Adventures in Reading

Unnerved: honesty & the book blogger pt. 2
October 12, 2008, 8:41 am
Filed under: thoughtful | Tags: , , , , , ,

I was absolutely thrilled by the response to my thinking postUnnerved: honesty & the book blogger,” though it does appear that I may have tread on at least a few toes. With so many interesting and thought-provoking comments, I wanted to respond:

When I was offered my first free book to review I was thrilled. It was an unexpected pay-off for blogging about books, and I loved it. But increasingly I’m aware, and hearing this in various forms, that merely accepting a free book presents some type of dilemma. If nothing else, people seem to feel a little odd when it comes to reviewing books that were given to them by an author or publisher that they would not feel towards a book they purchased or got from the library.

So the first issue I’m thinking about is (1) whether or not to even accept free materials, and then (2) whether or not to announce to blog readers that said book was free.

I only accept books that have caught my attention prior to the offer or that sound like something I would enjoy, and I do think it’s a worthy venture to express when a book was given to you to review.

Kimbofo from Reading Matters provided me with some stellar links continuing this discussion in regards to book blogger “code of conduct” as well as listing your reviewing standards on your blog.

What it comes down to for me (and thank you for everyone pointing this out!) is that while free books are great, and most publishers and authors certainly deserve reader respect, I am doing them a favor. Be honest, which doesn’t mean being cruel (either to the author or other readers who do enjoy the work) but does allow for diversity of opinion. Allow your reading audience and friends to be aware of your take, respect your own opinion. Don’t allow authors or publishers to push you around on reading due dates or negative opinions. Book blogging is fabulous but hard work, stand up for yourself and don’t allow something that should be entertaining and fun to become a grueling process.


You said it perfectly in your last paragraph. I have to thank you for bringing this issue up and making me stop to think about it.

I’m not going to let myself feel guilty about disliking a book anymore. Yes, blogging is a hobby, but what we do still deserves respect, and there’s just something unacceptable about an author sending hate mail to a blogger who posts a negative review of their book.

So, again, thank you for making us all think about these issues.

Comment by Nymeth

I’m grateful for your bringing up these ethical issues. I have in fact printed out your last post and pinned it on my clipboard.

Book blogging, after all, is a serious hobby that does the favor of authors, as well as sharing with the like-minded how we feel about books and reading. Honest opinions should always be appreciated.

Comment by Matthew

Thanks for the cogent discussion and the links. It sounds like the upshot is that if you discuss a book you got for free, you should begin by saying who sent it to you and why. Simple enough.

Comment by Jeanne

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