love of books and have FUN. Ariel also points out that book hauls allow us to keep up to date with what people are really excited about reading in general compared to the smaller number of books that they may actually be able to read in a given year. I highly recommend watching her video for a more accurate and detailed explanation of why book hauls can be really valuable and important.

Personally, I agree with a lot of Ariel’s arguments in support of books hauls. Yet I think an important point is missing: people find “meaning” in all kinds of content. Just because a book haul might not be discussing literature from a critical perspective in terms of having already read the books does not mean that it cannot offer interesting ideas for a thought-provoking discussion. Readers of posts and watchers of videos add their own meaning to the original content of the blogger or booktuber by sharing thoughts and opinions in the comments. A similar argument could be made regarding memes, tags, etc.; in other words, a book review or discussion is not the only kind of “meaningful” content. 

I think the most interesting aspect of this controversy over book hauls is the question it raises about bookish content in general: Who is to say what kind of content bloggers and booktubers should be sharing? My answer: NO ONE besides the bloggers and booktubers themselves. Create what makes you happy, what gets your message across, what shares the ideas and opinions and feelings that you want to express.

I haven’t posted a book haul in a while, mostly because I’ve been trying to buy fewer books and read the ones I already own. However, recently I’ve been thinking about maybe posting one in the near future.

Scratch that. I will post one in the near future.

What are your thoughts on Ariel’s video and book hauls in general? Do you post book hauls? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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68 thoughts on “Are Book Hauls “Meaningless” Content? | Discussion

  1. I love the book haul posts! I don’t do them because I’ve focused solely on my netgalley ebooks! I’m also moving and I can’t take much stuff with me so there’s no point me buying books as I like to keep them. I love seeing what everyone else gets though, in the same way I enjoy seeing similar hauls for Birthday, clothes, make up etc – it’s a chance to see in to other people’s lives xx

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  2. I’m not subscribed to Ariel but I agree with what you said. I bought two books today solely based on what someone said about them in a book haul! It was certainly meaningful to me, enough to want to go out and spend some money on them so I will definitely keep posting and watching/reading book hauls!

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    1. Exactly! I always get book recommendations from watching/reading hauls, so in this way they definitely have meaning and an impact on viewers. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t check out book hauls – but have nothing against them. If a blogger is excited about a book – either to get them and/or to read them – then it’s infectious and I may put that book on my radar too. I think authors like any exposure they get – book hauls or reviews, so to me (and to them) book hauls seem to have a place.

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    1. Those are such great points! I love seeing people excited about books, whether that’s in the form of a book review, discussion, haul, etc. ❤

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  4. I don’t post book hauls separately, but in my wrap-ups I do talk about books I bought or books I checked out from the library. (Actually, May was my first month doing that. XD ) Book hauls are fun for me to read because I like to see what books people get! But it’s not something people should do ALL the time — same with reviews and discussions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree– I try to keep a balance of different kinds of posts, so I don’t think there’s any harm in throwing in a book haul every once in a while. But I do love seeing what books people are excited about! ❤

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  5. I personally love book haul posts and videos, but I also realize that they can be view-boosters. I think in moderation book hauls are great ways to highlight books you’re excited about. For me, I enjoy them as a way to learn about lots of new titles, especially upcoming releases.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely, I agree that moderation is key. I certainly wouldn’t want a blog that was only book hauls, but they’re a lot of fun on occasion! I use them to find new titles, too.

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  6. Book Hauls might be my favourite type of videos / posts to watch / read. There is just something about a stack of new books that make me very happy and excited.

    And also helps to add more and more books to my TBR list (not that it’s necessary unless I am trying to build the biggest book TBR tower ever :D).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Holly! I loved reading this post! I love book hauls, and although they might not me as thought- provoking as reviews or discussions, it is nice to have a balance of deeper and more light hearted posts! Also book hauls are just fun!! And we are all here to enjoy ourselves anyway!

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  8. I’ve posted a couple book haul posts. Personally I always see them as fun – like “yay I’m excited to read these!” I didn’t even realize there was a controversy?? Hopefully no one saw those posts as me bragging because that wasn’t my intention… 😰 good discussion topic!!

