Obligations of book reviewers.

Mark Athitakis sums it up:

Earlier this week the FTC released new guidelines on how bloggers must disclose their relationships with commercial entities. I haven’t spent much time thinking about this—unlike smart people who have—mainly because I suspect any battle between the gummint and bloggers will attack women and children first. Relatively speaking, me and my modest stack of advance reader’s copies aren’t worth anybody’s attention and trouble. I’ve always considered ARCs as a tool to do my job, not some great prize; I receive them, but, like editors at newspaper book reviews, I feel no particular obligation to review them, acknowledge their existence, or announce their provenance if I do get around to mentioning them.

I received a review copy – the finished book, not an ARC – the other day that the publisher paid over $20 to have shipped to me. I feel no obligation whatsoever to name it, or to attempt to review it (as it’s likely way over my head, and I would not do the book the justice it may well deserve) despite the outlandish expense incurred to send it to me. It’s one of many, and there are only so many hours in the day. It will likely get passed on to a reviewer at Identity Theory.

You know Mark is on the straight and narrow, because if he was making any profit whatsoever from ARCs, he wouldn’t be drinking Folgers. No way


One Reply to “Obligations of book reviewers.”

  1. I feel the same way you do. I don’t accept every ARC that comes my way–only the ones I’d actually want to read. And it may be a while before I actually get around to reading something. Those forty-hour workweeks really cramp my reading style. (Alternately, I don’t feel a need to mention every book I buy or read.)

    My question is, for fining purposes, how is the FTC going to determine an ARC vs. a purchased book? I just finished reading MH’s new release “Drunk.” And it was an amusing little book. I could’ve purchased it. It could’ve been sent to me by the publisher. I won’t say yet, to illustrate my point. Does the FTC want us to post receipts in order to make sure we bought a book or paid library fines on it? Jesus H.

    By the way, I bought “Drunk.” Some of my money went to MH, not the other way around. The FTC can kiss my ass.

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