Monday, October 12, 2009

FTC Post

Ok, many of you are book folk so you probably have noticed links to the new FTC guidelines regarding bloggers. I honestly don't know if book bloggers are targeted. My understanding is that the new rules would apply to bloggers receiving compensation to review products and who may be reviewing said products falsely -- promising results from the product that are not typical.

To my mind, this would mean diet pills, workout machines, and anything else that would result in some sort of "results."

For those of you who don't know yet, book reviewers receive free copies of books from publishers in the hopes that the reviewers will review them. And now some book bloggers do as well. (And booksellers and librarians receive them in hopes that they will read the books and tell their customers all about the great new title that they must read.)

Because the book world is and always has been driven by word of mouth, this has been a good deal. I do receive some of my books free. I review for Bookbitch.com, however, and any book that I receive for free is for the purpose of reviewing on that site. I would love to be one of those book bloggers who receives free books to post reviews on their BLOG but mine doesn't have the readership that some of the others do.

Bookbitch does have the readership, however, so I receive books as one of the reviewers. I am under no obligation to review, positively, negatively, or otherwise, the titles that I receive. I feel a personal/professional obligation to read and review any and all books that I have the time for. It's simple, I want to keep reviewing and I want publishers to send me books, so I try to do my best to reciprocate by reviewing the books -- this gets the books readers' attention.

Whether I give it a positive or negative review doesn't matter. I'm not compensated in any way. Publishers won't call me up and complain about a bad review. Each review is my own personal opinion.

That said, I use this blog as an outlet to get the word out about books that I enjoy. I was able to do this as a bookseller, but I'm not a bookseller anymore. Back to the word of mouth thing. If there are a dozen books being released a week, that means that there are oodles of things for readers to choose from. In my experience as a bookseller, I saw plenty of people who headed for old favorites without browsing, or who were afraid to try something they were unfamiliar with. Word of mouth works and I am passionate about books.

I hope that anyone reading my blog realizes that if I say a book is good, it is my opinion. You are within your rights to dislike it. But that's the fun about reading something new. You try it, you don't like it, you move on. Or, you try it, you love it, you look for more by that author and add them to you "must buy" lists. It's that simple.

So, in order to cover my butt, I will add a disclaimer to the sidebar of my blog. And I guess I'll start indicating which books I've received and which books I've purchased. It won't be obnoxious, but it will be there.

And know this, every book posted on my blog has a positive review. I do not use my blog for reviews per se, those can all be found at www.bookbitch.com, I use my blog to make recommendations to readers. Again I reiterate, I am not compensated for my reviews -- I receive no money for reviews posted either here or on the bookbitch site. Any links, notifications, or advertisements that I post here are solely for your pleasure. They might be things I find interesting, things I think you will find interesting, or things that I think will give you more info (if you want it), but it's all up to my whim and fancy.

For more info on the FTC guidelines, here's a link to a fantastic post on bostonbibliophile.com.


Cheryl said...

Very nice post. I have been following some about the FTC guidelines and I will be also posting a blank statement on my blog as well as disclosing when I receive a book.

I am one of those bloggers who do receive books to review on my blog but I am lucky to be able to post my honest opipions and this is why publishers contact me for my honesty.

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

The law hasn't passed yet. I'm not sure if it will. TV and magazines don't have the same reporting requirements-- the only reason why bloggers are being targeted is that they are an easier target. I don't know. We'll have to see how the law goes.

Marie said...

Thanks for the shout out and linking to the post on my blog. I enjoyed reading yours as well! :-)