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    1. I agree– I’ve always viewed book hauls as a way to spread the word about books we’re excited to read, not to brag about books we’ve recently gotten. They’re also such a great way to find out about new books 🙂

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  9. I loved that video, and it’s cool to see that you’re adding to the discussion on it. I’ve never personally posted a true book haul, though there have been times when I’ve mentioned a specific book that I bought. I think it’s okay and it’s fun. I don’t tend to read/watch book hauls very often, but that’s because I’m super busy and don’t get to read as many posts as I would like to. I agree that it’s just a way for someone to express their excitement about a book, and to get upset over that is a bit silly, to be honest.

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  10. This is such an interesting post! I don’t do book hauls on my blog because I don’t feel like I have much to say and I never do massive book hauls like other bloggers might do – I only buy a couple books a time and I am a bit lazy to do them ahah. I didn’t know there was sort of a controversy about book hauls but I’m glad you brought this topic to my attention! I think they are lots of fun to see, it’s a great way to see which books are on their TBR and which books they are excited for, always gives tons of new reads ideas 😀

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    1. Thanks, Marie! That’s another reason why I haven’t posted many book hauls in the past– it takes me a while to accumulate enough new ones to do a whole post, and by that point they don’t even really feel “new” to me because they’ve been sitting on my shelf for so long. But I recently realized that I have a pretty good stack growing by my bed, so I figured that I might as well do a haul while I can 🙂

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  11. I’ve definitely asked myself a lot of these same questions about book hauls. I don’t really care to post them, mainly because I never buy lots of books at once, but I do like to read them and watch them. I like how they’re not exactly biased in the way a review is- the blogger or YouTuber isn’t telling me how great or bad the book is, just what it’s about and why they want to read it. They introduce me to books I hadn’t heard of and might be interested in checking out myself. Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!! 🙂 I like your point about book hauls not being biased most of the time because usually they haven’t read the books before they’re hauled. Sometimes it’s really refreshing to talk about books without all of those opinions attached.

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  12. I never thought about it this way! I love watching book hauls, they’re fun! and sometimes they do make me buy books. But if I do post them, I never know what to say other than how excited I am to read the certain books, which is what everyone says and thinks. This is such an interesting topic, great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!! I agree– usually they don’t say much other than that they’re excited to read them, but I love all of that excitement. It always makes me feel really motivated to read more 🙂

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  13. When I saw your post title I was like, “what’s a book haul?” So you’re the only serious book reviewer I follow! I’ll watch for yours since I’m soon to put away the “great haul” of textbooks for a couple months.

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  14. I agree with you! You made some valid points! People need to stop being so damn judgmental. I hate book snobs. I like seeing book hauls, it sheds light on what type of books people normally read. And its even better when I see they’ve bought a book that Ive read or want to read then we can chat about that all day!

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  15. I for one love watching book hauls and search them out. Maybe I am alone in that but I dont see it is filler in the least! However I do think that they lack content other than “this is what I got”.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. YES! Me too, but really when I am in the bookstore I am still going to buy what I want, although if I hear other people are reading it I might have my interest peeked just a little 🙂

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  16. I agree with you so much and actually all this talk of book hauls makes me want to do one (though it would be actually impossible to achieve since I haven’t hauled many books lately 😉 c’est la vie). Totally agree that people find meaning in all sorts of content- who’s to say which posts are worth doing? And I think the point about people doing it cos it’s fun is so important- cos that’s why most of us started talking about books on the internet in the first place. I find there’s a huge place for hauls- looking at nice editions, hearing about upcoming releases, or just talking about books in a more general way. I also like hauls because I think for new books you need to be told about them more than once sometimes for it to really register- so if someone’s talking about a book I’ve not heard of in two videos, I’m more likely to pick it up. I don’t personally do hauls often, cos I rarely get enough haul-worthy books, but I do enjoy reading/watching them, so I completely see the value in them.

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    1. I’m so glad that you enjoy book hauls, too! I completely agree with your points. Most of us do this stuff to talk about books and have fun anyways, and what better way to do that than with hauls? 🙂

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  17. I feel like book hauls aren’t useless, because they bring attention to those books, you know? I read this article about ARCGate and about how although someone might not be READING the books, at least they’re bringing books to their readers’ attention and giving publicity in book hauls.

