Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For the Love of Books: Bloggers Charging for Reviews

I saw this post from author Michele Gorman called, Should bloggers charge for reviews?  I'm not sure if you saw this, but I'd say it's a must read if you're an author.  I'm curious how many authors are having the same issue as Michele.
Source
As a writer, blogger and book lover, I get a ton of requests to review books on my blog.  I do my best to support those who ask, but sometimes I just can't.  If I don't have the time, I usually offer an author interview or even a guest post so at minimum an author can get their book solid web exposure.  That said, when I do read and review books, I don't charge nor have I ever considered doing so.

In Michele's post, she mentioned a book blogging site wanted to charge $95 for a review, which I found astounding.  Sounds crazy, huh?  I found an interesting article from CNET at Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know - In #21 it discusses a couple of options self pub authors have with buying reviews. Maybe it's worth it, maybe it's not, but it got me wondering what you all thought.

- For bloggers/readers:
I have to ask, Do you charge for reviews? If so, what's a fair price? Or is it wrong to charge?  I'm interested in true insight from bloggers who do charge.  I know how time consuming reading and reviewing can be so this question is strictly for educational purposes.

- For authors:
Have you faced this challenge?  How have you handled it when book blogging sites wanted to charge?  At what point would you consider paying for a review?  Is it even worth it? Only if Oprah herself reviewed the book, huh?  LOL!

Ah, writing, reading and reviewing...it's all for the love of books, right?

Mina B.

30 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My publisher sends books out for review and I'm pretty sure they don't pay for any of them.
I thought according to the FTC disclaimer we have to display that if we review anything, we can't accept payment for the review?

kmckendry said...

Interesting discussion. I would think if you're being paid, it could become a conflict of interest and objective reviews would be a thing of the past.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Back in 2007 when I self-published a book, there was still such a stigma around it that most book bloggers would not accept self-published books under any circumstances. Others charged money -- and I heard all kinds of bad things about those reviewers and their reviews. Some of them wrote reviews that appeared to be based on the back cover blurb! I avoided them like the plague.

Nowadays, the stigma has lessened. If you can't find book bloggers willing to review your book, then you aren't trying.

Of course, actually participating in the blogging community helps a lot. For the writers who turn their nose up at blogging, who don't visit other people's blogs, who "don't have the time because they are too busy" -- well, they are kind of missing the boat. If they want to pay $95 for a possibly insincere review that no one will respect ... then that's their mistake.

(Ahem. I'll get off my soapbox now ...)

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I've heard of places that charge $400 or more, which seems stupid.

As part of the Amazon Vine program though I get a lot of advance reader copies (and other stuff too) that I can review. No one puts a gun to my head to do it but if I want to get more stuff I have to review 75% of what I get, which is pretty easy to do. Of course you have to be a real publisher to get your book in that.

Incidentally, if anyone wants to pay me $100 for a review, I'm game.

Mina Lobo said...

Wow, color me ignorant - I had *no idea* such a practice occurs, and find it incredibly bizarre...I guess there's a lot more about this business I need to learn!
Some Dark Romantic

Abhishek Boinapalli said...

Nah,

I don't charge anything for a review ... I charge for hosting book blog tours and such ... but not for a review ...

Another Author

Vikki said...

I don't charge for reviews and to be honest, when I set up my site the thought never even crossed my mind.
I wanted to do it for the love I have of books and authors alike. Although I did know this happened, it's not something I would ever do.

Jessica said...

Sadly, this does not surprise me. It seems like anymore the more money you wave around, the more things you can get.

I wouldn't trust anyone that wants me to pay for a review. Talk about buying praise. And who knows if they actually read it.

I never charge for and review I do. I started my blog for the simple pleasure of reading and to help out all authors to get their books out there.

What an outrage!!

Tobi said...

I don't charge! I've heard of bloggers charging & promising 3* or higher reviews. To me this isn't a review this is paid advertising. Authors sometimes provide copies of.their books but I don't promise a great review. I do however tend to review ones in certain genres I know I like. So there's my 2¢ check my blog see if you'd like.me to do a review. http://forgetthehouseworkimreading.blogspot.com

Tara Tyler said...

never heard of that. but i dont deal with any big name book blog sites. doesnt sound right. but if they are professional reviewers and have credentials and experience and readers listen to them, that might be worth marketing money for an honest review...

J.A. Redmerski said...

There's nothing wrong with bloggers/reviewers charging for ad space and stuff like book tours and things like that, but to charge for a review is just weird to me. Even if an author is paying for an *honest* review, bad or good, chances are that the fact this reviewer charges will likely knock their reviewer integrity down a lot of notches because too many people will assume their *good* paid reviews were influenced by that money. I just think there are way too many great book bloggers out there that love to read and review books and who do it for free, so there's no reason to pay someone for it.

BLHmistress said...

Never would I ever charge, to me that's just wrong. But honestly it doesn't surprise me its happening though.

I had family ask me if I get paid and I said no and they said why not? You put in all the time and my reply was I do it because of my love for books and if I can help in any way I can for these authors without getting paid.

Lynn Proctor said...

honestly--i would be interested if i were paid :)

Concise Reviews By Michelle said...

