Thursday, November 20, 2008

Booking through Thursday: Honesty

I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.
Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?

You know, I try to be as honest as I can. I don't think we are obligated to give a good review, we need to give honest feedback. I think the hope is that if we accepted the book, we will like it, but you never know. I have had some where I mention that the book was just ok, didn't love it, but didn't hate it. I think that's fair. There have been some where I can't get past page 50. If that's the case, I just don't mention it on my blog. I tell the author that I really couldn't get into it for whatever reason and that I wouldn't be reviewing it on my blog. This has only happened twice I think. And if I remember correctly, I never got a reply. I figure we take our chances reading the books and the authors take their chances sending us the book to review. If we love it, you know we're going to talk about it, and that will generate interest in their book and hopefully lots of sales. If we didn't like it, we can put what we didn't like about it and other readers can still decide if they want to read it. Maybe the things that bothered me about the book, won't bother you.

Speaking of review books, when I review a book, I don't normally mention that it was a review book. My thoughts behind this are that I don't want a person to read the review and wonder if I'm saying good things only because it was a review copy and I feel like I need to.

Also speaking of review books, I feel greedy. I have the hardest time passing them up. However, then I feel terrible because I have all these other books I already own and keep buying and I don't have time to read them. Then...while I try not to let this happen, it always happens, I get way too many review books and it takes me months to get to them and then I feel terrible. So..I've been better about not accepting very many lately. And while I love getting a review book in the mail (I mean really...who wouldn't?) I'm going to continue to try and not accept as many even after I get my huge stack finished with. I miss reading some of my favorite authors and I hate feeling guilty when I read a book off of my shelf when I have a stack of review books waiting for me.


Beth F said...

I pretty much never read ARCs. I like to have control over my TBR pile! I'll take an ARC if it's something I would have read anyway.

Smilingsal said...

If I have a book to review, I read it and write a honest critique. I tend to finish books that I've allowed publishers to send me for review. That means that sometimes, I get a dud. Then I try extra hard to find some good point(s), but I'm always honest.

Holly said...

I used to accept every ARC that came my way, whether I thought I would like it or not. I found that quite a few of them, I didn't like, and I really would rather read books that interest me, whether or not they're free. So, now, I'm with Beth F, I only take ARCs if it's something I would have read anyway.

Kris said...

Beth F and Holly - I'm with you, I'm beginning to get pickier about what ARC I'll ask for. I have to admit though, I have read some really really good ARC's that I might not have picked up otherwise.

Smilingsal - I have only had to put down 2 arc's that I started, but I agree, the ones that I do finish, I am honest about.

Bookfool said...

I hadn't thought about what Smilingsal said, when reading other answers to this question, but I've had that problem. If I can't finish a book and it's come from an author or publisher, I usually email them to let them know I don't review books I can't finish. Or, if I finish and the book is terrible I'll ask if they'd rather I wrote an honest review or just skipped it. Because if I review, I'm going to tell it like it is -- but my blog is for fun; my intent is to share my joy, not shred authors.

That's actually one of the reasons I'm accepting fewer ARCs, now -- too many duds in a row will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.

cessie said...

I guess in the USA it's getting more and more normal to get review books. Here we do not really I think.
I can imagine the pressure can get a little too much now and then and it's logical you sometimes are way more interested in the books you own yourself and choose yourself ;-)