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Wednesday News: ChicklitGirls charge $95 for reviews; threaten lawsuit to the...

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Let me set this up for you. Michelle Gorman apparently sent a review request to ChicklitGirls, a website that offers reviews of various genres. They claim good Christian values and promise to NOT give a negative review to any author. Further, they claim over 2.5 million views for their reviews from their site  and via their contributions to the Books section of Before Its News.  To Gorman and to other authors such as Grace Wen, a request for a review query generates a prompt for cash in return.  Michele Gorman blogged about this and was threatened with a lawsuit.  Likely afraid that a lawsuit would be forthcoming, Gorman redacted all the identifying information although Paula, from the ChicklitGirls’ website, commented to Gorman’s blog post and basically self identifies.

Let’s unpack this starting with the legal threat because as most Dear Author readers know by now nothing gets my engine revved like baseless threats of an internet lawyer (a creature that is never identified by name and more rarely spotted than a unicorn).  I’ve identified a number of things that the Chicklitgirls may want to consult their lawyer about:

Possible trademark infringement.  All over the Chicklitgirls’ site is a slogan called “Goodreads for Women”.  Given that “goodreads” is a trademarked name relating to books and book recommendations, it’s fair to say that “Goodreads for Women” is a slogan that could lead to mark confusion.

Goodreads for women

FTC violations.  The FTC requires blogs to disclose any connection with advertisers, including, in most cases, the receipt of free products and whether or not they were paid in any way by advertisers.  The Chicklitgirls disclosure does state that their content may be influenced by their compensation, but they aren’t clear for what items they are being compensated. Further, they go on to state in the same disclosure and on other parts of their site that their reviews are honest.  The multiple contradictions work to negate any disclosure.

Chicklitgirls disclosure

Click for larger image

Positioning for a SLAPP suit.  Should the Chicklitgirls actually have a real lawyer (which I highly doubt) and would actually bring a suit against Michele Gorman (which would be on par with Charles Carreon’s ridiculous suits against the Oatmeal), they could face a SLAPP suit and their lawyer could face ethical complaints and Rule 11 Sanctions for bringing in a frivolous claim.  Why? Because there is nothing defamatory about posting something that is true. Defamation is a FALSE statement that hurts someone’s reputation.  TRUTH is always a defense.  (You can read up on defamation in my four part series here).  The only other possible claim I could think of was some breach of privacy but there cannot be any expectation of privacy when you are soliciting a business transaction unless there was some signed agreement beforehand which does not seem to exist and then it wouldn’t be a breach of privacy, but a breach of contract.  Perhaps in conjunction with consulting their internet lawyer, they can also meet with a business consultant.

Can they back up their viewership claim?  The Chicklitgirls claim 2.5 million views of their reviews to justify the $95 per review charge.  Dear Author’s Alexa rating is 75,530 and the Chicklitgirls ranking is 479,815 on Alexa.  We get over 450,000 page views a month so we know that the Chicklitgirls website views are much much lower.   But what about their “partnership” with Before It’s News?  BIN is a user generated site and anyone can upload content. In the “Books” section (which takes a while to locate), there are many book reviews posted.  The most popular stories only get around 100 views.  Where are the 2 million + views coming from?

Before its news views post

The only people doing harm to the Chicklitgirls reputation is the Chicklitgirls.

Onto some real news:

Hmmm. I’m not sure I buy into this idea that oxytocin is a moral molecule but it is an interesting theory. h/t @SarahMayberry

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

79 Comments

  1. Nadia Lee
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:06:58

    They said that they are nice girls, and then threatened that if I did not “please do as we ask, you will be hearing from our attorney, and will take the next step and action for defamation of character and business”. Further, they kindly offered that “instead, of smearing your name and books we choose to go the legal way, because we don’t like to hurt people and their reputations.”

    If they don’t think it’s wrong for them to charge for reviews, why so pissy about the author talking about it? Obviously they know it’s NOT COOL, hence the threat, etc.

    ReplyReply

  2. Ashley
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:29:14

    @Nadia Lee: Exactly.

    How long have they been running that blog by the way? Has this been going on for awhile and no one said anything?

