Charging for book reviews?

Charging for reviews?

Jul
18

10 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion, News

Imagine my surprise when I came across this post – “Should bloggers charge authors for reviews?”

My exact comment was “This …. is an actual THING? That’s REALLY happening? If I EVER thought to charge for reviews, I’d have to walk around with a bag on my head. I’d be so ashamed.” And I’m still sticking by it. I would be ashamed, as a book blogger. I understand the situation would differ if I were working for a magazine or newspaper or other publication, but I don’t blog for money. I blog because I love reading, writing and supporting all the awesome authors out there.

I feel terrible that authors would even consider paying bloggers to write book reviews. We’re awesome marketing tools, but we’re certainly not all reputable sources, writers or even readers. And the fact that “nice reviews” are being promised for the payments makes this sitatuon all the more disheartening. How can any blogger promise a “nice” review? What is “nice” to them? Positive? Or tactful and respectful? When I think “nice,” I think positive. As a blogger, do you like everything you read? Would you say you provide a “nice” review for those books you dislike? I wouldn’t. I would say I provide an honest review.

But I don’t take issue only with the “nice review” notion. I’m also shocked by the pricing. How can you charge $95 for a review? How do you determine such a price? That certainly covers more than the cost of the book to review.

I realize this is a very sticky situation, one that has far too many variables that can sway opinions. But I think at the heart of the matter, bloggers shouldn’t be charging for reviews. If you’re going to charge for reviews, then you’re not merely a blogger. You’re a paid advertiser.

What do you think?

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10 Responses to “Charging for reviews?”

  1. I’m in complete agreement. I, as a blogger, feel that there’s no need for monetary compensation – I blog because I love/like a book that I’ve read and want others to know about it and talk about it! For me, the payment comes in the form of simply knowing that I’ve done my bit to help an author out.

    • Alissa says:

      Yes! There are so many non-literal payments that make blogging worthwhile. It’s not like this a thankless job or hobby.

  2. We Heart YA says:

    Paid reviews have always existed in some form, but they’ve also pretty much always been a moral gray area. We’re a fan of self-publishing in general, but we suspect that its rise has led to a resurgence of this kind of thing, because authors think it’s an investment, a way to get attention to their book. And it is, but, as we said, it’s a gray area.

    Like you, we wouldn’t charge (unless we were becoming professional in some capacity) and we DEFINITELY wouldn’t promise a positive review. Only an honest and respectful one.

    • Alissa says:

      I’ve seen other posts and articles suggesting that it’s more of the self-published authors taking this route. And knowing how difficult it is to get bloggers to review self-published titles, I understand why authors may resort to paying for the publicity. Still, I hope they don’t immediately settle for paying for reviews.

  3. Liz. R says:

    I agree. I just don’t believe you can give an unbiased opinion if you’re being paid to write a review. That’s not really giving your true opinion, is it? And ultimately the whole review is just pointless because reviews are for READERS and are meant to be honest. So what’s the point of that review? A reader, who it’s supposed to be for, will gain nothing from it. If you’re gonna be paid for your unprofessional reviews, then like you said, it should just be called paid advertising. Because that’s what it is, advertising.

    • Alissa says:

      I hope the paid reviewers keep their reviews as honest as possible. It’s the most I can hope for.

    • Nikki Steele says:

      Too true — the conflict of interest a paid review creates is just to great. We certainly wouldn’t trust a restaurant reviewer if we knew he or she had been tipped some cash for their review. Likewise, book bloggers can choose to openly state that what they’re doing is, in fact, advertising or continue to post objective, unbiased reviews.

      • Alissa says:

        Yes, if there were some sort of statement to address the advertisement, it’d be slightly more practical. Still disheartening though, in my opinion.

  4. That’s not a review, it’s advertising copy!

    For me, the reading is the thing. That I happen to write reviews s just my way of chatting about what I read. I wouldn’t want to take money, then I’d be putting myself under an obligation.

    • Alissa says:

      I know. And I’d feel even more stressed to “perform” well and write a review worth their money. I feel like, ultimately, it would suck the fun out of blogging.

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