Hand over the money!

Or rather, please don’t.

Following close on yesterday’s reviewing thoughts, here is another problem I found on Rutger’s Child Lit Request the other day. The subject is book review ethics. The person who asked had been shocked to hear of a friend who’d approached someone for a review of her book and had been told that it would be ‘$25, please’. The question is whether this is OK, and how common it may be?

$25 for a review could be seen as an advertising fee, and depending on where it appears, it’s fairly cheap. But how could you ever trust a review like that? Not that the reader of the review would know that money had passed from author to reviewer, but surely the author would feel uncomfortable with it?

It was a tempting thought, for about a split second. But think of the guilt! I suffer dreadful pangs of generally being inadequate for not reading books, or not liking them, or something. Maybe I’m simple, but when the lovely publicity people at publishers push books, I find it hard to say no.

‘Luckily’ I’m so short of time that I have to say no. I can’t even read all books that I think look promising. So with $25 in my hand I’d feel guiltier still. And what would I do once I’d read the $25 book? The bribe-free witch only writes about things that appeal, or possibly about a book that is worth a blog anyway. I give up on books quickly, in order to move on to one I like. A few times recently I have persevered, and then had the problem that several days worth of reading has turned out to mean I don’t get a blog out of it.

However much I would like to make some money, I can’t see how it would happen. (Have you any idea of how often I’m asked if I can make money out of the blog? I’ll have to put up a donate button soon. That at least would be anonymous.) The bonus for me is that I don’t have to buy books very much.

And friendship can be another obstacle, as well as a bonus. I’ve met so many wonderful people, both on the internet and in real life, and usually I like both them and their books. But what if I like the person more than the books they write? Likewise, when I’ve made it quite clear on here that I really like someone, will others trust me if I say that this writer’s new book is great?

It’s always easiest if I can sneak up from behind and blog about books and people without feeling any obligation, because nobody knows I’m looking. But that’s getting increasingly difficult.

2 responses to “Hand over the money!

  1. $25??? I think I’d start the bidding somewhat higher.

  2. My thinking exactly. But if I hated the book after that, I’d feel even worse.

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