{DISCUSSION} Spoilers in Book Reviews

To spoiler or not to spoiler a book review:
that is the question!

Ah. The dreaded spoiler. They exist in books, movies, tv shows, etc, etc. They’re everywhere and for those who are up-to-date, they’re amazing! They are required for full-on, fleshed-out conversations about your favorite series.

However, for the person who’s fallen behind, they’re dreadful! You haven’t gotten there yet! You don’t want to know who dies or who’s actually a villain! You need to find out for yourself and feel all the feels like it’s the first time. :p

Book Reviews in particular

But let’s narrow it down for this week’s discussion to spoilers in book reviews because this is a big discussion. As discussed last week, there are many different times to read book reviews and many different reasons to read book reviews. It’s because of that which makes writing book reviews so hard. Do you write them for the potential reader or the one who’s already finished the series? Only upon answering this can you determine whether to put spoilers into your review. For now, let’s look at the pros and cons of spoilers in book reviews.

Pros

After much debating you’ve come to the conclusion that you just can’t leave out the plot twist. It has to go in your book review, which means your book review will contain spoilers. Great! That’s awesome! Don’t forget your ‘spoiler alert’ sign before the spoilers so you don’t anger any potential book-readers.

Now, for those who have read the book and are looking at other reviews, spoilers are awesome! They’re a good opportunity to really delve into the book, to really discuss, to really get into the changes of the characters and the plot without having to censor one’s self. That’s what these readers want: ‘You hate when the main character did that in the second to last chapter, too?! Awesome! Let’s chat!’

Cons

On the other hand, when you put spoilers into your review, you’re designing it for a certain type of reader: those who have already read the book. Those who haven’t read the book aren’t going to want to know what happens. They’re likely reading the review to get an idea of whether or not they even want to read the book, but you blabbing about it all over your book review means they don’t have to anymore. They already know what happens.

This can be difficult for people who want to bring in a variety of different readers. You could always put up a ‘spoiler warning’ for those who haven’t read the book, but then the potential reader may not even touch the book review and just look elsewhere.

So, you’re left with not having any spoilers in your book review and only discussing the bare minimum of the book, things that won’t anger anyone if they knew about them before reading the book. But will that satisfy your desire to discuss the book? Or is your book review for the purpose of enticing new readers to the book?

That’s where the real question lies: who are you writing your book reviews for? For yourself? Awesome! Do whatever you like to do. For discussion? Great! Throw in them spoilers (but always put a spoiler warning) and get discussing! For new, potential readers? Fantastic! Keep it at face value and tell them what was good and what wasn’t.

What do you think about spoilers in book reviews?
Let me know in the comments below!


And check out last week’s discussion:
When to read book reviews


If you have the time, please fill out my 7-question book review survey!
I’d love your opinions to improve my book reviews for you!

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16 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Spoilers in Book Reviews

  1. This is an interesting topic! I generally avoid spoilers, as sometimes I know it can be tempting to read them instead of the book. But when I do use them, I’m always sure to mark them very clearly! Like you say, it just depends on the kind of audience you’re going for: Before or after you’ve read the book?
    -Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I got to the part at the end that said, “Who are you writing your book reviews for?” I was like, “Myself!” And then I saw that was actually the next thing that you wrote lol. But that is, in fact, why I just write each one however I want. I try to avoid spoilers if I can. If I have something I really want to mention but can say it in a vague way that gives nothing away to anyone who hasn’t read it but that can be understood by people who have, I’ll do that. But if I have something I really want to discuss, that I want to include in case there’s anyone who’s read it and wants to see my thoughts, I’ll just include it and put it in a hidden spoiler tag. And sometimes there are certain spoilers that I think some readers might want to know before reading (like I have one review coming up in which the book seemed like it would be about X creature, but it was actually about Y creature), so I’ll sometimes include those too, but always hidden!

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    1. Ah! So it sounds like you post your reviews to Goodreads mostly, yes? Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t have an awesome spoilers tag. I wish it did! :p That would make things so much simpler because you could hide all your spoilers super easy. But it’s because we can’t do this on WordPress that I brought this to the table for discussion. ^.^

      Quick question for you, Kristen, when you put the spoilers that you think readers would want to know, do you still put a spoiler warning in case they don’t want to know?

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      1. I prefer to put my spoiler text in white. I don’t like it when someone does something like SPOILERS and then lists the spoiler like 2 lines down. It might just be me, but i’m already seeing those two lines by the time SPOILERS has registered in my brain. But by white texting it, people have to make the conscious decision to highlight the text to see what it says.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm… if I were to put spoilers in a post, I’d rather make it either a discussion thread or a separate spoiler review! As much as possible, I write my reviews not just for myself, but for others! To get their attention and make them read what I loved. Although spoilery reviews can be very helpful for oneself to remember how they exactly felt for the book, and it can also be a recap when you need it for the next book. 🙂
    Anywhooo, if I’m being honest, sometimes I don’t even read my friends’ reviews that much. Skim it, most likely because I fear for even the littlest spoilers. Sometimes other bloggers arent aware that they do slip tiny important details. Especially quotes. Sometimes I don’t like it when others write quotes from the book they just reviewed. 😦
    But yes— I respect that most bloggers would like to share what they think, and that they would want to support their views and opinions with details from the book, and that’s perfectly fine! Just indicate before anything else that there will be spoilers in said review. Courtesy to the person reading it, I guess. 🙂

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    1. Mm. I like your opinion, Allie. I have been wondering about the quotes thing lately, to be honest. I have seen it in quite a few reviews, but I’ve never done it myself and I was debating it, but you make a good point. Those quotes are vital to the book and they can give away serious plot points. That’s a no-no. Tsk tsk!

      I have taken to trying a new book review style this month and I’m curious to see what people think of it. I love putting spoilers in because it does allow me to remember everything about the book and to really delve into the parts I love and/or hate. However, it isn’t fair for other readers. So, I’m trying to keep spoilers out of my reviews and if I do put them in, then they will be very well marked and even striked through. I don’t want to upset anyone because I know how much I hate spoilers (though I end up seeing them on twitter and facebook sigh)

      Thank you for joining the discussion, Allie! I really loved the point you brought up about quotes and I hope you bring such insight again in future discussions! ^.^

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  4. Hmmm. I think I’ve read book reviews for all the reasons stated above. And then sometimes you start a book and it just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere so you want to know if it ever picks up or if you are wasting time. I think in such times other people’s opinions come in handy. I tend to be one of the people who reads my reviews before I’ve read the book so unlabeled spoilers are very frustrating. Usually all I’m looking for is the general opinion of the plot from someone else who read it. Was it something they couldn’t put down or did the plot go nowhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huh. I’ve never looked to what others say when I’m not sure a book is going anywhere. That’s a very interesting idea. Thank you for letting us know. ^.^

      But I agree! Unmarked spoilers are the worst! It makes it nearly impossible to trust book reviews after something like that. sigh

      Thank you for joining the discussion! I loved your unique opinion and I hope you offer it again in future discussions. ^.^

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