(Not so Fun)Friday: In the Media

So, I’m a strong believer in word of mouth. Many of the gems I’ve come across, be it books, music, television shows or movies, have all been at the suggestion of someone who’s opinion I value, who had insightful things to share. I do not take these suggestions lightly. Without them, I would never have found the Twilight Series. Or started listening to Paramore. Or rented the new BBC version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, only to fall in love with Captain Wentworth (he’s impossibly beautiful, but I digress).

Now, it seems, the government, in particular, the FTC wants to put a stop to these kind of valuable recommendations. I kid you not. Bloggers, beware. As of December 1, 2009, there will be some very strict review policies to follow or you risk being fined upwards of $11k.

For starters, the day of receiving ARCs may be over. Is an advanced copy of a book considered compensation for a review? I suppose my question is, how else is the review supposed to be written? And I suppose we could get the book, read it, and send it back… but that seems like a lot of work and I can see it generating a few headaches for authors and publishers in the future.

I suppose what outrages me the most is that the FTC is missing the big picture. Why not enforce something of substance? Like media piracy? An author friend of mine recently discovered her e-book was being pirated on a website and she’d lost out on thousands of dollars worth of sales. THOUSANDS. Try and put that into perspective. This is a woman with a family, and children, who takes the time to write books so others can enjoy them, and her hard work will never see the true fruits of her labor. But a blogger who gives her good press and reviews her book would be fined? It doesn’t make any sense.

What do you all think? I know many of you readers are also bloggers, are you outraged by these regulations? Do you feel it doesn’t really concern you? Discuss.

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About Isabelle

Isabelle is a multi-published author who dabbles in 1950s romance, speculative science fiction, and more recently fantasy and YA. A twenty something dreamer who loves chocolate, romance novels, and heart wrenching movies, Isabelle is most comfortable on stage behind a microphone belting out her favorite karaoke tunes, or curled up in bed with a book and a cup of cocoa on a rainy night. View all posts by Isabelle

6 responses to “(Not so Fun)Friday: In the Media

  • Lyndsey-Jane

    I really hope it won’t effect this blog, as I have learnt so much from it in it short existence and have added so many books /films to y to read/watch lists all based on reviews from this blog.

    • Lisa

      Thanks so much for saying that, Lyndsey-Jane!

      I think this whole thing is a little ridiculous. I mean, where would it stop? What about websites like Goodreads and Shelfari—which are made entirely to rate and review books? Somebody just isn’t thinking clearly about this.

  • Cristin

    The new FTC rules aren’t meant to dissuade people from reviewing books. They just want you to disclose if you’re being paid for your endorsement, even if the “payment” is in the form of a free book. Personally, I think it’s a slightly irritating and difficult to enforce rule but not a huge deal. I don’t care if someone’s reviewing a book based on an ARC they received, but if they are being paid or otherwise financially renumerated for their review, I think it’s reasonable to have them disclose that fact as it may have influenced their review and therefore how I perceive the review. Although I think it’s silly to bring this rule to blogs, it’s standard practice in other forms of media.

    Book piracy, though, I agree is a huge issue that needs serious evaluation as ebooks become bigger and bigger. Eventually hard copies of books are going to go the way of the dinosaurs, and unlike musicians, who still have concert tickets and merchandise to sell when their CDs are being pirated, book sales are all an authors has. I think we might be about to see a major revolution of the way the publishing industry operates in the next five years or so.

    • Isabelle

      Cristin, you make a valid point. I would like to know if someone’s review is tainted by so-called payment. On the other hand, they’re including the use of “buy links” as no-nos. I think that’s not only ridiculous but unfair. It would put an end to blog tours, a free promotional resource for authors.

      I agree about authors having no other method of money making. Its a big deal.

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