    ReplyReply

  3. Turophile
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:37:08

    I am disappointed that I helped drive their page views up but I did visit the site out of curiousity. There is just so much wrong but what is most puzzling to me are the statements that “we just want to help the authors” (paraphrasing). Aren’t book reviews to help the reader?
    Moreover, how does saying only nice things truly help authors. It’s like giving a trophy to everyone regardless of whether you win or lose. If you won’t offer constructive criticism (which is the only reason I could fathom paying someoen to read your book), how are you helping the auhor?
    I hope the FTC catches on to the misleading nature of their site.

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  4. Nadia Lee
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:42:49

    @Ashley: The site’s not that old. The domain name was created & registered on Feb 12, 2012.

    ReplyReply

  5. Aleksandr Voinov
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 06:45:31

    Nice way to monetize your reading time, considering you can slap together a “review” (applying the term lightly) from the blurb and the author biography in under twenty minutes (as is common practice in the “volume model of reviewing”, see top-rated Amazon reviewer/s).

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  6. Joanne
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 07:01:26

    I know it’s often a conundrum but I too wish you hadn’t linked to the RediculousGirls site.

    “instead, of smearing your name and books we

    ….will write your name in the boys bathroom and fill your locker with garbage because we’re NOT young and WE don’t need to learn a lot about life . And we know a lawyer, maybe, sortof. Oh, and by the way, we are NOT bullies.

    And who the hell are the “people that matter”?? Really, really started my day off on a sour note.

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  7. Mireya
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 07:11:43

    LMAO I read about that chicklit blog, and when I visited it all I could do was… laugh. I suspected they were full of hot air, people love to threat with law suits, but frankly, I didn’t think it was going to be as bad as what I found there. I am no attorney, but well, having worked in the litigation field for now over two and a half decades, and being married to one has allowed me to learn some basic things on the topic. They are their own worse enemies.

    Edited to add: About time B&N incorporated a cloud type of system. I tend to prefer my ebooks in epub format, I also like their reading software better than I like Kindle, tbh, so I use it more, so Iike the idea.

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  8. Violetta Vane
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 07:20:30

    Ugh. I visited there too. Although I will never ever do it again. It struck me how bad the review was, too. Not bad as in negative, but bad as in poorly written. I also love to write reviews, and the first review I saw there made me wince.

    “In the first chapter she cleverly introduces the main character, Ellie, by telling us her thoughts, emotions and her views of the world around her, giving us, the readers, a good idea of who our protagonist is and what her life is like.”

    A good (negative OR positive) review gives some sense of what makes the book unique, and secondarily, helps the author by directing the right readers to the book and the wrong readers away. Since they’re actually selling these things, which is horribly unethical to begin with, the least they could do was write reviews that don’t sound like they came out of a text generator. The book has a protagonist that appears in the first chapter! How ground-breaking!

    Congrats to Michele Gorman for doing the right thing.

    ReplyReply

  9. blodeuedd
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 07:20:36

    The goodreads thing was the first thing I spotted when I got there, and I wondered if they get hits cos of it

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  10. connie333
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 07:29:14

    O-0 But why would anyone want to read a review site where it’s basically stated upfront that they are going to be nice about everything that they read? How are you supposed to trust their judgement when you know that they’ll praise pretty much everything? I may not agree with all the reviewers on DA or SBTB but at least I’m sure that I’m getting an honest opinion and am unlikely to waste my money on something shoddily written.
    As for paying for good reviews – its about as morally right as paying your friends to push up your Amazon rating and about as useful to the readers.

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  11. SAO
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 07:39:44

    For $95, you’d think they could come up with something a bit more compelling than the fact that the main character is introduced in the first chapter. For $5, maybe that’s about all you could expect. But I can’t see why readers would read them or writers send their books for review. If it’s a new site, I suspect it will die soon.

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  12. Nicole
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 07:53:50

    So I’ve died from laughing at these girls. Good god. I can’t even.

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  13. Las
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:00:48

    @connie333:

    O-0 But why would anyone want to read a review site where it’s basically stated upfront that they are going to be nice about everything that they read?