I do not charge for reviews. I wish i could make an honest living doing something I love, reading, but just don't see how it can happen.
If I was able to get paid to read extra books, like read all day, instead of a job, well, i can see how it would be beneficial, especially if you were doing books for a certain publisher, get paid for all that time, but I don't see it happening, not really.
I just get the free book, for the review, for me, that is enough, AND i only read and review in the gendre I like, its only fair. I always give an honest review, and usually its 4-5 stars. (if i have something constructive to say to the authors, i do that to them privately, its only fair, usually its just missed editing stuff, or an idea to help a sequel book out, things like that)
So, no, i do not get paid money, I get the book free, so really, its like getting paid, especially if its a book you may have eventually bought yourself.
I am not sure if actually getting paid alot for reviews would get them an honest review, it may, depending on the person. Its hard to say. I am not against it, or really for it, like I said, I would love to make money reading, but don't see how it would really happen.
I am happy to help out the Indie authors, and also get ARC from a few sources too, its nice to get the book ahead of time too, (just have to look past errors, as they are uncorrected books, I also only try to get ebooks too)
I do not know why some people refuse to review and help the self-published, I sure have found some really good books from self published. Some better than any from well known publishers.
Well, that's my 2 cents worth. :)

martha campos said...

That is horrible!
I do not charge to review anyone's books.
I believe it is unethical. I do receive books in exchange for reviews but the review i give is my own honest opinion. Sometimes i like the book and sometimes i don't which is what i say in my reviews.

Jackie Burris said...

Shame our world is so full of unscrupulous folks. No do not charge for books that are given to me in exchange for an honest review, my love of reading is my reward as is the feeling I get when find a new author who entertains my mind for a few hours or a day and to me regardless of how much time it takes that is my payment and in my opinion it is a fair one!

Books and certain members of the book blogging community has become like an "extended family", like any "family" there are going to be some "bad eggs".

Jackie B Central Texas

DonnaGalanti said...

Mina, I had not heard of this! WOW. I thought it was sort of a win-win situation as is. Book bloggers do it as they love books and get them for free and authors give away a book and get a review. I will keep an out our for this. I hope its not a new trend! Also, I want someone to give me an honest review not a paid one that might be influenced by that. Its all about building credibility for me as an author - and making friendships with fantastic bloggers - like you!

Jessica ( frellathon ) said...

Charging what the hell. I've never done that or even thought to do that.

Elise Fallson said...

I'd be worried how objective the book review would be once money changed hands. What about money-back guarantees? o_O I could see this quickly becoming a slippery slope...

mshatch said...

I wouldn't dream of charging but I don't do that many reviews on my blog, usually just the books I've read and want to share or use as an example.

Michael Pierce said...

I haven't come across people charging for reviews yet, but then again, I haven't asked a whole lot of people (something I need to do more of). But I wouldn't pay someone for it as long as there's someone else willing to do it for free. And I hope it doesn't come to that.

Nick Wilford said...

I've never heard of this but it's not exactly surprising. Some people will make money wherever they can. Isn't receiving books for free enough?? I understand a lot of time is put in, but look at how much time and effort is spent in writing the book! That may never be fully recouped.

Stacy Henrie said...

Super interesting! I haven't run across this yet.

J.L. Campbell said...

As you noted, it's time consuming to read and review. I have a book review blog, but that's just for fun. I'd never think of charging, particularly since I write.

I guess it's okay for people to charge if this is something they do for a living, but as a writer, I don't think I'd travel that road, not when there are so many bloggers who read and provide a thoughtful review that I don't have to pay for. I understand that some reviews carry a lot of weight, but still...

Tonja said...

I've never heard of this either. Not surprising though.

nutschell said...

I never charge for reviews. Then again I don't like to review books unless I've read them myself and I actually have lots of good things to say about it.:)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Rachel Morgan said...

What?? That's insane! I didn't know some people charged for reviews! Fortunately, I haven't come across that yet. I have seen an article or two about people who charge a few bucks to put multiple fake 5 star reviews onto Amazon for you (and I was SHOCKED when I read that!) but I didn't know that there were genuine reviewers out there charging for their service.

Kayla Beck said...

Great post, Mina! This is really an interesting topic.

Review copies are so expensive for authors and publishers as it is (if nothing else, I don't buy the book because I'm provided with a copy), that charging in addition to that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. When someone charges for their reviews, it is paid advertisement and makes their credibility questionable. I know that it would be hard for me, personally, to write a negative or even mediocre review for a book I was paid to read. I mean, I feel bad for days when I don't like a review book.

I won't knock the people who provide or buy the service, but it's definitely not for me. And to be honest, if a review doesn't state where the copy came from (library, publisher, bookstore, etc.), I usually won't pay any attention to it. I read most of the reviews in the blogosphere for collection development at my library, and I'd hate to think that I would use tax dollars to buy something based on the word of a compensated blogger.

Sapphyria said...

I run 2 book blogs - one for YA and mostly clean adult reads and the other for erotic, overly violent, or strong language infused books. I would NEVER consider charging anyone to read their books and review them on my sites. I get the book at no cost from the author/publisher/tour promoter/library/sister/friend or I buy them for my own bookshelf and that's good enough for me! :)

Saph

Mark Murata said...

Even if you're not biased, the moment you charge for one review, you'll be tagged as being biased for the rest of your internet existence.

The usual concept is reviews should be free, but there's nothing wrong with charging people for adspace on your site, so long as it is labeled as a paid advertisement.