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Where do I get my books?

Lenore from Presenting Lenore posted about an interesting topic today. She talked about where her last 20 books came from, partly because Marie of The Boston Bibliophile just posted to her post where she lists the sources of her last 20 reviewed books, and also because Julia Keller recently said, “The extra story is how that book made its way to you in the first place,” in her article in the Chicago Tribune.

I completely agree with Julia Keller about how the story of how you found a book is similar to “…a courtship story: The chance encounter, the first shy glance, the recognition of a shared sensibility and finally — ah, bliss! — the consummation.” I’m sure my husband wouldn’t appreciate being compared to a book, but isn’t there that feeling with a really good book of not wanting to part for a second, wanting to spend every minute together, and a feeling a pure satisfaction when you close the last page?

I digress…this post was supposed to be about bloggers and commercialism, not me waxing rhapsodic about books I love.

Marie poses these questions: “But no more freebies- no more purely promotional work. What would that mean for our blogs? For our reading? Is the only reason we blog to receive free books?”

While I believe I’ve stated that I don’t blog for free books, I’ll admit they’re nice to receive. What book lover wouldn’t relish receiving books because someone wanted THEIR OPINION on that book? As a peon in the grand scheme of things, I’m now a peon WHOSE OPINION IS SOLICITED. I think I just moved up, however microscopically, in the food chain.

My blog isn’t purely a book blog; I have other interests and other thoughts that I talk about here, so I don’t see how not receiving anything from authors or publishers would change my reading or the purpose/focus of my blog.

I liked that Lenore and Marie took their last 20 books and told you from whence they came, and I think I’ll do the same. However, I’m going to list all the books I’ve read this year and tell you where/how I acquired them, then I will break it down into percentages.

  • I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb – This was a re-read of a book I already owned. I bought it years ago.
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer – I borrowed this book from a friend.
  • The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver – I checked this out from the library because it was an Amazon Significant Seven.
  • Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer – Checked out from the library after reading a great review on a blog.
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Requested from publisher after reading a glowing review on a blog.
  • In the Land of No Right Angles by Daphne Beal – Checked out from the library. I checked this book out because it had gotten great reviews in Publisher’s Weekly.
  • Blindness by Jose Saramago – Checked out from the library after reading Raych’s review.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Checked out from the library after hearing about it on various blogs, then I was going to buy a copy because I loved it so much, but happened to receive it as a gift from a friend.
  • Wake by Lisa McMann – Checked out from the library after reading various reviews on blogs.
  • Silk by Alessandro Baricco – I got this book from Bookmooch after reading some great reviews.
  • The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram – Sent to me by the author for me to read for potential book tour.
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn – I won this book from Jill at Fizzy Thoughts. I was going to pass the book on when I was done but loved it so much that I kept it.
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford – I requested this book from Shelf Awareness (I believe).
  • The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan – Checked this book out from the library after reading some great reviews and finding out that the author would be making an appearance at a local bookstore.
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Borrowed from a friend.
  • Beside a Burning Sea by John Shors – Received this book unsolicited from the author. Another author introduced us and I agreed to read his book(s) (I still have one book from the author that I haven’t read).
  • Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales by Eleanor Bluestein – Received from the author, unsolicited, though I did agree to review it.
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – Bought this book from a local bookstore because it was selected for my book club.
  • My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – I purchased this book years ago, and this was a re-read.
  • Serena by Ron Rash – Checked out from the library after I saw it on the Amazon Significant Seven and friend insisted I read it.
  • The Shanghai Moon by S. J. Rozan – Received unsolicited from the publisher, though I had agreed to review books they send me.
  • Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo – Agreed to review after publicist queried me.
  • Rape: A Love Store by Joyce Carol Oates – Checked out from library after a friend mentioned the book.
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri – Got off Bookmooch after reading a review on Lisa’s blog.
  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje – Checked out from the library because it was a book club pick.
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson – Checked out from library after reading great reviews on various blogs.
  • Water Ghosts by Shawna Yang Ryan – Received from publisher after they Twittered about it. I requested the book.
  • The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff – Received this book as part of a blog tour.
  • No One You Know by Michelle Richmond – I bought this book after seeing the author on a panel.
  • The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams – Received this book after being queried by publisher.
  • The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson – I checked this book out from the library after reading great reviews on various blogs.
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – I flew from California to New York, waited in line at 5:30am in order to get a ticket just so I could get the book.
  • The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second by Drew Ferguson – I checked this book out from the library in order to be a judge in a bracket competition.
  • Debbie Harry Sings in French by Meagan Brothers – I checked this book out from the library in order to be a judge in a bracket competition.
  • Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea – Received this book from the publisher for an online book club I participate in.
  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer – Received this book as part of a blog tour.
  • The Reader by Bernard Schlink – I got this book from Bookmooch after reading great reviews on various blogs.
  • The Purloined Boy by Mortimus Clay – Received this book to read before I put together the blog tour.
  • Afraid by Jack Hilborn – Purchased this book for my Kindle on Jenn’s recommendation.
  • Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy – Received this book unsolicited and probably wouldn’t have read it had it not been chosen for my book club.
  • After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr – Received this book from the author to see if it would be appropriate for a blog tour.
  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – I checked this book out from the library after reading great reviews on various blogs.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – I checked this book out from the library after reading great reviews on various blogs.
  • Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith – I bought this book when I was at a book signing but already owned the book by the featured author.

