Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hmm. What Would I Do For A Book Right About Now?

Many bloggers have been linking to and commenting upon the Interview with the FTC's Richard Cleland at Edward Champion's Reluctant Habits. I found two things particularly interesting about the interview.

1. Over the past year or so there's been a lot of discussion in the kidlitosphere about whether or not book review sites should accept arcs and books from publishers. Could it be perceived as payment for services rendered and thus make the reviews appear biased? It wasn't unusual to see bloggers writing, "What? Do people think I can be bought with a book?" Well, evidently the FTC thinks you can. "If, however, you held onto the unit, then Cleland insisted that it could serve as “compensation.” You could after all sell the product on the streets." "“If a blogger received enough books,” said Cleland, “he could open up a used bookstore.”"

Though that sounds laughable, I do think that I read years ago that Dorothy Parker sold books she was sent for review. For what that's worth.

2. "Cleland insisted that when a publisher sends a book to a blogger, there is the expectation of a good review." My first thought when reading this was, Gee, I wouldn't have known that. My second thought was that I don't think this guy understands publishing. I think publishers send books to bloggers hoping to get any kind of coverage at all. My third thought was that maybe this guy was right. Given that so many bloggers have policies of only recommending books at their sites, publishers may very well have expectations of receiving good reviews when they send them review copies. It doesn't necessarily follow that the books they send are some kind of payment for said good reviews.

I have to say, this whole thing makes me very happy that Original Content is merely a me, me, me author blog and not a review site.

Colleen at Chasing Ray suggests the new FTC rules regarding what is considered compensation for blog reviews will "likely mean the end of receiving ARCs or review copies from publishers. With the ever shrinking print review sections in newspapers and magazines, the negative impact on publishing is obvious."

Stay tuned.



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