While trying to catch up on some blog reading (which I’m totally behind on! Like over 1000 posts in my Google Reader! GAH!), I was checking out Raych’s new post (okay, maybe it’s not new when I publish this post, but it was when I read it) and if you look at the vewy vewy bottom you’ll see she says, “Also, because I totally agree with all this blogger-code-of-conduct jazz, I got this book for free from Danielle at Sourcebooks, who is rad.” So I clicked over to the “blogger code of conduct jazz” and was blown away.
I wasn’t blown away because I think the idea is novel or bad, but because I KNOW I read a comment on someone’s blog about blogging tips when I was working on this post that said something like, “Don’t tell me where you got the book. I don’t care if you got it for free, if you bought it at the local B&N, or if you checked it out from the library.” And I was all, Hmm, that person’s certainly a little anal.
But this comment has stayed in the back of my mind and for this post I want us to talk about mentioning where you got the book.
Is it important to mention where you received a book? Obviously, it *probably* doesn’t matter if you received the book from the library or it was loaned to you from a friend or you bought the book yourself. But what about ARCs/AREs? Or books we might get from Library Thing through the Early Reviewers program? Or Harper Collins? Or books offered directly from authors?
Does WHERE you received the book influence your opinion of a book?
I have to admit: there was one review that I was less than honest in my opinion. I wasn’t DISHONEST, rather, I skirted around my opinion. Why? Well, because I had not only an author interview but also a guest post from that same author, and after it was all over I promised myself I wouldn’t agree to anything like that until AFTER I’d read the book, that way if I think the book is less-than-stellar, I can say so and not feel weird that I didn’t like someone’s book but now they’re going to guest post on my blog. (It should be noted this is the ONLY review where I was less than honest, and I learned my lesson and haven’t let it happen again.)
Very savvy authors have figured out that if they stay in contact with the blogger (or newspaper reviewer, I would assume) and be personable, well, it’s hard to then go ahead and say negative things about that book. For example, have you ever said something about a situation, but then when you find out someone you know is in that situation, it’s harder to be so judgemental? If called on the carpet for your opinion, do you back pedal, saying you don’t know that person’s situation, so you really can’t hold them to the same standards that you just uttered? It’s easy to bash on someone we don’t know or someone we’re only acquaintenances with, but a friend? SO HARD.
On the other hand, you don’t see the reviews in newspapers saying, “I got this book free from the publisher, so take my review with a grain of salt.” It’s understood the reviewer got the book for free and we EXPECT that the reviewer will be impartial. But how impartial ARE those reviews? How much more do we like a mediocre book just because we like that author in general?
Despite the comment I mentioned above, I’ve continued to mention from whence I received the book, and here’s my reason why: my blog, the way I see it, is where I have a larger audience to discuss things (as opposed to real life, where I have a handful of friends, few of whom let me discuss books ad nauseum like I do here), particularly books. However, I try to make my blog writing as similar as I can to the way I’d talk to my friend. SO, if I would mention to my friend where I received the book from, then I would mention it on my blog. And generally I would mention where I got the book from, if for no other reason that it’s usually a fairly interesting story…in my opinion. For example, right now I’m reading (at the time I’m typing this post, though I should be done with the book by the time I publish this post) Thinner by Stephen King, which I checked out from the library. It’s SO OLD that it has the little pouch in the front with the date due stamped in the little squares. Interesting, no? Well, I thought it was, at least.
Let’s discuss this, my friends! I’ve purposefully left the question fairly open and I’ve tried to present a few different angles. Frankly, I think kimbofo does a better job of tackling this subject, but I thought it was worth another discussion. So tell me! What do you think? I love discussions.