Taking a Step Into BookTubing: The First of Many Questions


So if you follow me on Twitter, or if you saw my post during Armchair BEA, you’ll see me constantly playing around with the idea of becoming a crossover hit. You know, reaching the top of both the country and pop charts. I’ll be like the next Taylor Swift.

youtubeYouTube has this thing called ‘booktubers,’ a community of vloggers that are passionate about books. I have been watching vlogs for several years now, but had no idea until like this year that there was a special word for those who vlog about books. It seriously had me wondering if there was a different site actually called BookTube.

While I am not particularly funny or talented, I have been wanting to stick a toe in those awkward video waters and give it a try. But the grand question for me is: how?

There are a lot of subsets to that question. If you know the answers to any of these questions or would like to weigh in, please do in the comments!

  1. What kind of camera is best to use for an entry-level vlogger?
  2. What type of set-up is best? Camera up, low, mid? What kind of lighting? What about the backdrop? Is a bookshelf too overdone?
  3. What type of editing software is best for an entry-level vlogger?
  4. Should my channel name be the same as my Twitter handle (deckfullojokers) or my blog (Playing Jokers)?
  5. What are tags?
  6. Who are some good booktubers to start following?
  7. What other resources or questions am I forgetting that would be good to know?

These are questions that I may not get any answers to but it would be great if I did! I plan on posting at least semi-regularly on my journey into being a crossover. :)

pj - michelle

What do you think?

  • Ashley says:

    Disclaimer: I am so not a booktuber! But I know a bit about cameras and stuff so I can try to answer some of your questions. :)

    What kind of camera is best to use for an entry-level vlogger?

    If you’re just starting out and not sure if you’re serious about it yet, you could start off with a webcam. The quality won’t be great, but if you focus on lighting, that can help improve it. But ultimately what you’d want to aim for is a DSLR camera. Some of the lower cost ones would be the Canon 60D, Canon 700D, etc. You’re looking at spending $500-$800 for a really good camera though.

    What type of set-up is best? Camera up, low, mid? What kind of lighting? What about the backdrop? Is a bookshelf too overdone?

    I think ultimately it depends on what you’re doing. I personally prefer shoulders upwards with a shallow depth of field (meaning the focus is on YOU with a blurry backdrop). This isolates you from the background and makes the shot look less busy.

    Natural lighting is always best. Position yourself close to a window. If it’s not bright enough, you can supplement that with lamps.

    What type of editing software is best for an entry-level vlogger?

    Again, I think it depends on what you’re doing. If you’re just cutting and pasting clips, you can use a variety of free or cheaper programs (like iMovie). If you want something more professional or the ability to incorporate more effects, then Adobe Premiere Pro is the best.

    Should my channel name be the same as my Twitter handle (deckfullojokers) or my blog (Playing Jokers)?

    I don’t think there’s a single right way to do this. It depends on your priorities. Are you wanting to start over and create a new brand/identity for yourself? Then go with something new. Or are you wanting to expand your existing brand? Then go with something related to Playing Jokers.

    I’m not a booktuber, but as a photography lover and someone who has taken multiple filming classes, hopefully some of my camera/lighting/setup tips helped. :)

  • Julie S. says:

    Booktubing does sound like a complicated hobby to get into. I’m not into watching them because it is hard to do unless you’re by yourself heh. Don’t want to disturb anyone around me. But I hope you find the answers to your questions.

  • Bunny says:

    I have been booktubing a few years, so here’s my opinions (for what they are worth)

    *What kind of camera is best to use for an entry-level vlogger?*

    ANY works fine! You don’t have to buy a new camera to booktube. Its just your own personal preference. I use a webcam that does HD. It cost a whopping $49.

    *What type of set-up is best? Camera up, low, mid? What kind of lighting? What about the backdrop? Is a bookshelf too overdone?*

    Again, its whatever you prefer. Once you make a few videos, you’ll narrow down more what YOU are most comfortable with. As for lighting, if you can get in front of a window (window at your face, not back) you’ll have amazing lighting and it wont cost you a penny!

    *What type of editing software is best for an entry-level vlogger?*

    You can use the free windows movie maker starting out. Once you are comfortable with that, you’ll start wanting to do things with your vids that movie maker cant. Thats when you should start looking into upgrading software. TRAKAX is what I use, its amazing and CHEAP. There is a video review of it on my personal channel (BUNNYCATES) if you want to check it out.

    *Should my channel name be the same as my Twitter handle (deckfullojokers) or my blog (Playing Jokers)?*

    If you CAN do it that way, I would. It makes it easier for people to find you everywhere, if your name is the same everywhere.

    *What are tags?*

    Two types of tags. ONE is the keyword thing on the video description. Just like a blog posts keywords. The other is like the game. Someone makes a video of a certain topic and then TAGS other booktubers to do the same video. “I did mine now TAG, you’re it” type of deal.

    *Who are some good booktubers to start following?*

    OOO, this is a loaded question. It really depends on what types of book videos you are looking for. Some channels more focus on reviews, others focus more on book info. You know, just like there are different kinds of book blogs….

    *What other resources or questions am I forgetting that would be good to know?*

    Read up on copyright law for media, so you know what you can and cant include in your videos. Then, look in the mirror and remind yourself how amazing you are – and start filming! Booktube is a great community, but there will always be a few kinks getting going, ya know. When you start feeling down that you dont have billion subscribers, remind yourself WHY you started making videos in the first place. Its something we all go through,

    Good luck! Just be yourself and YOU WILL BE AMAZING!

  • […] Michelle has some questions about book tubing. […]

  • […] over a year now I have been flirting with the idea of becoming a vlogger and even once uploaded videos that I have since deleted out of shame, but you may have noticed […]

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