A friend drew my attention to the aforementioned blog recently, so I thought it appropriate to write about some of the issues raised. This is not, however, a bid to raise controversy or heated debate!
Aarti discusses the growing number of books provided free to bloggers by publishing houses in exchange for a review published to said bloggers’ blogs. S/he concludes by asking:
Does this system bother you, or am I just a drama queen? Do you also feel that sometimes blogs are manipulated to create artificial hype? Do you like the blog tour system? Do you feel it’s unfair to the smaller presses?
Let me say firstly that I don’t read many book blogs. I used to but found that it left me less time for reading while creating an enormous desire to purchase new books which my finances had no hope of ever satisfying. This didn’t lead to a content mind-set so I stopped. Yes, sometimes I make mature decisions. At other times, I behave like a brat! Because I don’t read the blogs, I haven’t experienced the situation Aarti describes of reading many reviews of the same (free) book. But I can see how this would get old very quickly. And, yes, it does create a hype which the book may or may not deserve. Unfortunately, this is the world in which we live – money buys advertising, advertising results in more sales, more sales generate more money … and round we go again. And it is unfair to those who start the cycle with less. Books and blogs are not the only example – how many times have you heard a song ‘played to death’ on the radio?
I’m selfish. I love books and have limited funds. I also enjoy reviewing and blogging. So I do accept books from publishers – sometimes they approach me and sometimes I approach them – and I’m not going to stop anytime soon. In this respect, I’m a biased reviewer – I don’t accept books I don’t fancy reading, based on the information I have available. But I am honest – if I hate a book or can’t finish it then I say so. And I also go out and buy many, many more books than I am offered in return for a review. So the smaller presses also have a chance.
My reviews here will always state it if I book was given to me in exchange for the review. No one has to accept a book from a publisher and no one has to read the resulting review.