    It’s probably not to try and stir jealousy, but rather to show off something. I’d love to post a book haul soon, and I actually enjoy reading them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree! I love watching/reading book hauls because I learn about so many new and different books that I never knew about beforehand. They also make me feel so motivated to read ❤

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  18. I love books hauls there some of my favorite content to read read/watch I like seeing people’s excitement about reading. I don’t think there as thoughtful as other types of content like reviews or discussions but there fun. And content that’s simply meant to entertain is just as important to me as thought provoking content.

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  19. I don’t really do book haul posts, just because I don’t buy a lot of books. I do think that it’s a good way to share a lot of books quite quickly, sort of like wrap ups or mini reviews. I do enjoy more ‘critical’ content–which Ariel is great at producing–but in a lot of ways it’s about having a balance, because book media is about fun as well as analysis and contemplation.

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    1. I definitely agree that a balance of different kinds of posts is key. That’s one of the reasons I love Ariel’s videos– she makes all sorts of great bookish content 🙂

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  20. Ah! What a great post! I don’t really watch much Youtube or Booktube so I didn’t really know much about what specific content is produced and what people are saying, but I loved reading this discussion. I definitely agree that there can be all kinds of meaningful content — really whatever the creator wants to produce! (And people can enjoy whatever type of content that they like.)

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  21. I love books haul! It gave me some kind of enjoyment and self-satisfaction watching people buying new books and raving about them. And totally unrelated but I love seeing unboxing books subscriptions too 🙂

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  22. But book hauls are so much fun! Both to make AND to read! (I don’t watch videos, so I can’t tell, but I’d assume it’s just as fun)… I get to be excited about a book I like ONE MORE TIME when I read someone’s book haul, I also get happy about them getting that book, and I also get to find out about something cool I might have missed. Book hauls are totally awesome, dang.

    And also… I don’t really buy almost any of them, most are from NetGalley. Not print books anyway.. And I still make book hauls 😀 so most of those things.. Sound so way off, don’t they!

    Personally, book hauls are much more interesting than reviews to me, because they cover multiple books. So I get way more information that way.

    As for the content.. Well, nobody is forcing anyone to read it, I should think. If people don’t like it, they don’t read it. What’s all this hate now 😀 it’s just silly.

    So please DO post a book haul! I know I will enjoy it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh thanks so much! I’ll definitely post one 😀

      And I completely agree– no one is forcing anyone read or watch anything, so if they are expecting different content then they can seek it out. The beauty of the internet haha 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I’ve seen some peeps say book hauls are meaningless, but I too have to disagree with that. As you mentioned above, it’s about spreading the love of books and also to tell people about books they might never have heard of otherwise. So though books featured in book hauls usually haven’t yet been read, some people might be intrigued by them and find a new book to read.

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  24. great post and video! In the end everyone has their own opinion, I guess. I guess for me I like book hauls if the person has any interesting information regarding the book, where/how they bought it, etc. Still, when Im bored I like watching all those books! haha

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  25. Totally agree with the two points of Ariel’s that you’ve raised and with your own. We can only read fully a certain number of books and haul videos (and posts – I don’t vlog so I see posts) allow us to show and or/talk about those we might not get to. They’re also good if you want to highlight a book now that you know you won’t get to for a long time. And the excitement of a book is sometimes best expressed in a haul post; your feelings are likely going to change somewhat over time.

    As for your point on content, it’s fun seeing what others have chosen to read or are excited about. And while it’s not as comprehensive as a review it can be inspiring enough to become a recommendation.

    I tend to only post lists of new books if I feel there are enough to make it worthwhile. Certainly if I posted too many I’d worry about it seeming show-off-like, but that’s just me for my blog. But I think enough of us do it and enough people understand the excitement that it’s okay.

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  26. I personally don’t read or write book haul posts but that doesn’t mean someone else can’t enjoy them and find something of value in them! Everyone is different 🙂

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  27. Great post! I really liked Ariel’s video too, and I agree with both of you, especially when you mentioned that everyone can find “meaning” in those videos/posts. I do not, however, watch that many book hauls, I just can’t watch all the videos I want, and I let them all pile up :/ It’s perfect when people mix book hauls and wrap ups in one video 😅😂

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