Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Sunday Salon: Is Book Reviewing a Job for Journalists or Bloggers?

The Sunday

I've been watching the discussion about the FTCs new rules with some interest the last week. It won't currently impact me since 1) I have never been asked to review an ARC and 2) I don't live in the US. I found it interesting however because of a radio report I heard on Swedish Radio P1 a few weeks ago. It was discussing if giving a free copy of a book to a journalist was giving that journalist a bribe or not. Some were arguing that journalists should not take gifts of any kind in order to keep their impartiality whereas others felt that the book reviewing was exempt from this consideration. Having read book reviews in the press in the past I rarely question their integrity. When I read a review by anyone, blogger or journalist I always ask myself if they like books similar to me, rather than if they have an agenda or not. This is what I feel that the FTC isn't getting. If I read a review of someone I look for if they are talking about if this is a genre they have read before. If this is a book that they liked because... or didn't like because... If they are always gushing about books with out having stated that they only review books they like then I will probably put less credibility to that reviewer. Add to that the fact that I usually read several reviews of the same book before I decide if I am going to buy/borrow a book or not. Getting to the library is a bit of a hassle for me because I don't have a car. Add to that the fact that my library carries very few titles in English I am pretty much forced to buy or borrow books in order to get them. Because of that I need to be pretty sure I am going to like the book before I buy it. I'm a grad student. I spend most of my disposable income on books but I still have to be careful. I liked the following perspectives on what has been going on and what is to come:
Why the FTC's New Rules for Bloggers Could Hurt Publishers, Too

Colleen at Chasing Ray has two really good commentaries, here and here.

What I also wonder about is if the FTC realises that many bloggers are not in the US. Granted right now we can't get our grubby little hands on a lot of the free stuff, but what is to say that if the "free" marketing with sites in the US dries up that they won't start looking at bloggers in other countries? I think that sometimes governments (and with this I mean governments in most countries) fail to realise is that we live in a global world now. People talk to each other across borders. I read books and watch shows that have been recommended to me by people in countries I have never visited but that I have gotten to know through the internet. I have friends who buy me books or DVDs that I can't get in my country and likewise I send them things that they can't get. I can borrow their addresses if some company does not send to my country. The world has grown very small in the last decade and people like that. I don't think that you can unplug the internet. They have to learn to live with it and work within the rules that exist here, not in their reality (The Geeks shall inherit the earth as we say in my family).


Still working on Magician's Gambit (The Belgariad, Book 3) by David Eddings. This hasn't been a good reading week. I have been absolutely shattered most of it. I'm not used to working and this whole getting up in the morning malarky is not working for me :D.

I want to try and read a substantial portion of Running for Mortals: A Commonsense Plan for Changing Your Life With Running by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield this week. I want to get rid of some of my "Currently Reading" books by finishing them. And Running for Mortals is this weeks target.

Then I want to make some progress on How to Read a Book (A Touchstone book) by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren. I am reading The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome by Susan Wise Bauer a chapter a night but I will be taking a break from that soon in order to read The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin Classics) which she references heavily in the chapters I am currently reading. Got to read the source document when I can.

My audio book for the commute is now Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling.


I finished listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling (link is my review).

TBR building

This week sees my monthly credit with Audible go into my account. I have several books in my wish list but I am not sure if any of  them are speaking to me, so I thought I would ask:

Has anyone recently gotten anything from Audible that they loved? If so what? Is there anything I should definitely get? Should I wait and get a second credit? Help me out please!


Fall into Reading
I am reading:
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Giver by Lois Lowry
My Ántonia by Willa Cather
The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs
I haven't read any of these books this week. Going to pick this challenge back up again soon

Childhood Favourites Challenge
I've updated my post so I will now be reading:
The Babysitters Club: Mary Anne Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin
A Horse Called Wonder by Joanna Campbell
Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Madicken by Astrid Lindgren
As you can see I haven't started any of these books yet.

I am really tempted by the YA Dystopian Reading Challenge over at Bart's Bookshelf since I adore dystopian novels but I think that I will give it a miss this time. I have enough with the reading I have. I do need to squeeze some school reading in to all this (anyone else noticed that reading about grading isn't anywhere near as fun as reading novels?)

And in case anyone cares: I use Amazon Associates because I appreciate it when people link to where I can buy the books they talk about and Amazon seems like a good place for most of my readers to get their books from. Yes it does give me a percentage of the the clicks and all that but honestly I haven't earned any yet. I mostly buy my books from BookDepository because they offer free shipping world wide. I am currently considering their associates program as well but as they admit they aren't as timely in their shipping and I want to make it as easy for others as possible. I get my books in Swedish from Adlibris.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

You know, I'm just not all that worried about the FTC thing. I think people are making a big deal out of nothing. It's simple: if you get a book from a publisher for free, say so on the blog, and you won't get in trouble.