Should You Start A Booktube (Book YouTube) Channel? // why i finally made one and some pros and cons based on my first impressions

The short answer is a tentative yes, but the long answer is… longer and needlessly wordier.

*You may be able to generalize this post if you’ve had an overall interest in making a YouTube channel, bookish or not 🙂.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about whether or not you should join Book Twitter. I had finally made a bookish Twitter account after years of steering clear from the site and thought I would share some of my first impressions of it for anyone not on the platform yet.

Since then, I’ve dipped my toes in even more parts of the online book community.

Specifically, I recently started a booktube channel (book YouTube) and bookstagram (book Instagram), so I can add even more unnecessary, digital noise to the tech giants’ small, but ever-growing book communities 😅.

While my bookstagram is more novel and I’m still taking in the different parts of what makes the site “good” and “bad”, I think enough time has passed since I created my booktube channel for me to now share some more first impressions 💃.

(You’re next, Instagram 👀.)

– a little edit –

I recently recycled this post into a video if you prefer to watch it!

Onto the post!

first,

what took me so long to start a youtube channel?

I’m sure many of us by now have joked with friends about starting a YouTube channel, had an aunt tell us she wants to start vlogging and that you should too, or came across one of the hundreds of videos about how YouTube is the best side hustle.

“side hustle” makes me think of exercise 😅

As someone who dabbled in video-making for leisure, I had personally always thought YouTube would be a cool project to start, but I had a mistaken notion that YouTube was something more confident, well-spoken, and in general, more interesting people actually do.

Ages ago, I wrote a tiny discussion on book blogging versus booktube, in which I further detailed reasons booktube wasn’t for me:

1. my preference to practice writing on a blog

2. my living situation then

3. my difficulty in expressing myself verbally

4. the scary idea of having my face on the internet

and

5. the fear of YouTube comment trolls 🤡

so, what changed?

It definitely wasn’t me feeling like I was any more confident, well-spoken, or interesting than before.

I finally started my YouTube channel because I simply didn’t care anymore.

To be more specific, and maybe a bit morbid and dramatic 😬, my YouTube channel was born out of an existential dread that I have this one life and am denying myself the chance to do something I think I’d have fun with.

How’s your quarantine going 😂👀?

But really, all of the reasons why I hadn’t started a YouTube channel just became excuses at some point. On top of preventing myself from doing something enjoyable, I was avoiding an opportunity to become a better extemporaneous speaker and facing fears of judgement.

Now that we have the sappy, self-growth stuff out of the way 😅,

what are some pros and cons of booktube based on my teeny experience?

pros

🌱 making different types of content

While there’s a definite overlap in the types of content that can be found on blogs and booktube (ex. book reviews, TBRs, and Wrap-Ups), I always stuck to making book reviews and discussions on this blog because I liked writing them more.

Since creating my booktube channel, I’ve found that I exceedingly prefer the video format of some content.

The clearest example of this are reading vlogs. In the past, I did 24 hour readathons for this blog, but they were never posts I felt particularly inspired to add to my usual rotation of book reviews and discussions. Now though, reading vlogs are practically the only type of content I consistently create for my YouTube channel, and that’s because their visual quality paired with audio personally excite me more to make them.

I like having the ability to diversify and split the type of content found between my blog and YouTube channel.

Which brings us to our next point…

🌱 reaching different people

I know the types of videos I make are not for everyone, just like how my blog posts aren’t.

I mean, an 11 minute video in which I’m supposed to be reading but am instead awkwardly sharing old stories and collecting beach rocks 😬? Definitely not for everyone 😂.

But I’m okay with that, and I welcome it. It’s cool interacting and reaching people I otherwise wouldn’t have through a completely new medium and variations of content, and the people I’ve met are a major reason I continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone.

tag yourself, i’m on the right
I can’t forget to mention that meeting new people allows me to educate them on why they should read book blogs 😂.

🌱 a new creative outlet

I never considered myself to be a “creative” person, and I think a large part of that is because creativity is something that I associated with the ability to make beautiful drawings or paintings, the sort of things that come to my mind first when someone says “art”. And while drafting posts for this blog did reward me with a certain sense of creativity,

my YouTube channel has given me a brand new awareness of how creative video-making—and in return, myself—can be.

Recall the plethora of reading vlogs I’ve been making 😅. One can argue that a vlog, a literal log of your life, hardly needs thinking outside of the box to film and edit. But when you think about it, they’re visual, short stories of a whole day, week, or whatever period of time of your life and have the capacity to invoke certain emotions from people depending on how you construct them.