This breaks down thusly:

2 – previously owned
16 – library
2 – borrowed
4 – requested
3 – bookmooch
9 – unsolicited
2 – blog tours
2 – won
4 – purchased

So basically I’m getting 29% of my books from publishers/authors, whether solicited or unsolicited. The other 71% are acquired by other means. These stats are very similar to last year, the only difference being that this year I’ve taken advantage of my library, whereas last year I bought a lot more books.

I don’t think that not receiving free books would change my blog AT ALL. I obviously review both older and newer books, from uber popular books to books that have gotten lost in the shuffle. But as far as whether I would still review new releases, there’s a couple of cool things in the book world, one called a library, the other called a bookstore, where I can borrow or buy pretty much any book I want. So I could borrow or buy any new and trendy book I want! *gasp* I know, this is crazy talk! And any blogger who enjoys reading the hot new releases (of which there is NOTHING WRONG WITH), they could do the same!

I say this because I’ve noticed an underlying condescension towards those who review new and trendy books. Perhaps it’s because those who review new and trendy books are considered “cool and popular” (obviously they are cool and popular because, duh, they’re getting the cool new books), and while I don’t want to get back into that whole conversation, I don’t know why it matters what another blogger reviews. In fact, I don’t know where I would be without the bloggers reviewing the new books! How else am I supposed to find the gems among the glut of books being released?

What’s my point? Heck, I don’t even know if I had any one point. I think it’s interesting to see where my books came from, but I don’t think it indicates how ethical I am. How ethical someone is on their blog doesn’t come from how many books they review that they got for free, rather, it comes from how honest they are in their reviews. Honesty is not dependent on whether you paid for a book or not…or at least, it shouldn’t be.

46 comments »

46 Responses to “Where do I get my books?”

  1. Lenore

    I love that your Catching Fire story is the same as mine! I would have done all 77 books I’ve reviewed this year, but it seemed a bit long… I will do my stats at the end of the year, so check back then!

    [Reply]

  2. Pam

    I was afraid this would not end well for me but it turns out I buy most of my books. Relief for me, not for my wallet. Oh and I’ve also managed to conclude that for every ARC i receive, I buy the book. Ah, wallet.

    [Reply]

  3. Monica

    I don’t really read unsolicited copies. I state clearly on my blog. I started blogging for me waaay back in 2001… my blog has evolved and free books are just a perk… but only if I want to read the book in the first place. If I don’t want to read the book in the first place, it’s just extra clutter.

    [Reply]

  4. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    I buy a lot of books and receive a lot of books…..the bought books usually remain unread. 🙂 Well not always…

    I read more, I think since I receive books for the purpose so I guess in that way, the pubs are buying my time.

    [Reply]

  5. Word Lily

    I agree wholeheartedly with this: “Honesty is not dependent on whether you paid for a book or not.”

    [Reply]

  6. Liz B

    As a reader, reviewer, and blogger, I do like knowing the source of a book and it being included in the review. I find it helpful; and yes, I think it helps someone to ask themselves the questions about what they are reviewing, and why, and if it turns out that a blog I’m reading is mostly books from one publisher, I want to know that. I also want to know if items being given away are supplied by the blogger, the author, the publisher, or the publicist. Frankly, I’d been surprised at how many people had the money to be doing giveaways and was surprised to learn that for some, it wasn’t that they had the money, it was that the publishers were subsidizing it.