    That’s what struck me about that blog. I don’t take any reviewer who has a policy of never writing negative reviews seriously…that’s just unintelligent.

    I really dislike the idea of authors paying for reviews, especially on a blog that only writes positive ones. That says more about the authors than it does about the blogger. (But I’ll admit that I’d feel differently if the blogger in question was one I’d heard of and considered influential.)

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  14. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:06:35

    “Nice” girls don’t run and scream lawyer because the truth comes out. If you’re not doing jack wrong, the truth isn’t going to hurt you.

    Awesome post.

    I checked out the cloud reader for BN the other day…I like it.

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  15. Aleksandr Voinov
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:06:55

    I’m also struck by how they claim they want to support the industry and writers (I’d say the same to my paying customers), but the thing is, “the industry” (a term up for debate) needs more insightful, experienced, unbiased, critical reviewers who know that they are talking about – and they don’t tick any of those boxes. Looks to me like a money-maker above all else (based on the pathetically bad reviews posted on the blog).

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  16. KT Grant
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:14:14

    I really don’t understand how any review site, book review blog or publication, even Kirkus who charges $425 for a review, can justify charging. There are so many review sites and blogs that will review a book for free and be happy to do so.

    Better to take the $95 or whatever money and use it in advertising that may help with sales and gain interest.

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  17. Spaz
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:15:20

    I got the impression they were really hoping everyone would forget about them after Monday, allowing them to quietly carry on with this scam. THANK YOU for calling all of this out! It’s beyond ridiculous and laughable and I hope no authors further fall for this scam.

    ReplyReply

  18. Suzan Butler
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:22:50

    I checked out the Nook for Web. I like it. I still don’t read on my computer… but I have been eying the Nook Tablet.

    I agree with Shiloh. Nice girls don’t scream lawyer… It seems to me they’re just trying to make a quick buck, but didn’t really think through their business model before doing so. Kind of sad to me, since I tend to map everything out when it deals with my business.

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  19. Lori
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:29:05

    $95???? Really???

    Okay, for $50 I will write a scathing review of your book and somewhere in there call you a dunderhead who should never have been allowed to touch a keyboard. I’ll post it on Amazon and Goodreads.

    Then my partner Carolyn will come in and tell me I’m an idiot because it’s the best book she ever read and I’m just a big old mean reviewer who wouldn’t know my ass from a comma splice.

    We’ll argue, throwing in rhetoric, slander and for an extra $10 some really choice insults that we’ve been perfecting for the last eight years of being friends.

    Another $10 guarantees you a personalized GoodReads shelf from each of us. Mine will be titled something like Hated this book and my cat’s litter box is more interesting and Carolyn’s will say something like Loved this book and hate mean girl reviewers with cats.

    Trust me, you’ll get a lot more interest in your book and for the $$ you pay us, we might even read it ourselves. But probably not.

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  20. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:32:39

    @Lori: SOLD!

    ReplyReply

  21. Liz
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 08:38:13

    I checked out the Nook for web and really like it, especially as I’ve never been able to get the Nook program running on my Mac. (Any advice on that, or should I consider it dead in the water?) But, I was wondering how the web app plays into their new monitoring/data collection? Would it be correct that because it’s a web based program there’s no way to avoid it, unlike a program based on your computer for which you can theoretically deny internet access?

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  22. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:15:54

    @Lori: I’d buy that service.

    WHAT?!? Shiloh would too!

    ReplyReply

  23. Ken
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:16:11

    I’m an attorney, a member of the First Amendment Lawyers Association, and a blogger, and like to write particularly about bogus legal threats that chill speech. I also like to connect threatened bloggers with pro bono counsel.

    Thanks for writing about this. I’ll be looking into it.

    ReplyReply

  24. Jane
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:17:54

    @Ken: Popehat, we all love you here and think your work in the Oatmeal case was spectacular.

    ReplyReply

  25. Ros
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:27:29

    @Las: I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. Some bloggers simply choose not to review the books which they read and don’t enjoy. That’s entirely their prerogative and it doesn’t make the reviews which they do post dishonest or unintelligent. There’s at least one blog I regularly read which has that policy and the reviews are always thoughtful and interesting, and give me a good idea of whether or not I will enjoy the book. That’s quite different from the kind of shilling going on at Chick Lit Girls, obviously.

