Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dear FTC and Readers

Dear FTC and Readers:

Publishers send me books to review. On the sidebar, I have a list of such publishers that I think needs to be updated. I also get copies from conferences. Or from friends.

When books are sent, there is no expectation on either side; publishers may or may not send books. I may or may not review.

Personally, I don't finish books I don't like; I prefer to concentrate on books I like; so it's rare for me to do a "hate this" review. I do review critically; and I have been known to be snarky when deserved. I post reviews based on what is best for this blog, taking into consideration a lot of factors. All my choices -- not the decision of a publisher, or publicist, or author, or fill-in-the-blank.

Publishers who donate copies for review have no expectation of anything when they submit books; as a matter of fact, if a publisher raises that expectation, even for something like when a review will be posted, I refuse the copy.

Review copies expands the numbers of books I review beyond what my library has or my bookstore has. Without the review copies, the books available to me for review would be limited by the collection development person at the library, the buyer for the bookstore, or the professional reviews of books.

I review books. I do not endorse products or publishers. Publishers are not my advertiser; I am not their endorser. I write reviews.

I disclose when I receive review copies because I think it helps the reader to know how and where reviewers get books and transparency is never bad.

What do I do with the books afterwards? Sometimes, the books are now marked up, notated for reviewing purposes. Pages have fallen out. A post-it may inadvertently tear a page. Some books are held onto, to reread as I try to guess who will win what award. The majority of the books are donated, given away, passed along. I don't sell them; and if they are donated to organizations, I do not take a tax deduction for that donation.

Hope that clears some things up.

Liz B/ Tea Cozy


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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

6 comments:

Ryan Potter said...

Have you never noticed that the only time the FTC makes the news is when they do something stupid?

Great post!

susan said...

Well said, Liz. I posted a response to the madness at Color Online.

Mary Lee said...

I'm still just listening in to all of this. Your response is one of the best so far.

Mary Lee said...

Here's another thought. What about all the review copies I'm receiving for NCTE's Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts? Are those outside the regulations as long as I don't blog about them?

Liz B said...

Ryan, this is just baffling to apply to artistic reviews. Either they don't understand the business -- or, the paranoia approach that they do and this is a way to bolster traditional, dying media (newspapers & magazines).

Susan, I saw your response, and so true for the different motivations etc for blogs & reviews. Plus, one of the points of Color Online is to promote those who may not (or not yet!) be in libraries/bookstores, and the FTC seems to ignore that aspect, also.

Mary Lee, yet another example of the FTC not fully knowing the industry, because that is true for the NCTE committees and ALA committees, also. I think if you disclose "copy from publisher" you're on the safe side. But does the FTC really want to tell bloggers, "if you can be in NCTE/ALAN/ALA and get on a committee, or go to a conference and get stuff off the exhibit floor, you don't have to disclose"? Because then it's priviliging people (I obviously include myself!) who have those connections/time/money/employers who allow us to do that. So because LittleWillow doesn't have that, she has to put a disclosure down but I don't if I'm blogging about a book I get from being on a committee?

I'm going to ALAN, not NCTE, but expect to be in Philly on Sunday. If you'll be around, let me know!

Heather Zundel said...

This has to be the best response I've seen.

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