    When I worked at a well funded public library, I had much greater access to new books; now I pay $100 a year to a library that doesn’t have so sound a YA collection. And for various reasons, buying from bookstores is something I have also cut back on dramatically.

    I think the good thing about ARCs/Review copies getting sent to blogs is it evens the playing field; so that those who don’t go to ALA/BEA/review for journals/have a wellfunded library/ have money for books can still have access to titles to read and review, and it’s not just an inner circle who have those ARCs.

    I think those of use who get review books (and I have over 200 so far this year, mostly unsolicited at this point), have an obligation as to how that impacts what we review. Just because I’m not sent, say, books with people of color, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t review them. (I do get sent those books, I’m just using it as an example in light of the recent Liar cover controversy). I do believe there can be an unintentional impact on what one blogs about. And part of what keeps the receipt of ARCs/Review Copies from impacting the content of ones blog is to track and state the source of a book. But then, I am a big believer in transparency, so I can only see transparency in where books come from as a plus.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, Liz, but I want to clarify that I don’t think that people shouldn’t read books about people of color just because they don’t get them for free.

    I’m under the assumption that people read what they want and will seek out what they want to read.

    I’m a big believer in transparency as well, but I don’t think that a blogger should necessarily disclose the publishing house that sent them the book. Perhaps I’m an idealist, but newspapers don’t disclose where they got the book, and I’d like to assume that bloggers can hold up a similar standard that newspapers do.

    [Reply]

    Liz B Reply:

    I understand that newspapers and review journals don’t disclose; but (my assumption, as a reader, at least) is that they always get the books from publishers so there is nothing to disclose. This isn’t true for blogs.

    [Reply]

  7. Mari

    Thanks for this post, very interesting. I do request books from authors from time to time but I buy most of the books I read. Should I admit that?

    Authors and publisher’s are generous with my site, I manage an online book club and we have received many copies of books this year.

    I might look back on my reading list to see the results… first I need to find time – off to the gym!

    [Reply]

  8. Jeanne

    Could some of what you perceive as condescension be, at least in part, weariness at seeing so many bloggers reviewing the same new books? For the past couple of weeks, it’s been The Chosen One everywhere. In the spring, it was Sarah’s Key. A year ago it was The Thirteenth Tale, and that one, at least, was reviewed so widely on blogs because the publisher was sending it to any blogger who would agree to review it.

    [Reply]

    Amy @ My Friend Amy Reply:

    Maybe, but what about a million reviews of Twilight? or the graveyard book?

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    The difference is, Twilight has a million reviews because of word of mouth, someone liked it so someone else picked it up and reviewed it. With the blog tours you don’t know that all those people would have picked it up if it weren’t free from the publisher. I’m not saying they asked for books they didn’t want to read, but I am saying their reading choice is guided by what was offered to them from someone with a monetary interest in seeing the book do well. It is not the same thing as having a good friend offer a book they think you will enjoy, no matter how honest and unbiased the blogger is. The publisher is paying, in shipping costs and the cost of the book itself, for that book to appear on X number of blogs.

    I do believe Trish (since this is her blog) is sincere in her review of whatever book it is, but if TRISH gives the book to Amy and AMY loves it, I usually enjoy that review more, because I know that Trish didn’t have any other motive for passing it along than that it was a great book. (Not that Trish has motives. Just using the two of you as examples since that’s where I am in the comments.) I believe that bloggers are honest in their reviews, and there is nothing unethical going on. I just prefer to see a million reviews of a book that spread by word of mouth, not because the publisher handed it out like candy. (Yummy candy, but still candy.)

    [Reply]

    Amy @ My Friend Amy Reply:

    That viewpoint makes sense, but I was simply addressing being weary of seeing so many reviews of the same book. I no longer read reviews of the two books I mentioned, b/c I’ve seen so many, and the one I read I didn’t really like. Unless of course it’s a favorite blogger.

