Bookish Musings: Why Spoilers Can Be a Good Thing

 
 

The other day I went to submit a review to a website and saw there was a rule about no spoilers… which my review had. I understand the reason for the rule, and they said I could include the spoilers as long as I hid them when I posted publicly, so it was fine! But it did get me thinking about why spoilers can be a good thing sometimes.

I’m someone who avoids spoilers, for the most part. But, as long as they’re hidden or warned about and people have a choice whether to see them or not, I do think they can be a good thing. And even I find them useful on occasion. So let’s discuss it!


It Can Be Comforting to Know How Things Will Turn Out

This isn’t one of my personal reasons, I like the tension of not knowing. But some readers like to know how things will turn out so that they don’t have to worry and feel stressed while reading.

Spoilers Can Make Someone More Interested

Maybe someone isn’t interested in a book, thinks it won’t really be for them, but then they read a spoiler, and it just so happens that particular detail makes them interested. It’s happened to me numerous times.

Sometimes There’s Something Specific You Want to Know

Sometimes there’s something you want to know, and it just so happens that thing is a spoiler. For example, when my favorite character in a book died, I sought out spoilers for the next book to see if he would come back (it was not out of the question in this series). When I found out he would in fact make an appearance in the book, I decided to continue the series. For another example, lots of people want to know if the dog dies in books that feature a dog. For one more example, sometimes I just want to know if there are vampires, and I don’t care if it’s a spoiler!

Trigger Warnings Help People

Sometimes there is content in a book that is a common trigger, and it might also be a spoiler. But there are people with PTSD or trauma who need to know about it ahead of time in order to avoid flashbacks, panic attacks, or other mental health crises. (I know trigger warnings are a point of contention, but just like other spoilers, they can be hidden and/or marked, and no one is harmed by their inclusion!)

Spoilers Can Generate Discussion

Spoilers are great for people who’ve already read the book and want to know what other people thought or discuss things. I often check out reviews after I read a book. This can be especially fun with incomplete series, to speculate about mysteries or things to come and see other people’s speculations. And my reviews with whole spoiler sections seem to be the ones I get the most interaction with from strangers. These people and I would never have found each other in order to have a private conversation, but because I posted these spoiler-filled thoughts online, we had the chance to connect over something we both loved or felt strongly about.

But Spoilers Should Always Be Marked or Hidden!

Remember, if you’re going to include spoilers, please hide them or clearly mark them and give people enough warning to avoid them! (E.g. Don’t say, “Spoiler warning, Mark dies!” because you can already see the “Mark dies” part by the time you’ve registered the spoiler warning.)

Some sites, like Goodreads, have ways to hide them with HTML or something similar.

On blogs, if you can’t use plugins or don’t know how to code, you can give warning and then put the spoilers in their own separate paragraph or section, or you can use HTML to make the text transparent and tell people to highlight it to reveal the spoilers.

Amazon has no way to hide text, so I usually just remove spoilers when I post there, or I give a warning at the start of the review if I feel they’re too important to be removed.

I don’t know, this isn’t a post about how to hide spoilers, just try to be careful with them!

In Summary

I say we should appreciate spoilers, as long as they’re adequately hidden or warned about, because someone out there may want them. (And as long as you’re doing so in your own space, or in a space where spoilers have been invited. Certain websites, blogs, etc. may have their own rules.) Ultimately I think having the option to see them helps both readers and writers.

 
 
 
 

Talk to me!

Do you personally like or ever seek out spoilers?
Do you have any other reasons why spoilers can be a good thing?

 
 
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Your Thoughts

 

22 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: Why Spoilers Can Be a Good Thing

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  1. Greg

    I agree with all of this. Plus I love spoilery discussions about certain books- it’s fun to be able to talk about spoilery stuff because that’s half the fun if you really like a book (or, um, dislike it lol). So yeah… I mean, yeah they need to be clearly marked, of course. But done right they can definitely help someone know sometimes if a book is for them, as you point out.

  2. Suza

    I think you’re right about spoilers. I too have picked up books because of something I read – when I probably wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise.
    Spoilers are a bit like reading the last page first – because if the dog, or Mark, are going to die, then I might not be in the mood to read it.
    I try not to give spoilers in my reviews and hiding them is a good idea so people have the choice.

  3. ShootingStarsMag

    I do think these are all great reasons that sometimes spoilers aren’t such a bad thing! I have a friend that kind of hates not knowing what will happen in a series – when the books are already out – and she’ll look up spoilers. hah

    -Lauren

  4. Mint

    I hate surprises so spoilers are fantastic, especially if i’m not sure I’m going to enjoy the book. And just because I vaguely know some spoilers about how the book unfolds doesn’t mean I know how the book is going to unfold, or when that particular spoiler moment happens. So there’s still some suspense there.

  5. Karen

    I would never spoil someone else (unless they asked) but I like them. I even skim the last page a lot (eek!).

    I can relax more if I know certain things and it doesn’t ruin anything for me. I do just skim and I still have no idea how everything gets to that point.

    I was doing a movie buddy watch today and there was a tiny old dog and I was like OH NO!! We paused and I googled to makes sure it didn’t die lol (it didn’t – it needed surgery but lived)

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

  6. Angela

    I’m one of those people who actively seeks out spoilers! Even if it’s a book I’m not going to read, if I know there’s some massive twist that everyone’s buzzing about, I want to know what it is! I think the trigger warning aspect is pretty important.

  7. Ann

    There have been studies showing that people are more interested in a book if they hear the spoilers for it. There are some genres like mystery and thrillers that best to go in blind.

  8. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    Definitely agree with everything you’ve said here. While spoilers should always be clearly marked, there are real reasons that some people want to seek them out. And there have been times when I’ve been spoiled about something and it actually turned out to be… good. Like, it made me more interested in the book/movie, etc. I don’t know that it would ALWAYS work that way, but it can.

    1. Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)

      No, not always, but sometimes! Cool to know I’m not the only one that’s happened to. And even if I accidentally learn a spoiler for a book I already want to read, I don’t think it’s ever stopped me from reading it anyway.