Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Booking Through Thursday Twofer

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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?

One reason I'm reluctant to accept review copies directly from authors is that I don't want to encounter anyone who feels that I'm in his debt because I've received his book for free. (I work in a library. Chances are I could read his book for free anyway.)

Reviewers are obligated to tell the truth as they see it; anything else would be unethical. I've yet to be harassed by an unhappy author; I generally don't continue reading books that I'm not enjoying, so usually no negative reviews show up here to set someone off. However, if I were to post something that led to hard feelings and harassment, I'd either delete the offending comments and/or emails and refuse further engagement with that individual or showcase the comments if the author was making a particular ass out of himself and I thought everyone else would get a kick out of his behavior.

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

I've gone a little nuts in the book buying department over the last several years--getting the mortgage paid off has afforded me that luxury--but I've been trying to cut back and hope to limit new book purchases next year to those acquired through the use of gift certificates issued from the credit card company and Amazon's associates program. Not only do I have too large of a stockpile of unread books around the house to continue at my present rate, but my husband works for one of the banks that's been in the news the last few months and could well be unemployed at some point next year. Plus, we need a new roof. And a new refrigerator.

But I much prefer owning to borrowing. I like to revisit favorite passages even if I don't do a complete reread; I like to read at my own pace instead of having to consider the person behind me on a book's waiting list; I like to know they're there for me whenever I decide on a moment's whim that the time is ripe for me to read them. I'm all about immediate gratification when it comes to books.

Booking Through Thursday


  1. I think it's good to be cautious of what books you accept to read. We have to be honest no matter what.

    I am like you on book borrowing/buying. I like having them there whenever I want them and not restricted to check-out time.

  2. I'm also not likely to post a lot of negative reviews, since I rarely finish books I don't like. That's the good thing about not requesting many review copies - I don't feel obligated to read things I don't enjoy.

    Here’s my answer.

  3. Anonymous2:34 PM

    As long as the review bears a resemblance of reasonably argued and well-supported statements, it’s a just review regardless of whether the subject being reviewed is good or bad. I stopped reading some of the book reviews in media because they turn into fluffy gasbags. I owe my readers my honest opinions to a book, regardless of whether it's free or not. Even a bad review, if handled properly, can be constructive.

  4. I read most every book I've been sent, and I write a review on what I read. However, I think I can write a negative review without being hurtful. Come see my response.

  5. If I find books sent to me are not upto my liking, I just don't bother to read. Why waste my time?

    Read my BTT post!


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