🌱 another digital archive

If you engage in any form of social media, you probably enjoy documenting your thoughts or life to some degree.

YouTube takes digital archiving to a whole other level.

You definitely don’t need to vlog to enjoy this benefit of the platform. Just by re-watching some of my sit-down videos (the antithesis to my reading vlogs 😂), I can remember a range of things from what I was wearing that day I filmed, what happened, and how I was feeling. Most positively though, the best part about looking back at my videos is that I can see my growth.

I know I said I was done with the self-growth sap, but I tricked you. Fool.

🌱 confidence

If you’ve gathered anything from this post or my blog as a whole, it may be my low-key self-deprecating humor. Much of any self awareness I have rears itself in that way for a multitude of reasons 😅.

As much fun as I have poking fun at myself, making videos for YouTube has taught me that I need to appreciate myself more.

Just the very fact that I’m doing this once unimaginable thing warrants myself a nice pat on the back.

Toiling over even the most apparently insignificant videos has taught me that self-validation is a critical step I need to take before opening myself up to external recognition and critiques. Only I know how much time and effort went into creating a video and the entire thought processes behind certain messages I tried to convey during them, and that brings me some peace and confidence in what I do.

Furthermore, while blogging gave me confidence in my opinions, YouTube has given me even more an incentive to stand by them when it’s my face and whole personhood at the forefront. (More on this later 👀.)

In short, YouTube has completely altered how I see myself.

When you spend hours staring at your face and listening to yourself talk, the change is almost inevitable. Re-watching my old videos never fails to me make me cringe, but I have a new consciousness of how I present myself to the world—and that allows me to carry myself with more self-assuredness these days.

🌱 the nonverbal communication

At last,

after relying on emojis and random gifs to communicate all my facial expressions and constant gestures people can’t see in my blog posts,

it’s so nice just to look into a camera and share that I am, in fact, smiling.

cons

🌱 time, where is it?

Making videos is absolutely time-consuming:

🌱 watch time

No, I didn’t repeat a point 😂. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “watch time”, I was too before I made my channel.

YouTube provides its “content creators” a tool called “YouTube Studio” where they can view their analytics, or video statistics. An important emphasis is always placed on the “watch time” component of their analytics, simply the duration of time people view their videos down to the very second.

YouTube displays the “average watch time” to creators, so they can gauge when people may be clicking off from their videos and work out ways they can forestall that. Watch time is a key determinant of how much YouTube will boost peoples’ videos in the search results as well as recommend them on its homepage and sidebars. All of this to stress that,

people won’t watch your whole video.

When I first realized this, it was quite discouraging. I understood that people would not want to click on my videos in the first place, but it felt almost like a personal blow when people didn’t want to stick around until the end of the video 😅.

My solution: I never check my watch time.

Yes, the statistics can be constructive and inform me on how I can better my content, but years of blogging have taught me I always create the work I’m most proud of, and consequently most well-received, when I forget about numbers and just have fun with it 💃. In any case, I have always remained my number one critic.

🌱 comparison

One of the reasons I was inspired to start my YouTube channel is because I am an avid YouTube watcher 🤓. Some of you may had grew up on Saturday morning cartoons and… walking miles to get to school, but I grew up on Neopets and this darn video-streaming site.

I also lived closed to my school 😂.

These days though, watching YouTube videos feels different because I can’t help but to regard every video I view more critically. Lighting, sound, and the overall production quality of videos were never things I thought of consciously until they were elements I had to pay attention to for my videos.

As a result, I don’t draw the same relaxation and entertainment as I used to from the site because I haven’t been able to quiet the part of my brain that wants to compare my videos to others.

Something, something,… Comparison is the thief of joy or something 😅?

It’s interesting to think about because in all the time I spent blogging, any moments of comparison were relatively few and far between.

My leading theory on this phenomenon are personal insecurities (we must acknowledge those 🤓), but with that the awareness that there’s more things for people to evaluate in a video versus a blog post. There’s the lighting, sound, and overall video production quality I mentioned, but also my looks, voice, what I’m saying, how I’m saying it, and so on.

Sure, I had enough nonchalance to start my channel in the first place, but I’m sure these worries would (and do) nag many of us. It’s a drastic contrast to the comfortable anonymity of blogging where I can wield fancy text, emojis, and gifs like this one as a shield against a scrutinizing gaze:

🌱 it’s all you, buddy

Unlike with blog posts, I don’t have the luxury of editing videos after they’ve been published, which means a couple of things to me.

