Monday, December 05, 2011

Thought for the day

I'm not sure if I've ever come right out and said this before, but I have made a conscious choice NOT to accept books from publishers or authors to review on Ramblings. I kind of made it a while ago, but haven't really come out and said so. I've received a number of requests from both asking me to read and review a book.

I love the thought of free books as much as the next red blooded romance book addict and I was more open to it a few years ago. I didn't take many but I did on occasion. But I've become more firm in my decision as time has gone by.

Are you NUTS some of you ask? Why NOT take books that are offered? There are a few reasons. By the lack of reviews here lately, I seem to be doing a rather poor job of writing them! The number of books read this year has already passed all the years since I've been tracking the number, but the books I've written about has decreased. Not quite sure what that is. My plans don't quite seem to match up with my actions I guess. But the reason I've decided NOT to take any books for review other than those I buy myself is twofold.

First, I'm very much a 'mood' reader. I read a book from a particular genre when I'm in the mood for that genre. And if an author sends me a book in a genre that I'm not in the mood for, well, it can sit there and sit there until who knows when I might feel like reading it. And this doesn't strike me as particularly fair to the author. They have taken the time and energy and money to send me the book and the least I can do is read it. But if I do try and read a book that I'm not in the mood to read, it probably won't get a decent review. The author would be better off sending it to someone else.

Another reason is, knowing me, I would feel a sense of obligation to give it a good review because it was a freebie. And then I'd be caught up in a catch 22 of my own making if I didn't like the book. I have to stress that I'm only applying this to me because I know me. If other readers/bloggers accept books from authors and/or publishers, I don't have a problem with that at all. Good thing really as I think most do *g*.

There was a small brouhaha a couple of weeks ago over a letter one of the big name publishers sent stating they expected that the recipients of the ARC's they sent would review the books and if it turned out that they weren't then said publisher would stop sending them. This was a total non-issue for me. And I must say it was a good feeling that I didn't have to get on that particular horse.

Another reason for rejecting books is I read for enjoyment. I read to get away. I read to destress. I read to visit other places and times I know I'll never get too. And I don't want any of those reasons diluted by reading for obligation. That would take all the wonder out of it for me.

I have taken a few books on occasion in the past; thank goodness I really don't get asked all that much. In a few cases, one in particular, Broken Wing by Judith James, I was so glad that I did as I discovered such a treasure of a book that I might not have found otherwise. But in all honesty, there are more I think that either I didn't start or that I started and didn't like and was stymied as to what to do; so I did nothing. And that didn't strike me as right. It's been quite some time now since I have accepted any. I do have a number in my mail box though. So I think I'm going to just link this post as I refuse and say 'thank you very much for the offer, but I'm just not comfortable accepting it.'


Anonymous said...

You are wise. -- willaful

azteclady said...

You are indeed wise, as willaful says.

While I don't share your trepidation (how to review a book I didn't like if I got the book free from the author), I feel guilty if I get a book from the author for the purpose of writing a review and then months go by and...nada. zilch. zip.

Which reminds me that I have had a number of books sitting around for a year or more, waiting for reviews *sigh*

Joanna Chambers aka Tumperkin said...

This is also my policy. I'm glad (as an author) that other people take free books and review them because it's helped bring my book to the attention of readers. However as a reader, like you, I don't think it would work for me for essentially the same reasons. Also, I'm principally interested in blogging about books I love. Whilst I've written a few bad reviews in my time, these have been very much the exception and I can't remember the last time I bothered to blog about a book I didn't like. It's not that I think bad reviews shouldn't be written - I'm vehement about the right of readers/bloggers to say exactly what they think about what they read, snark and all - but if I don't enjoy a book, I'm unlikely to finish it and rarely want to spend more time blogging about it (though I like reading the whole range of reviews from others). Fundamentally, I'm an evangelist - I want to spread the word about the stuff I love. I suppose this is why I never describe myself as a book reviewer, always a reader-blogger.

Kristie (J) said...

Joanna aka Tumperkin: Exactly, Exactly, Exactly!! I don't think of this as a 'review' blog but as a 'share the love of the genre and other stuff I think about' blog. So considering I don't consider it *g* it as a review blog, it would be kind of wrong to take books to review. And I'm with you too - I have no problems with review blogs - I love 'em. I just don't think I'm one of the really.

And also like you I rarely finish books I don't like so why bash on them. And a book I might hate is a book someone else loves.

AL: I have books sitting around going back that far too that I haven't gotten around to reading and reviewing. Which is why I have now made it official. I won't take freebies. Phew!! Although if someone sends me an email and asks me to read and review a book that I think sounds good, I probably will BUY the book and read it.

Willaful: LOL I don't know about wise or not, but it does give me peace of mind and not wallow under a burden of others expectations for me :-)

Wendy said...

I've been tempted to change my own policy and stop accepting ARCs from authors and publishers.....and I just can't make myself do it. Chalk it up to the fear of missing out on a really great read. So instead, I'm REALLY selective. I say "thanks, but no thanks" to A LOT of offers. Why? I'm one person. One person with a life outside of my blog. If I had multiple people on my blog "staff" to help me out? Maybe. But I don't have any desire to go down that road either - so I say "thanks but no thanks."

Actually, I think most publicists and authors are pretty understanding when I do tell them no. Simply put, it makes me crazy to not deliver a review in a timely manner, and hello? It's not fair to them either.

Do I feel guilty about giving a less than stellar review to something an author asked me to review? Well, a teeny bit. But then it passes. I figure, ultimately, my job is to talk about WHY a book either DID or DID NOT work for me. And sometimes my own personal did-nots are going to intrigue someone else to give the book a go. Hey, we're all shiny, unique snowflakes. We don't all love or loathe the same things. And thank heavens for that because the world would be a much less interesting place if we did.

Kristie (J) said...

Wendy, I hear you :-). If I hadn't taken Broken Wing when the author offered to send it, I may have missed one of the best book I've ever read. So the thought of thar happening with another experience like that is troublesome *g*. But I'll just have to buy it myself.

I hardly expect everyone to feel that way :-) but it works best for me I think. And in some cases it's not just not in a timely manner with me, but not in any manner at all.

nath said...

I pretty much agree with you Kristie. Not that I'm being offered books very often LOL... but I just don't do well with pressure - pressure to read, pressure to review on time. Nowadays, the only ARC that I accept are from Netgalley and it's because I choose them.