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  26. MarieC
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:33:31

    …nothing gets my engine revved like baseless threats of an internet lawyer…

    Jane, you’re my hero!

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  27. Maili
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:42:54

    as most Dear Author readers know by now nothing gets my engine revved like baseless threats of an internet lawyer (a creature that is never identified by name and more rarely spotted than a unicorn).

    :D Thanks for smashing Chicklitgirls’ LOLsuit threat to smithereens.

    ReplyReply

  28. Meoskop
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:50:33

    I want a piece of Lori’s action.

    ReplyReply

  29. Jade James
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:54:51

    Best description of an internet lawyer I’ve ever heard of: ” (a creature that is never identified by name and more rarely spotted than a unicorn).”

    Made my day :-)

    ReplyReply

  30. Las
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 10:11:13

    @Ros: Having it as a written policy that one won’t write negative reviews makes all reviews unreliable for me, because knowing what you dislike and why tells me more about your tastes than what you do like. I also think it would create an environment where any kind of critical discussion is discouraged. I don’t read such blogs, so maybe that’s not always the case, but such a policy is reminds me a little too much of the, “critical reviews = bullying” nonsense that’s going around.

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  31. Lisa Hendrix
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 10:16:29

    @Liz

    I’ve never been able to get the Nook program running on my Mac. (Any advice on that, or should I consider it dead in the water?)

    I just re-downloaded the Nook for Mac app last night and it seems to work fine now. Give it a try.

    ReplyReply

  32. Jeffe Kennedy/Jennifer Paris
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 10:34:37

    Lori – you made me laugh and laugh! I want to sign up, too.

    And thank you, Jane, for this. I really appreciate that you have the spine and clarity of thought to stand up against this nonsense.

    ReplyReply

  33. becca
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 11:14:49

    I’m tempted to write a book, just to use Lori’s service. Alas, it would probably be as terrible as the “mean girl” would say it was.

    I don’t like cloud-based services. It assumes that everyone has unlimited broadband, which I don’t. Also, I like owning my books, and backing them up. if the book only existed in the cloud, why am I paying full price for it?

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  34. Lucy Woodhull
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 11:39:04

    @Moriah Jovan: @Lori: @Shiloh Walker: I am SO in, too. Can we authors get a sideshow going involving mud wrestling and slams at one another in Haiku form? I smell a bestseller in my future!

    Dayum, I am in the wrong business. For $95 I expect the reviewer to name a child after my main character. Or at least a cat. Actually, I’d like that better.

    ReplyReply

  35. Lucy Woodhull
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 11:41:17

    @Jade James: It sounds like a SNL sketch: Grandiose McBullshit, Internet Lawyer for hire.

    ReplyReply

  36. Kaigou
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 11:41:21

    “You are young and need to learn a lot about life still, especially when it comes to business practices. What you are doing is causing others (especially the people that matter) to see you as a trouble maker, and then they won’t want to work with you.”

    Gee, weren’t we just talking yesterday about the way women are shoved into the niceness shoebox (including by other women)? You shouldn’t speak up, shouldn’t speak out, because that’s causing trouble, and no one will like you. While I wouldn’t call this bullying per se (though I’d call it a lot of other things if I could stop laughing long enough to be coherent), it’s certainly a prime example of how the “you have to be nice” slapdown is rampant in our society.

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  37. Hannah E.
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 11:42:56

    @Lori: I just giggle-snorted coffee all over my keyboard. I agree with Becca; I want to write a book just so I can hire you.

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  38. Robin/Janet
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 11:58:39

    I really don’t understand how any review site, book review blog or publication, even Kirkus who charges $425 for a review, can justify charging. There are so many review sites and blogs that will review a book for free and be happy to do so.

    What about publications like PW that pay reviewers for reviews? Also, doesn’t Publisher’s Weekly charge for reviews of self-published books? I assume this is in lieu of the kind of advertising and promotional support that actual publishers would otherwise provide? Does that diminish the the perceived value or neutrality of those reviews?