On one hand, the permanency makes me extra attentive to how my speech and the other components of my videos can be perceived, which is possibly helpful in making me more a considerate communicator. For example, when I express my opinions and beliefs, even if they’re mostly just about books, I find myself closely reflecting over different responses people may have to them which aids me in thinking about books and ideas more intently and feeling more confident in any views I do express.

Nonetheless, when I decided to take the traditional approach in creating my YouTube channel, I had to accept that my face and whole image would be at its front and center.

As a consequence, I am cognizant of how no amount of careful planning, editing, and reviewing of my videos can change how people interpret them and are affected by them. I am effectively accountable for any immutable mistakes I make, which we all are, although certainly not always so publicly.

to recap

The thought of starting a YouTube channel may not phase some people or even cross the minds of many, but I’m sure it still remains a shy idea or point of curiosity in countless others. In one respect, joining the platform can be synonymous with “putting yourself out there”, which is a rightfully scary notion considering the consequences publicly opening oneself up can have on many areas of an individual’s life.

But if there’s any part of you that wants to start a YouTube channel for one reason or another, and you find that your reasons for not are just excuses like mine were, take this as a sign that you should just do it.

Finally doing so may help to positively reframe how you see yourself and strengthen your character. To conclude this thoroughly cheesy post 😅:

you won’t know if you will like it until you try it.


Thanks for reading this far! What are your opinions on YouTube and booktube? Have you ever considered starting a YouTube channel or maybe already have one? Let me know 😄.
Feel free to link your channel down below if you have one 🙂!
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42 thoughts on “Should You Start A Booktube (Book YouTube) Channel? // why i finally made one and some pros and cons based on my first impressions

    1. Thank you so much, Eustacia 😄!! It’s awesome that you pushed yourself to do it! It’s so fun seeing your videos after reading all your tea and book reviews on your blog hahaha 😄.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. to be honest, i don’t think i’m ever gonna start a booktube. i started blogging because i wanted an alternative to booktube, and now i think that i’m never gonna start a booktube channel for the foreseeable future. there are the excuses that everyone gives for not starting a yt channel (shyness, time, etc.), but most of all, i don’t think the platform is for me anymore. i’m way more comfortable sharing my opinion on books through written form and being on the blogosphere. also, to be honest, most (big) booktubers are pretty messy and the platform has it’s fair share of drama. i don’t want to get involved in that lmao.

    that being said, i’m so happy you started a booktube and that you’re having fun for the most part!! i was also so happy to see you in my Reader again 🥺 ah, your discussions posts are so thorough, and the gifs you use are priceless!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s fair! You’re soo right about the drama (idk how there can be so much drama in a /book/ community 🙅🏻‍♀️) and the platform really isn’t the platform for everyone. I’m really glad that you love blogging so much and enjoy sharing your thoughts in writing – there’s really no need to start a booktube ever when you’re so happy here haha 😄.

      Thank you so much, Caitlin!! I’m just trying to do my thing lmaoo 😅. And it felt *so right* finally sitting down and making a blog post hahaha 💛.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post!! Congrats on starting a booktube. I love watching booktube but I can’t imagine making a channel. I guess never say never. At the moment I’m really enjoying blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😄!! Hahaha it’s strange to think about, but yes! Never say never! It’s great that you’re enjoying blogging – that’s really all that matters 🙂.

      Like

  3. Belle! It makes me SO happy you’ve started your YouTube channel, I think that sometimes there are decisions that you just have to make in a leap of faith, I know that it will surely help you a lot to learn new things and expand your potential! I wish you the greatest success in each one of your projects ❤️✨

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is honestly SO inspiring, thank you for this. I always think I’m confident until the moment that I turn a camera on & start filming myself. But, honestly, I should JUST DO IT.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m so glad you thought it was!! I totally get you though – sitting alone in a room and talking to a camera is the strangest thing ever and can really make you question what you’re doing haha 😅. But yes, if you want to do it, just try it out! Feel free to link your channel here if you ever do it hahaha 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Omg I love this post!! I doubt I would start a booktube channel one day because the idea of online people seeing my face . . . . I hate it 😔😔 but I really loved reading your reasons as to why you like and dislike the platform! You’re so right that it’s kind of like a diary, watching random old videos of myself (not on yt) is so interesting even though I cringe so badly 😭 (Also, I haven’t been watching Youtube lately but a couple of weeks ago I watched your video about book blogging and I really enjoyed watching it!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Faith 😄!! It’s not an easy idea and I don’t blame you at all! Hahaha right?! It’s really nice having videos versus just pictures to look back on, but the cringe is so real 😂😭. And thank you so much for watching that, Faith 🥺! It really means a lot 💛!

