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A bit of a rant ....

I'm not one for ranting on the whole. I like a quite life but there's something about blogging that has been winding me up of late and I need to get it out ...

As you well know some bloggers get free books. Some of us get a lot of free books and I know 99.9% of us are very excited to receive them and grateful for every one that turns up at our door. I personally have read such a range of titles that I would have never otherwise read if I hadn't had them for review and discovered some real gems. I read a hell of a lot and try my hardest to review whatever I have as quickly as I can (well as quickly as one would expect with a job like mine). There are times however when I get a book which isn't really me and even then I'll give it a go and if it still isn't me I'll pass it onto another blogger who has mentioned they would like to read it or take it into school for the library or one of kids I teach would love reading. Either way I am always grateful for whatever I receive.

However lately I have been getting really annoyed with people's attitudes towards what essentially are freebies. I went to an author event last year where we were given goodies bags and whilst stood in the signing queue heard a girl moan very loudly "Oh God I'd never read that what the hell am I going to do with it" in front of the staff who had organised the goodie bags and the publicists who had provided the contents. I've seen similar comments in IMM where the person has basically bitched about receiving books they didn't want and not just this isn't really my sort of thing comment. (please don't mistake me for moaning about people who write a bad review - that it something totally different and something I do myself and expect others to do too. The people I am ranting about haven't even opened the first page)

I also get really annoyed about people who start blogs just for books. I certainly didn't do that (I won't lie and say that it isn't nice because in all honestly it is epic and I love it). They post IMM showing hundreds of books (well maybe not hundreds) that they have received from publishers but then they never review any of them and just fill their blog with memes.  This is then made worse because I then see them on twitter and the such like asking for even more books. One of my blogging friends made a good point in saying if you've set up a book blog just to get free books you clearly don't get the point of book blogging or how much time and effort is put in by bloggers, authors and publicists alike.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that books are precious and not everyone gets them for free. Proofs actually cost the publishing house a lot more to produce than finished copies because the print run is much smaller (which is why we don't always get them in the UK). You are not entitled to free books because you have set up a blog. You receive them because the publishing houses know you put the time and effort in to promote books and trust that you'll do your best to review what you can of what they send you to help to generate enthusiasm and buzz about their titles and reading in general.

Rant over!


Ria said…
I have to say, I'm in total agreement with you. There've been occasions where I've been pitched or even sent books that really just aren't my thing, but I don't send an angry letter to the publisher telling them off. I politely say no thanks, and if I already have the book, I try and find it a good new home.

I have far too many advance copies on my TBR list, and yes, I do end up getting more before I've read the ones I currently have, but I at least don't spend my time doing nothing but memes. I do review books, and I make a point of trying to read and review books that came as ARCs first.

I once talked to my mother about how I get free books for review, and she asked how she could do that too. I told her that first she'd have to get a blog, write reviews for the books that she reads, make sure to have fairly regular content, and spend some time doing publicity by posting on other blogs and Twitter and the like. When she heard that actual work goes into it, her reaction was, "Oh. Never mind then." It's not an easy gig, and the free books are only free in that they don't cost money. They cost time, effort, and dedication, and the people who act like they deserve free books just because REALLY don't get what book blogging is about.

It's good to know that some people get it. Thanks for posting your opinion on this; it was a good read, and refreshing to see!
Thank you for posting this. I completely agree. I can't stand people that are just in it for the freebies and/or brag/are not appreciative of the books and swag. It is such a privilege that we are all lucky to have, but none of us have a right to it!
I completely agree. Some people are so spoilt. and what is the point of starting a book blog to get free books if you won't even read them. sometimes i get a little annoyed with publishers that send me the sequel to a book that i haven't read, but then I tell my self to shut up and be grateful. Often the publisher is more than willing to send me a free copy of the first book also. as for stuff that isn't my genre, I either read it and review it anyway or I give it to someone who will. I try not to ask for too many books because I know I will never get around to them if i do. And, why can't people write reviews. it only takes around half an hour to get a concise review written and published. (sorry for the dodgy punctuation and grammar. Mad ranting has no time for Great article.
LilithElina said…
I didn't even know you could get free books from blogging!
It's amazing how some people think, really... Getting something for free is special! If you don't want it, don't take it, really. But if you want free books, you should offer something in return.
Julie Goucher said…
Likewise, a great post. We have all heard "there is no such thing as a free lunch" & there isn't. The publishing & writing world is a generous one and hard working on.

My personal blog is not just about books. It's about all the things that me the person who I am. It contains books reviews of books that I have read, reviews that I have been asked to do. It does contain memes which I use as prompts for my genealogy, reading, collecting etc.

Being in the UK there are often books I could review, but don't because a publisher doesn't want to post internationally. I recently challenged one publisher, because of this. A publisher wants to get the best promotion for their author. I wrote to the author who passed it along & a book arrived within 4 days. The reason I wrote was because the author whose work I am familiar with is not especially well known in the UK. Waterstones for example will supply the book much slower than Amazon, who does stock the book. The author deserves to be better known across the pond & for the sake of a few dollars they could gain extra exposure. For me it was not simply a strop of not getting the book, it was about the author missing a review because I was outside of the US, and the whole point of publishers supplying ARCs is to get maximum exposure for their author.
I know a few people who stated that they started their blogs for the books. It is wonderful and I truly appreciate every single book especially as they go into the school library when they have been read.