    Yes, the publishers definitely own my time and reading schedule, but as I’ve mentioned before when this topic comes up, it’s a structure I’m grateful for because I read so much more diversely than I did before. My whole reading life has changed and for me it’s been for the better. 😉

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Jeanne, I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t think that you would see less “reviewing the same new books” if bloggers had to buy or check their books out from the library. Popular books are popular books, and I think Matthew Freese’s book is an example of a book that was sent to lots of bloggers but wasn’t reviewed on many blogs for various reasons, one of those reasons being that some bloggers didn’t take to the book.

    You’re talking to a girl who often times doesn’t like mainstream stuff JUST BECAUSE IT’S MAINSTREAM. So I understand the weariness, but I stand by my belief that there is an air of superiority with those who don’t review trendy books. I’m just pointing out what I’ve noticed.

    But I’d like to know if you agree…Do you think we’d see much of the same books reviewed if people had to buy books or use the library?

    [Reply]

  9. Janssen

    I too depend HEAVILY on my library. As a librarian, it’s gratifying to see that happening.

    [Reply]

  10. Jenn's Bookshelf

    Great post. I do receive a good number of books from publishers for review, but I either purchase or swap/mooch the majority of my books.

    [Reply]

  11. Christina

    You’ve inspired me to go back through the last twenty books I’ve read, but I can already tell that I’m a publisher’s worst nightmare. I rarely buy new books and when I do it’s because I have gift card. The vast majority of the books I read are from the library followed by PaperBackSwap and my own collection. I also rarely accept books for review due to a bad experience.

    [Reply]

  12. Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books

    Great post, and interesting follow up discussion; I missed Marie’s post that inspired yours, I’ll go back and have a look.

    I always disclose where a giveaway is coming from – me, a publisher, or author.

    If my review is part of a blog tour, I’ll mention that in a review. Likewise, when I’ve picked up a book for a book group discussion, rec’d it as a gift, or bought it “just because”

    For a short while I thanked the provider if I rec’d the book from publisher or publicist (“many thanks to Suzy-Q from thus-and-such for providing Blah Blah Book for review”), but I felt it read a bit like a bad acceptance speech at a beauty pagent and dropped it.

    Maybe I’m being inconsistent?

    [Reply]

  13. Pam

    I think, as voiced above in several ways, my only fear in disclosing is, as Dawn mentions, sounding cheesy. Or perhaps worse, sounding like you have some sort of connection which, in case isn’t true. So, sound like you’re trying to point out how connected you are v. failing to disclose and discrediting your integrity. I don’t think there’s a winning path, here. To be clear, I don’t think either is true but those seem to be the arguments on the issue.

    [Reply]

  14. Sheri

    Trish,

    To be 100% honest, this entire topic makes me a bit AGRO. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel defensive.

    I buy books. I buy maybe 3 books per month. But, I review maybe 8-10 books per month. So, that leaves 70% up to books that were given to me (i.e. from a friend), ARC’s (i.e. publishers provided them), or book tour books. Frankly, I am unemployed and welcome the books that I don’t have to purchase and that I can accept in return for an honest review.

    I take my opinion of a book and rating very seriously. I DO NOT give a book a good review just because I didn’t have to pay for it. I am very careful about my ethics and integrity.

    Lately, when I see posts like this, 1/2 of me thinks… “run away and do not read it,” and the other 1/2 says, “say what you think.” I guess the latter of the two has won out lately.

    What I’ve stated so many times before on other posts and in other situations is that if we hold ourselves to a high level of ethics in our reviews that we will not be subject to attack or question. And yet, the right for creativity is the prevalent answer. So… how do you walk that fine line? I don’t know. But, I sure as hell hope that I’m doing just that.

    I have changed my blog to reflect only 2-3 book reviews a week and the other days reviewing movies, music & TV. My goal is to provide an overall entertainment blog which would appeal to a wide audience of readers. I will continue to accept ARC’s and book tour review books as long as I have the energy to review them with honest and integrity. I don’t feel the need to spell out for my readers what percentage of my books are “free” vs. purchased. However, I will always thank and credit the source of my read if I did not purchase it myself.

    I want to know… because I value your opinion… why do these posts make me feel sad or like I am doing something wrong when I am providing a review to my readers and a mutually beneficial service to my book providers?

