A few days ago, I was following a discussion going on via YA author Maureen Johnson's twitter account. While much of what she writes here is delightfully strange, this time the topic was on a bit more of a serious note: are publishing companies holding book bloggers to a different set of rules?
For more information on this, I started digging around and found this article by The Guardian. In a nutshell, it seems like HaperCollins' imprint William Morrow is telling book bloggers who request ARCs of books (that's "advance reader copy" and not a large boat filled with animals) what they'd like to see happen with those thoughts. This is part of what bloggers got to read:
"You will no longer receive titles piece-meal. Instead, you'll receive 1–3 emails during the month with all of our upcoming titles available for your review, one month ahead of the on-sale date … Your job is simply to review the book within a month of receiving it and post your thoughts on your blog or site. Ideally, we'd like for reviews to appear online within two weeks to a month after the on-sale date, so you might keep this in mind when selecting books,"
Not exactly a stance that welcomes a whole lot of discussion.
Now I'll admit, this is all very new to me. As you can see from my list of past posts, I've barely been at this two months. The books I review have often been out for months if not years and I get them from my local library or, on occasion, they're books I already own and feel they deserve more love than they currently receive. This blog is something I do for fun in my free time and I in no way profit from it. I talk about books because it's essential for my existence and because they feed my soul.
What are my thoughts on the issue? I'm still soaking it in, to be honest. I guess I don't think it's too out of line for publishers to want reviews to be posted when the book is still new and trying to garner marketing attention - book blogs are in many ways a virtual version of "hey did you hear about this book?" But to basically demand that a review has to be up within a month seems odd to me. If you're afraid that a book will no longer be of interest or relevant in a month, then there's a bigger issue, there. I also feel like it discourages people who write the blogs from trying something different or out of their comfort zone when it comes to selecting ARCs. This date makes blogging feel much more like homework and much less recreational or to spread a love of reading.
It's an interesting issue to be sure, so please, if you're reading this, take to the comments! Voice your opinions! Tell your friends and family to come here and they can say what they want too!