I am extremely lucky to have terrific guest reviewers so if a book isn't for me I know they will review it for me as we have different tastes. A wide range is wonderful to be able to share with the pupils.

I love books and treasure them all
SisterSpooky said…
THIS post is made of gold! Solid gold!
Brilliant post Kirsty, I have to agree with you! I started my blog as a place to discuss my thoughts on the books I'm reading and like you have received books from publishers that I wouldn't usually read but found some brilliant ones because of this! I'm also grateful for every book that comes through the door!

It saddens me to see hundreds of memes on some blogs and never any reviews especially when, like you say, they have like 6-7 books on their IMM each week coming from the publisher. I try and read all my proofs and stuff before anything else and try to get them up before the pub date to help promote the title, this means Im sometimes reading when I really should be doing other things but still I do it and I dont complain because I'm grateful for the chance to read all these books. I cant believe that person you mentioned at the event who said that out loud and in front of the publisher staff! that's crazy!!

Anyway.. I just wanted to say I totally agree and Thank you for this post!
I agree with your 100%! Lately I've been so bothered by the blogging world because of all the drama that is going on and the new bloggers who e-mail us asking how we get free books.

I am at a point that I wish all publishers would just use NetGalley. I think it's easier and better to approve and deny blogs. When we created Good Choice Reading we did it with the intentions of reviewing books and to able to talk about books with other bloggers. We had no idea what an ARC or Galley was until a friend explained it and we got our first e-mail asking us to review a book. Once we opened up that door, the work tripled for us.

I cannot lie and say we read every single book sent to us because we don't. We get so many books that we can't even keep up with series we've previously started are obsessed with. I love getting books at my door step, but IMMB we do not do. I hate that meme and feel it's bragging. The most IMMB I do is I tweet a photo of the books I've gotten. Nothing else!

Blogging is so much work and those who are just starting out for free books will soon learn that it takes A LOT to get those free books. Lot's of money is wasted as well in doing giveaways, attending book events, shipping to other reviewers.

I giveaway so much because I feel if I am not going to read it, then someone else can. But I am very picky as to who I give it too.

Great post!
Susan Mann said…
I agree, I think getting sent books is a privilege, especially proofs. I always read and review them. I don't get too many but I'm not an exclusive book blogger so my blog is filled with various things. But I treat every one I receive as an honour. Great post x
Cicely said…
I agree so much! It really grates on me when people who hardly put any work into their blog get books left right and centre that they don't even read. It feels like they're giving the rest of us a bad rap.. It's so annoying! Yeah. Rant over... ;)
Unknown said…
Love, LOVE this post!! Thank you! If you are not blogging for the love of spreading the word and yes working your booty off for your blog then you are doing it wrong!

Your right this takes a load of time and energy to run a half way decent blog *mine*

Sarah said…
Fab post Kirsty, I completely agree with everything you've said. When I started my blog it was just as a way to keep track of what I was reading, I had no idea what an ARC was and was shocked when I was offered review copies.

I still get excited when someone contacts me about reviewing a book for them and as much as I can't possibly read everything that I get sent that isn't through lack of trying! I try to find guest reviewers for the books that I get sent that aren't my kind of thing (or at least give them to another blogger or even to my local charity shop if they're finished copies). I have found some wonderful books that I would never have picked up in the shop because I was sent review copies so blogging really has broadened my horizons.

Blogging is hard work, it takes time to read the books and write quality content and I probably spent way more time on my blog than I should lol but I love doing it. I can honestly say that if I never received another free book again I would still keep blogging but that isn't a complaint about the books I do get sent. It's a massive compliment to be offered review books and I'm grateful to everyone who has ever sent anything to me.
District YA said…
Basically gonna mirror everything said above! Wicked post Kirsty.

Its such an honour to be sent an ARC, but you need to earn that honour & that takes a lot of work and time. And if you are given that opportunity then sure as hell don't complain about it. Grab every chance with both hands and do your best!!! I'm not saying I'm perfect at what I do. I'm not the fastest reader so my reviews possibly aren't as frequent as I would like them to be but I do my very best and I'm going to keep going, be it with ARCs I'm given or books I've bought :D

Also I love the blogging community - you guys all rock & make my life a much happier one!!!
Cait said…
I didn't even know you could GET books sent to you when I started blogging! I actually prefer not to be sent them, I like to pay for my books and usually will only request one if it's something I'm DYING to read and don't want to wait for the release date. But yeah, I totally agree with you. Moaning about being sent books is disgraceful.
I completely agree with what you said. I haven't been around the blogging community long enough, but I seriously did not intend to get free books. I only started reviewing books from my old workplace for content and this was one of the things I did. I liked it so much that I opened up my own blog. And as you have pointed out, there are blogs with all these memes posted up. I believe in reviewing all the books that publishers have sent me just because I love books and reviewing them is not even a job. It's fun for me!
Brilliant post Kirsty and I completely agree. When I started I didn't even realise publishers sent out proofs let alone that they would send any to me.

I do my absolute best to read and review every book I receive and if I don't have time to read something I do try and pass them on to my old school library / other bloggers.