    I’m not trying to be snarky here – I’m simply trying to figure out what I think about the differences between paying a publication for a review (not a guarantee positive review, just a review), and using revenue earned from subscriptions and advertising to pay reviewers to review books for the publication. Does the presence of any monetary exchange around reviews taint the water, so to speak?

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  39. Michelle
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 12:02:15

    Lori fantastic idea. Also how about hiring “minions” to support your position. Might add extra drama, and would foil any one claiming sockpuppets. You could charge $5 per minion, and split the fees with your underlings.

    ReplyReply

  40. Ros
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 12:05:52

    @Las: In the case of the blog I’m thinking of, critical discussion definitely happens in the comments and disagreement is always allowed. The reviews are not always wholly positive about everything in the books, but I think she just prefers not to put the time and effort into reviewing books she hasn’t enjoyed. It works for me.

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  41. Ros
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 12:07:38

    @Robin/Janet: I think there’s a clear difference between being paid by an author for a review of their book and being paid by a publication for a review to be published by them.

    ReplyReply

  42. Michele Gorman
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 12:22:07

    @Kaigou: I laughed when I received the email. In fact I laughed my 45 year old, 25-years-of-business-experience, 12-years-writing, 7-books-under-my-belt head off.

    ReplyReply

  43. Kwana
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 12:33:59

    “…people that matter” I’m cracking up. Thanks for that today. The gall of “people that matter” I just love it.

    ReplyReply

  44. Robin/Janet
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 13:24:55

    @Ros: Yes, I agree. What do you think about PW’s policy regarding self-published books, then?

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  45. Bob
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 14:36:21

    Oh my, Boing Boing has now picked up this sordid story.

    Guess what, chicklitgirls.com – your stupidity ain’t going away anytime soon. You just unleashed a whirlwind. Way to cause your own world to come crashing down around you.

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  46. Grace
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 14:46:50

    I might pay $95 for a review, but only if I could get it in this format from this particular reviewer:

    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/340987215

    Because that…that is gold.

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  47. hapalochlaena
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 15:14:11

    @Grace:
    Imma write a book just so I can get reviews like that.

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  48. Carrie
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 16:08:41

    @Lori:

    In the name of capitalism and competition, my daughter and I can play good reviewer/bad reviewer for $40 and throw in the goodreads shelves for free. ;-)

    (Great idea, Lori!)

    ReplyReply

  49. Anne V
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 16:15:24

    @Lori: Can we sponsor authors for this excellent service?

    ReplyReply

  50. Mireya
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 16:29:59

    @Ken: Love love LOVE your blog. Very glad I found it via DA.

    ReplyReply

  51. Mireya
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 16:33:07

    @becca: I admit I haven’t looked into the Nook cloud yet, but if it works like the Amazon cloud you most definitely can back up the ebooks in your own computer.

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  52. Mireya
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 16:36:37

    @Robin/Janet: I can’t speak for others, but I never read paid-for reviews from any publication. I always have issues trying not to see a “taint” about so-called “professional” reviews. As to reviews paid for by authors, I don’t even want to go there.

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  53. Mireya
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 16:42:34

    @Grace: OMG, thanks for sharing that!

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  54. Susan
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 16:52:25

    @Grace: That review made my day. Or, in CG staccato: Made. My. Day. Thanks for the link.

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  55. Lori
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 17:02:24

    It’s a sad, sad day when the reviews are better than the books.

    And Carrie… I hate competition. I’m flouncing.

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  56. Iola
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 17:04:31

    @Violetta Vane: Ouch. As you say, if introducing the heroine and giving us an idea of her personality in the first chapter is ‘clever’ writing, I hope never to see bad writing.

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  57. Iola
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 17:09:49

    @Robin/Janet: You said “I’m not trying to be snarky here – I’m simply trying to figure out what I think about the differences… Does the presence of any monetary exchange around reviews taint the water, so to speak? ”

    Amazon doesn’t permit paid reviews in the Customer Reviews section, so (in theory) Chicklit girls shouldn’t be allowed to post on Amazon (and what’s the point in a blog review if it isn’t also posted on the major consumer websites). In order to qualify as a customer review, the reviewer can have received NO COMPENSATION except a free copy of the product, which must be disclosed under FTC regulations.

