The Essential Book Blog: The Complete Bibliophile's Toolkit for Building, Growing and Monetizing Your On-Line Book-Lover's Community (Brinestone Guides) (Volume 1) Book Cover The Essential Book Blog: The Complete Bibliophile's Toolkit for Building, Growing and Monetizing Your On-Line Book-Lover's Community (Brinestone Guides) (Volume 1)
Ken J. Howe PhD
Brinestone Press;
November 17, 2013
Papeback, Kindle

The Essential Book Blog is meant for the book lover who wishes to write book reviews and start a book blog. Although some of the links to many resources included in this book appear to be outdated, the book contains a lot of information to help a beginner book blogger. It also has materials that will serve those who have already created a blog and want to know how to establish a network of bibliophiles, reviewers and publishers which will work to their advantage, how to get more visitors or to earn money to compensate for the efforts they put in creating and maintaining a blog.

The book explains clearly and at the outset the importance and value of the book reviewer in the ‘book community’. But some of the arguments like when it is said that the habit of reading is on the rise or that ‘people have gotten quite wealthy blogging about books’ are open to question. Book bloggers may indeed be wealthy but not in material terms. Who will deny that reading a book, writing a book review and even creating a book blog entail a slow and hard grind — thousands of hours of lonely work and very little success in the end unless you consider the very acts of reading, thinking and writing as supremely beneficial ends in themselves? The real benefit of all these activities is to gain from the cumulative experience of the human mind expressed in books and a progressively deeper understanding of human life.

The Essential Book Blog has sections on the review writing process with detailed explanation of how to review books belonging to different literary genres. It demonstrates how to write descriptive or critical reviews and it also includes a very interesting chapter on what to do when you have to review a book that you didn’t like. The techniques of writing a negative review have been discussed with ideas as to how to ‘insulate the criticisms with positive remarks’ so as to appear less harsh.

The rest of the book has suggestions and recommendations on creating a  blog, growing an online presence, networking with the various partners of the book community, how to obtain free books and how to earn money from your book blog. Here the writer has gone a little overboard and offers suggestions of reviewing products other than books. Is this digression necessary in a book dedicated entirely to the review of books?

The Essential Book Blog deals with a very important niche topic and there is a ready need for such a book. However, the authors may consider bringing out a second edition now that five years have passed after its first publication. While doing so the links to various sites need to be updated and error such as what we have in the quoted sentence below that completely changes the meaning, should be rectified:”Most amateur book reviewers share their opinions as a hobby and are content to run their website or blog as such with (sic.) monetary remuneration of any sort.” [Part VI – …Paid is Better; 2nd paragraph]