November 19, 2008

A Change of Pace and Policy

There's been a certain amount of debate in the book blogosphere recently about the role that book bloggers do and/or should play in reviewing books, and about authors behaving badly (here too), and such other sundry things. I haven't been commenting on this much on other people's blogs, but I have been ruminating thereupon, and have reached some conclusions, at least as far as this blog is concerned.

I have decided that, as of this point forward, I will no longer be accepting books for review from authors, publishers, or publicists. There may be some exceptions to this rule, but they are not really worth mentioning at this point. My about page will soon be modified to reflect this change.

I do still have a stack of for-review books to work through, and I will get to all of those in due time. After that, however, I will be concentrating my reading on less-new books, from my own collection and from libraries and from other such sources.

My reasons are as follows:

1) It's not you, it's me.

Right now, I am simply reading too much -- and doing too much with the rest of my life -- to be able to keep up with reviews. I have an awful lot of books to get through for school, which means that books from authors and people get pushed further and further down the pile. That's not particularly fair to those who have sent me texts to read. I cannot get reviews up in a timely manner anymore.

2) Actually, sometimes it is you.

Some of the review copies I've received over the past few months have been really fantastic, super books, books I'm glad that I've read. Others, however, have ranged from mediocre right down to abysmal. I haven't the patience to figure out which is which, and there's nothing more irksome than slogging through some bad book just because I'm obligated to review it. I'd rather spend my pleasure-reading time actually reading for pleasure.

So what will change here? Probably not that much, as far as the rest of you are concerned (those of you who are not me, I mean). Obviously I will keep reading books and writing about books -- I'll just be sourcing the books I read in a different way. Things here might become moderately more amusing, since I'll be more relaxed about the reviews that I am doing (though no promises). I may still participate in the occasional book tour or whatever, but I'm going to play those by ear.

To answer one question that may be asked, I'm not doing this because I'm afraid of having an experience like Trish's. I think that authors like that are not common, and I'm not particularly concerned if authors don't like my reviews. The discussions centred around that were not the catalyst of my decision, although they were timely.

8 comments:

Sheri said...

First of all, I just love your header and must tell you so!

Second, boy did you get me on a roll... going from site to site... leaving comments...

Third, I did change my policy on my ABOUT page... if you're interested in reading it. This is because of your amazing post!

Thank you!

Christine said...

You're welcome, Sheri. This is something that I've been thinking about for a couple months -- it just seemed the appropriate time to make the final decision, with what's been going on recently.

And which header did you see, I wonder? I've got about fifty, that rotate.

Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog said...

Thanks for sharing this change with us and for stating it so well. I've always been pretty selective about what I accept from authors, publicists, and publishers for review, and I make sure they know up front that I'm going to write an honest review, whether it's positive or negative....but as nice as it is to receive free books, it does interfere with one's personal reading time. My pile of TBR/ARCs for review has continued to grow, while my personal TBRs are languishing on the shelf, making occasional appearances in my monthly round-up. I'm hoping to strike more of a balance in the new year, and I hope your changes will make your reading time more valuable and enjoyable for you.

Katherine said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. It's always hard to tell from a press release or similar what's good or bad, so the easiest way to cut out unwanted review copies is to not accept any more. I've got this policy that I only accept ARCs that I've requested myself, because in those cases I've already done a fair amount of research on a book and can judge for myself whether or not it's something that I might like. Life is just too short for bad books, and it's also too short for authors who make your life hell simply because you didn't just LOVE his or her book.

3m said...

Well stated! I've been thinking of doing the same, but I'll still probably accept books on a VERY limited basis. I still love reading new books, but some of my favorites from 2008 are books I found at the library -- Atmospheric Disturbances and Downtown Owl come to mind.

Adventures in Reading said...

Bravo. I was holding out on continuing to take free copies, but after my last few I'm reconsidering.

Mrs. Micah said...

I've got two items to review, one book and one product, and really don't feel like it. So I understand.

Christine said...

Yes -- sometimes I look at my piles and all I can think is, OH NO. But I think over the Christmas break I may be able to discharge the last of my obligations. Then it's back to reading for fun! (well, fun and school...)