    Amazon does permit authors to post paid-for reviews (e.g. from Publishers Weekly or Kirkus) in the Editorial Reviews section of the book page. Yeah, that bit most of us ignore.

    So, yes, the monetary exchange is important.

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  58. Jennifer Leeland
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 17:16:42

    @Grace:
    That review made me laugh. A lot. It was the graphics that got me. Especially the Buffy Glare.

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  59. Karenmc
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 17:18:37

    That GR review really perked up my afternoon. I’m also glad to know that there are “people that matter” looking out for the rest of us.

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  60. Ros
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 17:27:20

    @Robin/Janet: I can see why they do it – not just because they’re not getting the same financial support as they do from publishers buying advertising, but also as a filter mechanism. I still don’t much like it and I would find it hard to treat those reviews on the same terms as the others they provide.

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  61. Wahoo Suze
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 18:27:54

    I’m thinking it’s about time we started using the term Nice Girls ™ to describe this passive-agressive, you’re-a-bully-if-you-disagree-with-me, ever-so-politely-threatening bullshit behaviour.

    Like, Nice Guys ™ are douches who think that if they do lots of nice things for a girl, she owes him sex.

    Nice Girls ™ think any vicious or illegal action is okay if they like the person doing it.

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  62. Kelly
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 19:12:11

  63. Liz Mc2
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 19:33:31

    I’m going to take @WahooSuze as my Internet role model. She doesn’t comment often, but she makes every one count. Also love @Lori’s business concept. You’re offering a bargain!

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  64. Kaetrin
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 20:11:10

    @Lori: LOL!

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  65. Merrian
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 20:33:15

    @Mireya:

    You can back Kobo books up onto your PC as well

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  66. Wahoo Suze
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 20:53:51

    @Liz Mc2: Oh my gosh! Wow, I guess that comment came out making more sense than I thought it did. *blush*

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  67. Beth
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 23:51:25

    @Lori:

    Do you take Pay Pal? :-)

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  68. Andrea
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 23:54:24

    @Robin/Janet: Strictly speaking PW (not sure about Kirkus) doesn’t charge for “reviews”. They charge for your book to be listed in the special self-publishers supplement. They then pick a percentage of those books that they’re charging to list, and review those books only. Generally harshly. So you’re paying to be listed and the chance of a review.

    As a way to get revenue it’s probably working for them. As value for money for self-publishers, not so much. An excellent review for an excellent book is still disadvantaged by being in the self-publishers ‘ghetto’ supplement. Paying a lot of money just to be listed would be depressing.

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  69. April
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 05:46:17

    Thanks for the heads up about the review blog [I don't even want to type the name] – I never knew ‘good Christian values’ included threatening to smear the reputation of someone who has the guts to disclose what amounts to a dirty little secret. I guess they’re not aware that the Internet is really a small place and once bad behavior is made public it usually goes viral.

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  70. Jade James
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 08:03:07

    @ Grace, Thank you so very much for posting this. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/340987215

    YOU HAVE MADE MY ENTIRE WEEKEND SUPREME :-)

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  71. P. Kirby
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 12:22:52

    “They claim good Christian values and promise to NOT give a negative review to any author.”

    Methinks they aught to acquaint themselves with their Bibles, because their review practice isn’t exactly Jesus-y. I’m no theologian, but I’ve read enough of the Bible to know that Jesus, while given to acts of kindness and so forth, wasn’t exactly one to sugarcoat the truth. In many cases, he was brutally honest. To the question, “What would Jesus do?” the answer is probably not, “Write obsequious book reviews.”

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  72. Robin/Janet
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 13:17:50

    @Mireya: Would you include reviews in newspapers and book supplements? Reviewing requires a lot of the reviewer, when entered into seriously — skill, time, intellectual energy, etc. I can see why people would only want to do it if they got paid for it, and I’m not convinced that every circumstance in which a reviewer is paid for work others might consider valuable taints the product. I’m starting to wonder if that’s a false distinction we’ve created to measure honesty, when I can think of many reasons a review written for free could be dishonest. NOT that I’m suggesting pay for positive review is okay. