where do they come from?

Another book blog I read has been discussing the availability of free books to bloggers and reviewers and what kind of effect receiving free items has on the review and the blog.  It made me think a little about where the books I’m reading are coming from and whether the source impacts my own reviews. 

Of the 26 reviews I’ve completed over the past six months, five have  been of books I received for free through various sources.  Another five or so have been of books I’ve purchased or received as gifts.  But the bulk of them have been library books.

My reliance on library books stems basically from two reasons.  One, I don’t typically buy books I haven’t already read — the main exceptions are young adult novels (which I collect with potential classroom use in mind) and books by authors whose prior works I’ve particularly enjoyed.  Two, a significant number of my reviews come from “reading” a book on CD.  I get ALL of these from the library.  (Though occasionally I check out an audio version of a book I have in hard copy already at home — particularly when it comes to classics.)

But I do find review copies or giveaways of new releases advantageous as well.  Besides the perk of receiving a free book, I’ve been introduced to some authors and works I wouldn’t have otherwise known to seek out.  Also, these freebies allow me to include reviews of new or recent works on this blog; between my reluctance to buy new hardcovers and waiting lists at libraries for popular new releases, I’d be writing almost entirely about books that have been around for awhile.

So this is where I stand as a writer: the free copies offer me opportunities to review books I wouldn’t necessarily have access to otherwise, and I do my best to review a book objectively, no matter where the book comes from. 

But here’s what I want to know:  as a reader of my reviews, does the source matter to you?  When I discuss books, should I be identifying whether they were purchased, borrowed, or received for free? And would this disclosure make you consider the review any differently?   I’m curious and would love to hear what you think.

On a side note, I’m heading to northern Michigan for a few days of vacation, during which I plan to do plenty of reading but little writing.  Enjoy your week!

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~ by Molly on July 28, 2009.

3 Responses to “where do they come from?”

  1. Most of the books I read are library books, and of the 4 giveaways I’ve been privileged enough to win, all were great. I have wondered what I will do when I come across one I don’t like. I tend to think I’ll be more gentle since it was a free book, but I’m not sure. Vary rarely does a book make me want to chuck it out the window…

  2. I somehow managed to talk about myself and missed answering your question! Whoops! My apologies.

    I don’t particularly care for the source, but I will say that if a book is a giveaway and it has a very favorable review, I am more likely to seek it out than just a regular new release.

  3. […] I’ve considered including information in my reviews as to where a book comes from and why I’ve chosen to read it, but up until now, I haven’t gotten around to […]

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