    Sheri

    [Reply]

    Liz B Reply:

    I know you’re not asking me. But being as I’m one of those who think it is important to disclose when publishers etc. provide review copies — and, also, for what it is worth, have argued in many forums for many years, that there is nothing unethical about accepting review copies and that I think it is very important that ARCs/ Review Copies are made available beyond the ‘inner circle’ of papers, review journals, etc. — I don’t understand why it is a problem to let readers know the source of a book. When I began blogging, I found it extremely helpful that people (many who are no longer blogging, sadly) did point this out because then I knew — OH. Regular folk CAN get ARCs and Review Copies. It’s not all coming out of my pocketbook / dependent on the library collection policy.

    I also don’t understand how stating who supplies the copy changes the review itself. Ethics and creativity can co-exist; I don’t see the conflict.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Hi, Sheri! I’m not sure why this topic makes you agro. My point, which I said towards the end, was that I don’t see how not receiving free books would change my reading habits/blog OR ANYONE ELSES. I was trying to defend the receiving of ARCs.

    Even though *I* don’t review that many books sent to me by publishers, I LIKE that others DO review more books than I do that they receive from publishers. I think every book blogger’s style/reading preference has a place on the Internet, and I don’t know why we CAN’T ALL JUST GET ALONG and stop attacking those who do things differently than we do. Perhaps I wasn’t blunt enough in my post, but there you have it.

    [Reply]

    Amy @ My Friend Amy Reply:

    There is definitely some tension sometimes over blogs that receive review copies. I don’t understand why since no one is holding a gun to anyone’s head and saying “read this blog!” But this topic comes up every other month or so, so it’s definitely there. In my review policy, I state upfront that about 90 percent of my books are review copies. I think I will start mentioning when a book is sent for review in the review….it’s just a habit I need to start.

    [Reply]

  15. Things That Have Recently Caught My Attention: Abuse of Paragraphs Edition! « YA Fabulous » keeping it awesome since 2007

    […] other people did this, too: Kristi and Trish and Catherine! They had some excellent commentary. I hope this becomes a meme! I AM SO […]

  16. Nicole

    If I were to post this kind of list right now it would be heavily skewed toward books that I have bought because I have bought a ton of books recently. Well actually I am constantly buying books. Now my blog on the other hand skews toward review copies just because I feel the need to post those reviews in a more timely fashion, but it in no way means that I just get review copies r only review new books. Things look differently than they appear.

    There are times that I notice the condescension that you mention, but whether it’s a valid attitude or not it really doesn’t bother me anymore. There are so many blogs out there that I trust that everyone can find the right blogs that they want to read, and if it’s not mine I don’t really care about it or need to hear about it or feel badly because of my content. To each his own.

    Honesty isn’t dependent on whether I bought the book or not. I can’t agree more with what you’re saying. I think that people should choose to read what fits their standards instead of requiring that every blog adhere to the same thing.

    [Reply]

  17. Beth F

    I started to make a list of the books I read and reviewed this year, but gave up after 20 because it was just too time-consuming. But I found that got 50% from publishers or authors (solicited, unsolicited, and requested by me), 25% I bought, and 25% I borrowed from the library. But the last 20 books I read and reviewed are skewed because I’ve been getting many review copies since I returned from BEA. Before May, it was 25% review copies and the rest were borrowed or bought.

    I state where my giveaways come from (all from me), but I don’t say where my review books come from. I read only what I want to read, so even if I hadn’t gotten a review copy, I would have read the book anyway. So who cares where the book came from. I’m honest in my reviews. I’ve even posted DNF mini-reviews for blog tours.

    [Reply]

  18. Jeanne

    Nicole has a good point about feeling obligated to get her ARC reviews published in a timely fashion. So Trish, your question for me about whether we’d see many of the same books reviewed (at the same time, I’m assuming you mean) might have to do with the timing of when the ARCs are sent out. In that case, yes, people getting the new books themselves would help because they wouldn’t all be doing it the same week. Reviews of The Hunger Games, which were increasingly amusing as the last few book bloggers read it and tried to find something new to say, are an example. (I mean that nicely–I really liked some of those reviews, because people were going farther than usual, and it made their writing even more entertaining.)

    [Reply]

  19. Sheila (bookjourney)

    Great post. I love that we get books to do reviews and I LOVE LOVE when I can connect with authors of great reads and work with them on book promotions. I also love going into my local book store and seeing all the books on the best sellers list that I have had the opportunity to read prior to release or as part of their release…. this part of blogging has really expanded my reading style and done wonders for my book club too when I can discuss books that I have experienced.
    However – all that aside, I would still be a book blogger without the free books being offered as I just LOVE TO READ. 😉

    [Reply]

  20. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)

    Maybe if i ever get a system down, I will be able to do a breakdown like this, but alas, I don’t see that in my future.

