How many of you are aware of the FTC’s new guidelines which will impact book bloggers who accept ARCs and review copies for review? Their announcement this week that the guidelines will take effect December 1st set off an avalanche of posts from bloggers. Many are worth reading. Check out Melissa’s Argument for Bias, and Marie’s Guest Post by attorney Jeffrey Hermes who answered questions about the new regulations.
Bottom line: Bloggers who receive books from authors, publishers or publicists for review must conspicuously disclose this. Apparently the FTC feels that book bloggers might just be unethical enough to endorse a book they either a) did not completely finish reading, or b) didn’t really like. Being a government agency, the FTC keeps the guidelines pretty vague. They don’t tell bloggers what they mean by “conspicuous disclosure,” and they don’t explain how they would enforce the guidelines (although rumors of an $11, 000 fine are apparently false). They also do not have a good explanation as to why bloggers are targeted, but print reviewers get a pass on the guidelines. Oh, and they suggest we return our ARCs and review copies.
It is no secret that I accept books for review here. I post all the books I receive on my Mailbox Monday posts with links to where the book came from…is this conspicuous enough? I’m not sure. I suppose interested readers could also go to my Library Thing tags where every single book received for review is tagged as such. Despite this, I have been advised that this is really not enough either.
So beginning December 1st, those readers who are worried that my reviews might be tainted because the book arrived free to my home (despite this recent ARC which I disliked so much I did not finish it), will now be able to instantly know which reviews were for books accepted from publishers, authors and publicists. Just scroll to the bottom of the review and there in the right hand corner will be this cute little kitten who is surrendering. Because that is what I guess I have to do – surrender to a government body which knows nothing about book blogging, which apparently thinks bloggers are making a gazillion dollars from their blogging endeavors, and which has nothing better to do with our tax payer dollars than to harass us.
And here I thought we had bigger issues in this country – like 10% unemployment and a war or two. But I digress….
I will not be returning my review copies after reading them. I think, given that the FTC feels this is compensation for a review, that I’ve earned the right to keep them or give them away to friends. I also want to point out that there are no advertisements on Caribousmom…and not because I am some sort of saint, but because when I did try doing the Amazon Associate thing, I realized that the “profit” for cluttering up my blog was about $5.00 a year. Good thing I didn’t quit my day job.
Now, back to the regular scheduled programming….