Wednesday, October 07, 2009

New FTC regulations regarding book reviews

Some new regulations have a lot of book reviewers in an uproar. The gist of it is that from now on, book reviewers have to make a statement in their review saying that they received the book for free, since the FTC sees this free book, apparently, as "payment" for writing a review.

This brings me to some things I want to address.

I started this blog so I'd have a place to post my book reviews. At first I was just posting reviews of books that I'd bought, read, and liked. But soon authors and publicists started sending me free books. Sometimes I agree to post something about the book on my blog, but more often than not, I receive the books without me even knowing they're being sent. And I'm on "the list" of some authors, which gets me a free copy of each of their new books just before it releases.

You may have noticed that I never post negative reviews, that all my reviews are positive. The reason for this is very simple. I don't write reviews on the books I don't like. So if you read a review of mine talking about how much I loved a book, you can trust it. If I say I loved it, I really loved it, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I received the book for free! When I agree to post something about a book on my blog, if I didn't read the book, or I started the book but didn't like it, I will post some information about the book, post the link to purchase the book, but I won't review the book. I don't do negative reviews, but neither am I going to lie and say I loved it when I didn't.

So from now on, I will let you know if I received the book for free when I post a review. I don't know why you'd care, but since I don't want to be fined $11,000, I will post that little disclaimer! But I also want you to know that I get tons of books that I never even read, or I start reading but because I'm not crazy about the book, or I have other things I'd rather read, I never post a review about them. When a publicist sends me a book, it doesn't mean I feel obligated to read it or write a positive review about it. Because I don't. I'll read it if I want to. If I don't, I won't!

Anyway, that's all I want to say about that!


Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

Melanie ~

You're so funny! I know this is supposed to be "serious", but it annoys me tremendously!

I completely agree with your POV, even though I'm not getting "tons" of free books in the mail. LOL *sigh*

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

~ Lori

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter said...


You know my thoughts on this from my postings on the ACFW book club loop. Thank you so much for letting your readers know about this too.

I really don't think we need bureaucrats regulating every minutia of our lives. Your post was well written and professional. Thanks so much.

Tiffany Colter

Susanne Dietze said...

Wow, this is amazing. Another example of how the misbehavior of a few now affects us all. Thanks for the post.

Carole said...

I appreciate your post and totally agree with you, Melanie. I didn't realize there was a problem and don't understand the reasoning behind the new FTC regulations, though. And I appreciate your honest reviews, by the way!


Debra E Marvin said...

Nice explanation, Melanie. You know I brought that point up a few months ago about reading reviews and you assured me just as you've said today. I would hate to think a reviewer is not being honest about their feelings but I suppose it happens.

I guess the gov't is trying to find ways to economize, heh? Now that the national debt has tripled in the last 10 months. And apparently they can afford to pay someone to track down you wily book reviewers now!! ha ha.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

really, it's all a little silly. but i'm going to do the same thing. it just seems like everything's overregulated! *sigh*

The Character Therapist

Robin Johns Grant said...

I could pretty much ditto everything you said. Someone on our email list serve said if a reviewer gives all good reviews you can't trust them. But I'm like you--I generally don't talk about the books I didn't like. Maybe I should consider myself more of a "recommender" than a reviewer.

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