      Like

  6. Oh my gosh, I LOVE this post so much! I know a couple people who were thinking about doing Booktube, and I’ll definitely pass this on to them. You’ve got so many fantastic tips here.

    The side hustle thing reminding you of exercise about killed me laughing. I’d never thought about it, but ugh, you’re right. Now it feels nasty. xD I really love that doing Booktube has given you more confidence! I’ve never even considered it because, like you said, I tend to think I’m pretty uninteresting, I’m definitely not confident, and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to see my face and listen to me ramble lol.

    Aww man … NEOPETS! I should … log into my account again. That site was my entire teenhood. Sad but true. xD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sammie!! I really hope this post can help them 😄.

      Hahaha, I spent years having coaches yell at me to “hustle”, so that’s probably where I got that association from 😂. And thank you! It really is the strangest thing haha! If it’s worth anything, I find your blog posts interesting and hilarious, and that’s all without seeing your face 😂.

      Oh my gosh 😂 I’m pretty sure our Neopets are starving right now 🙈.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats on starting a channel! I’m glad it’s been good for you, the confidence and new creative outlet are amazing yay! I’ll probably never make a channel lol because I don’t want people to see my face (or my voice… or my room… or…) online lol I hide comfortably behind words on a computer screen on my blog, but I do enjoy watching book tube sometimes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks so much for writing this post – it is such a helpful resource to have. I especially love what you said about starting before you feel ready. I think the idea that you’ll ever feel ready is like the no. 1 myth of adulthood, haha

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fantastic post on booktubing! I’ve reflected on this and just decided that I would always prefer the written form over the verbal one and that the learning curve might be too big for the time being for me to fully dedicate myself as a booktuber hahaha This post pretty much covers all the reasons to or not to do it though. Thanks for sharing, Belle! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lashaan! Hahaha that’s fair! There’s something very satisfying and rewarding in being able to communicate thoughts through writing, and booktubing is definitely proving to take some time to get used to 😅. Thank you for reading this 😄!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a great and very insightful discussion, Belle! I never really stopped to consider booktube, because…. well I know straight away it’s a no from me ahah. I’m just much more comfortable with writing than with the video part of things, I don’t want to show my face for starters ahah and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with talking and with my French accent at all, either. That being said, I’m so happy you’re enjoying your journey and finding new ways to be creative on different medias! I hope you’ll continue loving it all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Marie 💗! Haha that’s all perfectly fine! I can understand what you mean, and I can only imagine how much work a booktube channel would be on top of how much work you already put into your blog 🙂. It really is strange how open having a booktube can be, and I do question what I’m doing sometimes 😂. Thank you so much for the kind words 🥺 – they really mean a lot 💛!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. First off, I just want to object to your claim that you’re adding more “unnecessary” digital noise! I think your voice is very necessary!!
    Second, I love your use of Parks and Rec gifs – spot on :’)

    “I simply didn’t care anymore” is such an unexpectedly motivating sentence and I am so glad you came to that conclusion. I definitely need more of that energy in my life, lol.

    You have some really interesting points on the benefits of starting a channel! I hadn’t really considered the way you could diversify your content – I always figured it was pretty much the same when it comes to wrap ups, hauls etc. But with the rise of reading vlogs, it is clear there is a difference! And it’s great to hear that it has actually had a positive impact on your confidence!

    You know what, good call on not checking your watch time :’)
    Ugh I also hadn’t considered that watching youtube would become less enjoyable, but it makes sense that you would start noticing things like lighting etc.

    Awesome, detailed post Belle!!

    (Also gosh I have to catch up on your videos D: I have about 150 videos on my watch later list and that is not me exaggerating *sweating*)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sabrina, this comment 🥺💓!!

      Thank you so much for that haha – I should really be more positive 😅. And thank you! I remember I used Parks and Recs gifs in another post and you said something about them 😂 – they never fail to serve hahaha.

      Hahaha, I’m glad it could be motivating! I don’t know if you’ve come across her, but there’s a YouTuber named Kelly Stamps who has a video about “how to remain unbothered” or something along those lines, and /that’s/ the energy we need sometimes 😂.

