Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Pay for the Books I Review

Tracing back some links to the origin and then disseminating it further.

Apparently the Federal Trade Commission has revised its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials. Basically bloggers (not print reviewers) would be required to disclose any "compensation" or "endorsement" of product. So for all the bloggers out there who receive free books from publishers, in the hopes of a review, or bloggers who have advertisements for books (I suppose they mean ads for the book in questioned that reviewed) on their blog.

In response to these new guidelines, Edward Champion spoke with Richard Cleland, who works with the Bureau of Consumer Protection, via telephone. They had a "civil, but heated" conversation wherein Champion asked Cleland about the new guides.

Some issues received less than clearly defined answers, while Champion updates his interview to add a few points that weren't asked.

It's an interesting article, and informative for even the casual review blogger. The new Guides are effective December 1, 2009.

For myself, I only blog books I already own, or borrow from the library. I am a very casual reviewer. But I wouldn't mind receiving books for free to review, and I know there are plenty of bloggers who are lucky enough to receive books from publishers. For them, come December 1, they'll be required to, at the very least, state they are receiving books for free, or linking to Amazon. And one might be able to mention it once, or every single time they post a review. And if one doesn't do this, the consequences will be...

We're not sure yet. In the post, Cleland says they wil be focusing more on advertisers than individual bloggers, in terms of enforcing the new guidelines. Which doesn't make so much sense to me, if one of their main concerns is reviewers receiving free books as "compensation."

Champion is updating the article with new information (he emailed Cleland with a question and will also update with a reply), so I'll try to check back there and see if there's any new information to pass along.

Thanks to writtenwyrrd for the first mention.

Happy writing,


writtenwyrdd said...

I actually got it from Ellen Datlow's post yesterday (link on my blog post). This is really bizarre, seeing as ARCs are generally kept by book reviewers at newspapers --unless they give them away on their own!

To my mind, they are focusing on the wrong end of the horse, because bloggers have no vested interest (99% of us, anyhow) in making publishers and authors happy with our mentions of their books. We mention what we like or suggest avoiding.

But reading this paper of theirs sounds like people like me who aren't being sent ARCs by the publisher or author, but who blog about books we've won are still required to post a disclaimer! Especially if we have a link to amazon or barnes & noble! *eye roll*

So I stuck a disclaimer on my blog until we hear that they've decided they are idiots. Or rather when someone smacks them down for being idiots.

Sabrina said...

Yeah, I followed your link to Datlow's and from hers to Champion's article/interview. But I saw it on your blog first, so you get the mention.

It's strange, too, because Cleland says they aren't going to look at individual bloggers. And the ad thing--I know some reviewers who (seem to) use Amazon links just as a means of linking readers to the book, not necessarily for them to receive compensation for the links.

And even though I wrote for a college paper, we were allowed to keep any book or cd we reviewed, and we did get free passes to see films. It's just really ill-thought out.