In new guidelines released Oct. 5, the FTC put bloggers on notice that they could incur an $11,000 fine if they receive free goods, free services, or money and write about the goods or services without conspicuously disclosing their "material connection" to the provider. The FTC guidelines extend even to Facebook and Twitter posters. If you received a gratis novel from the publicity department of a publisher and posted a tweet about it without disclosing that the book was a freebie, you become an "endorser" in the FTC's view. It could—in the name of consumer protection—hit you with a fine. The 81-page guidelines will take effect December 1.
So even though it's only October 11th, I decided to let the world know: "I have accepted review copies of books from publishers and media organizations in the past".
Receiving a free review copy has never swayed my review in any way. I tell it as I see it when I review a book -- regardless if the books is good, bad or just so so. Just because someone sends me a free review copy, does not mean they can expect a glowing review. If I can't even relate to the book, or have difficulty finishing it, I won't even post a review about the book.
What happens to my review books when I'm done with them? Do you even care? Well I donate them to the library or senior center in my area. On occasion, I may give the book to a friend or another book blogger as a giveaway. Am I violating a law? I hope not, because if this ridiculous proposed law is enforced, maybe we will all have to stop accepting review books??
Until then I'd like to share with my fellow bloggers and the FTC some the review books that arrived at my home this week:
- The Ice Chorus; Sarah Stonich - sent to me by the author
- Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt; Beth Hoffman - sent to me by the author
- Alice I Have Been; Melanie Benjamin - sent to me by Bantam Dell
- Secrets of a Christmas Box; Steven Hornby - sent to me by Ecky Thump Books, Inc.
- Children of the Dust; Ali Eteraz - sent to me by Julie H at FSB Associates
My book review rating symbols will remain unchanged!