      It really is fun trying out different things! (I also actively try not to post the same things on here and on my booktube, but so far that’s just resulted in me seriously neglecting this blog 😅.) And, what’s watch time? 😅

      Thank you so much, Sabrina 💛!! And that’s really nice of you 🥺 – no rush/pressure though haha! There’s so much stuff out there to watch (my watch later list… I don’t even want to talk about it 😅), and I’m definitely contributing to the mayhem hahaha.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. this was a really interesting post! you really showed the pros and cons of booktube. i haven’t really considered it, especially since i just started a book blog, but you really made me think that maybe this is something i want to do in the future :’) i’m really glad that you gained confidence from making youtube videos ♥ that’s the most important thing and i’m glad you’re having fun ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Richa 😄! That makes me so happy that this post most made you consider doing booktube in the future! And thank you so much 🥺💗!

      Like

  13. Being a non-tech-savy-person, I didn’t know that “watch times” were a thing but that sounds BRUTAL. I would probably cry if I saw that people were clicking away from my video after a few minuets. I guess it takes a special kind of strength to start a Booktube channel. That being said, I think choosing not to check is the best thing you can do! 😅😅😅

    And I LOVED what you said about Booktube giving you some newfound confidence! You hold that head up high, girl! 🙌

    Thank you so much for sharing you experiences with us, sending you a big hug!
    💙 Alexandra

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha it really is 😓!! Now, I finally understand why YouTubers do the most to keep people’s attention 😅. But yes, just pretending watch time doesn’t exist works pretty well too 😂.

      Thank you so much, Alexandra 😭💛!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Wow. This was a really thought-provoking post! I have toyed with the idea of making a YouTube channel sometime in the future, but this really lays any reasons that I would be using out for me. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It makes me SO happy you’re having so much fun with booktube, and highkey gives me a boost of motivation to start ~imagining~ creating one, and I even give myself reasons to do it, such as it’ll help me talk to an audience, it’ll give me editing skills, I’ll learn how to manage another platform, but then reality kicks in, and I have no time, no organizational skills, etc etc. I can’t ask people around me for their opinion, though, both my uncle and a close friend of mine are encouraging me to do it, buuuuuut I have too many questions in my mind!! (why am I so difficult hahah)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HELLO I am so super late to this message, but I love that you’ve started your booktube channel despite all of the things you mentioned here 🥺. You’re such a natural at speaking to the camera! I’m really so happy that this post and video gave you some motivation 💛. Only if you feel like sharing haha, how do you feel about the new platform so far?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YOU’RE THE SWEETEST, BELLE!! ❤ I really am *not* a natural hahaha But I appreciate the encouragement! Thanks again for the motivation!! 😀 So far it's been weird to deal with youtube – I grew fast and then suddenly stopped, which is what I was afraid of, honestly )): But I'm only just starting, so hopefully that will improve. It's been fun to learn how to manage the stats and captions, tho. And it's so frustrating to film lol I have to say the same thing a million times before I get it right XD But I love how the rough draft can become a really cool video at the end!! (even tho editing takes a long time ahhaha)

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Late to this post, but I had such a joy reading it! It’s clear you put a lot of effort and thought into this post, and all the points you brought up made so much sense (as did the accompanying GIFs 😂). I think the biggest concern I have about making videos on YouTube is the thought of showing my face or voice (technically some videos do without this perfectly fine, but still haha) but it definitely can boost confidence! Having another creative outlet (love the way you put it) can be so helpful and nice, and it can be fun to have different platforms for different subjects. Maybe I’ll have a YouTube channel someday…we’ll see! Again, wonderful post, and I wish you an amazing October!! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Eleanor! I’m so glad this all made sense (even the GIFs 😂)! Putting my face out there was definitely the scariest part of it all, but it’s one of those things that I can look back at now and think about how I didn’t have /too/ much to worry about hahaha. And yeah! There’s a channel called Nami’s life that I really like and seems to be doing well, and they never show their face! If you ever start a channel, feel free to link it here if you feel comfortable – I’d love to see it! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me, and I hope you have an awesome October too 😄!

      Like

  17. Thanks for your post!! I’ve been contemplating between booktube & blogging for a while and decided to finally DIVE in even though a have another YouTube channel I wanted to solely focus on books.

    Thanks for sharing you confirmed a lot of my reasons for starting one myself ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad this could be helpful!! Youtube can be a lot of fun, and it’s really great to have the space to just nerd out about books hahaha. Best of luck on your booktube channel 😄💕 !

      Like

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