Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Where Do Your Books Come From?

It seems as if there's a whole lot of talk going on in the blogosphere lately about book bloggers getting free books from publishers and how that affects the honesty of their reviews. Apparently, there are people out there that believe that some (most?) book bloggers only blog about their reading in order to get these free books. And maybe some do. But I don't.

I have WAY too many books sitting around in my house just waiting to be read for me to worry about where my next book is coming from. But that doesn't mean that I don't occasionally accept books from publishers to be reviewed. I do. But, I have to admit, I've become really, really picky about which books I choose. This is not becuase I don't want to write a bad review and possibly alinate the publisher. It's mostly becuase I don't want to waste my precious reading time reading a book I don't like!

I also get some of the books I read at author signings for the Tampa Area Romance Authors (TARA). This is my local chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America). I've been wondering for a while now about the best way to let readers of Passion for the Page know that the book I'm reviewing is written by an author that I actually know. A couple of days ago, I decided to make a little icon that I can put into each review of a TARAn author's book. You can see it in the right-hand sidebar (it has flamingos on it). This is not to say that I wouldn't write a negative review about one of these author's books. I would, if I finished the book. But I do not write reviews of books that I don't finish. And I don't generally finish books I don't like.

Having said that, however, I do mention books I've abandoned in my monthly wrap-ups. Does that mean that these are bad book? Not really. In my opinion, it just means that the book wasn't doing it for me at that time. You could very well see a book that I abandoned one month show up reviewed with a realitively high rating in some other month. And then again, you may never see that book title show up on Passion for the Page ever again. I am a moody reader. I can't help it.

I am not a professional blogger. I am not a professional book reviewer. I do this for fun. It is my hobby. I like to read and talk about books. I like to promote books that I like and the authors who write them. If an occasional publisher wants to throw a free book my way, great. You'll always know it was a free book from the publisher because I'll tell you it's an advanced reading copy (ARC) and I'll thank the publisher for sending it to me.

But here's the bottom line: No matter how I come by a book--whether it's been sitting on my shelves for years, or I know the author personally, or a publisher sends me an ARC of a book that is about to come out--I will write the most honest review of that book that I can. And, as always, that review will be my personal, subjective opinion.

So what do you think about book bloggers recieving free books? Do you think it sways their reviews? Does it make them less trustworthy in your eyes?


Jeane said...

I feel about it exactly the same way you do. I've gotten very very picky about the books I accept now, too - not that there ever were very many- and found that most of them I don't like that much...

Anonymous said...

I think the free books things is just a bonus. I just like writing reviews and reading and learning about different books out there. I get the majority of my books from libraries and have a steady slow trickle of arcs and books from publishers. It will never sway my review. If they don't like my opinion perhaps they should not have asked for mine in the first place :)

Carpoolqueen (formerly known as Beth) said...

I tend to feel the same way you do. I read and blog as a hobby. I'm not a professional reviewer, as anyone would know from my blog. But i'd hate to say something really awful. I've been offered a couple of books, but mostly they are a genre that I don't really read.