Friday, October 16, 2009

Thoughts on the FTC

I've been reading and rereading other people's posts on the announcement from the FTC regarding book bloggers and endorsements. There have a lot of thoughtful, detailed posts on the subject, ranging from bloggers who have said they will no longer review books received from publishers to those who say they already have a disclaimer on their site to the ones who think the whole thing is a joke and there is no way the FTC can actually enforce this ruling.

I'm not 100% sure what I think.

One the one hand, I do think that acknowledging where I got a book is fair. I'm fairly confident that I do that now with any ARCs I receive, although I suppose that I'll need to be extra sure going forward. As it stands, most of the books I read now are from the library (I read about a book on another blogger's site* or I saw it at B&N but didn't want to pay for it**). Do I have to acknowledge where I get books that aren't ARCs? Won them in a giveaway? Received as a gift? Borrowed from someplace other than the library?

And what about those of us who have no ads on our site? Or don't link the book to Amazon, etc.?
And also, an ARC--by nature--has no value, so how exactly am I supposed to value it? And I don't think anyone has touched on electronic copies of texts...

There's also the fact that blogging, even about books, is a hobby for a lot of people; we want to talk about books that we like with other people, who might also like the same books we like, that like a different book, or with people who just like books. It's not a paying job for us.

Really, I guess I'm left with more questions. I don't understand how the FTC will track this (requiring publishers to submit a list of all the people they've sent books to seems ridiculous and impractical) and I don't get how I--or any other non-paid book blogger--can be required to send back a book, especially when in some cases we haven't asked for it.

I just don't get it.

*I've actually been meaning to start this, because I always forget where I find books. But if I do that, am I endorsing someone else's endorsement?

**I know that they are worth it, but books are expensive! I have a really hard time justifying to myself the cost when I could spend that $22.95 on food for a week.


sassymonkey said...

95% of the books I read are from the library. Well most years. I think it's a bit higher this year because I've been trying to read a few more of my own books. I'm having a hard time justifying buying them when I don't seem to read my own books. Bad reader!

I'm not worried about the FTC. I disclose when I get books for free for the purpose of reviewing in the book review and always have. It's just always seemed like the right thing to do.

Hayden said...

Yes, I've put myself on a book buying freeze for several reasons, one being that I have books I haven't read yet too.

I guess I'm more worried about where the FTC regulation is going in the long run. I don't like it when I feel the government's sticky hands all over me.