    [Reply]

  21. Lori L

    What a timely topic! I just reviewed the very first book I accepted for review from an author. I’ve turned down several others because their book wasn’t something I’d normally read (western, romance, chick lit). In fact, of the one book I did accept, it wasn’t even the original title offered because I made it clear to the author that there are some genres I just don’t read so I’d be the last reviewer you’d want to read them in the first place. I enjoyed the book very much and felt the author chose wisely on what book I would enjoy after we exchanged several emails.

    That said, I know I’m not a player in the book blog community. I don’t get ARCs. I follow enough blogs to see what books are being released by the number of reviews for them. Other than that, I’ve won a few give a ways – but I only enter the ones where I know I really want to read the book and would be looking for it anyway. (After reading 10 reviews for the same book, you sort of know if you’ll like it or not.) I buy most of my books, many of them used. I buy some new books by beloved authors new. I hereby confess that I am sometimes (extremely) jealous of people who receive ARCs for books I know I will be buying, like for Margaret Atwood’s or Richard Russo’s new books.

    [Reply]

  22. diane

    This was a great post and I enjoyed seeing your book titles and stats. I’ve read at least half the books on your list and now I’ve added a few more too..so thanks

    I use th library a lot, but have been trying to read more of my own books, and also try to be more selective about books I agree to read and review.

    I also try to support INDIE bookstores when making any purchases (although I have cut down on book purchases this past year).

    [Reply]

  23. Karoline

    I love this post. It was very good and informative. I have to admit, when I first started blogging I wanted an ARC just because it gave me a thrill to read something that hasn’t been released and well like you said, they are asking for opinion! of course you feel like your status has been elevated 🙂 however…I also noticed the majority of the books I have been reviewing have been from the library and yet I feel this strange pressure to review new books. I don’t know why? it could be because everyone else is doing it and if I don’t do it would people still be interested in my blog?

    but then I think of the many gems I had found in the past that are worth reading and reviewing even if they are old books. It would be sad if they get missed out! so this “must review new ones” doesn’t bug me anymore. I review whatever I was reading regardless of how old the book is, you’ll never know maybe I have reached someone who has never read the book before and will read it because I have given it a review. It feels really good seeing those “x number of people have found this review helpful” on my amazon/barnes and noble accounts. Because it feels like you’re being heard.

    I have plenty of books to read and review. If I don’t get freebies well I got a huge pile of books to read still. Freebies are nice because you feel important that your opinion was asked, but it would be wrong to just open a blog just to get the free book. However I just don’t see why people feel the need to review the latest and greatest stuff all the time. I think it’s ok to read older books too.

    [Reply]

  24. zibilee

    This is a really great topic that I have been thinking a lot about lately. While most of the books I have reviewed on my blog have been ARC’s, I am aiming to change that now. I don’t really always want to be a marketing tool for the publishers, and I have tons of my own books that I never get a chance to read as it is. I also think that the ARC’s I have been reviewing take my blog in a direction that doesn’t really express the person I am or the reading tastes that I have. I am not complaining, because I have loved getting the free books, and for awhile I felt as though the fact that my opinion was wanted was very flattering, but in the end, the books I was reading were not really what I wanted to be reading all the time, and I came across a lot of stinkers ( to be fair, I also came across some amazing reads that I may not have otherwise been exposed to). This doesn’t mean that I will never request another ARC, but I am going to make sure that the ones I request are ones that I am totally excited about and can’t wait to get my hands on. I am actually pretty excited about all this, and can’t wait to start getting into the books that have been waiting patiently for me.

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  25. Jessica

    Personally I’m not that tempted by the offer of free books. I hesitate to spend time with an unproven book; I’d just as soon wait and get around to it later if it’s really that good. If not, well, there are millions of other books to read. Why waste my time?

    Really what I just said is sour grapes, because the one time I really wanted an ARC I was promised a copy but it never came. Wahh!

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  26. Trish

    Sometimes I think I’m the only one who is reviewing older and therefore uncool books (I know this is very untrue, but it is a feeling). 🙂 Sure I take in an occasional ARC or more like a review copy, but they are few and far between and I am very selective about what I take in. Do I begrudge others for reading so many new books? No. I like my old stinky books (some of them are so old they literally do stink). And I like a shiny new book every now and again, too. Do I automatically assume that cool/hip reviewer is padding their review and fudging their honesty? No. If I don’t like the way someone reviews books, all I have to do is not read those reviews. If I’ve seen a million reviews of a single book in a while then I won’t read those reviews. Blogging is a choice people. Choose where you want to hang out! I hate to be the little whiny baby, but when is this topic going to be SO old that no one wants to talk about it anymore?

    [Reply]

    Amy @ My Friend Amy Reply:

    There’s no such thing as an uncool book!! 😉

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  27. Trish

    Haha! There might be a *few* uncool books out there…

    [Reply]

  28. Kiki

    Am I the only one in the Amazon Vine program? I work in a book store, but mostly use the library and read my ARC’s (of which I am offered several for review and get to choose, or not if the case may be and none of the choice appeal to me, every month–you have to have reviewed 75% of your choices at all times to get to choose more books.). I occasionally get an ARC from work, most of which go unread most of the time anyway (that’s where I get my ARC of Catching Fire).

    I also win books from blogs, and am sent an ARC from the occasional publisher and through programs like First Look, which is currently on hiatus.

    Do I feel guilt about using the library and reading “free” books? Absolutely not! For one thing, I’m poor! I’ve got four kids! But especially when I am out there on the front lines recommending many of these books to my customers–I cannot tell you how many copies of The Help I have sold this year because I read and loved my ARC. No one leaves the bookstore without a book in their hand. I feel like I can give customers an honest opinion about the books, and especially with my regular customers, I know what they like, and can help them out there. I also choose kids books, too, which I and my children read. It really gives me a heads up for what next on the horizon.

    [Reply]

    trish Reply:

    Kiki, I wish I worked in a bookstore. I’d love to see the tangible results of my blabbering about books.

    And I’m stoked that you hand sold THE HELP! Definitely a favorite this year and I love seeing more and more people read it. 🙂

    [Reply]

  29. The last 20 are from… « Tempting Persephone…

    […] a sorta-meme. This one has been drifting about but I saw it on Presenting Lenore and again today on Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? and thought I’d do it, […]

  30. Jenners

    This was interesting … you sure do use your library! I would have zero books from the library on my blog! I get most of mine via Paperback Swap — and feel a little guilty that I don’t buy more. I think I might start tracking this and put it in my quarterly reviews just for fun. And I do tend to limit the amount of books I get for free — mostly beause I’m choosy and I’m not the fastest reader and I don’t like to feel overcommited.

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  31. Sandra

    I enjoying hearing what you had to say. And all your commenters too. I posted my two cents worth after seeing the topic discussed at Kittling Books and then followed a link to you. It’s here if anyone is interested:
    http://freshinkbooks.blogspot.com/2009/07/is-only-reason-we-blog-to-receive-free.html

    [Reply]

  32. Esme

    I love that you get som many books from the library-that is my number one place-how do you find your books-I enjoy the bestseller lists/other people’s websites/scouring the bookstore.
    My thought is read what you like-it is interesting to see who reviews primarily ARC’s vs. a combination of new and old.

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  33. Books, sources, integrity « Word Lily

    […] reading In the last week, several bloggers (including Marie at Boston Bibliophile and Trish at Hey Lady!) have posted the sources of their recent reads. I knew I wanted to tag along, but my head was foggy […]

  34. Sheila DeChantal

    Love John Shors…. cant wait until you review it!

    [Reply]

  35. Alexia561

    Love this post and all the comments! When I took at look at my last 20 books read, I was pleased that so many of them came from the library. A little worried that I’m feeling pressured to read my review copies NOW. Think I’m going to back off on accepting new books for a bit unless it’s something I really want to read, and go back to enjoying my library. Still undecided if I’m going to list the source of the book or not. Should it matter? Don’t know yet.

    I got a kick out of Trish’s comment that “You’re talking to a girl who often times doesn’t like mainstream stuff JUST BECAUSE IT’S MAINSTREAM.” Yes! That’s exactly how I feel! Glad to know that I’m not the only one. *L*

    Thanks for a great discussion!

    [Reply]

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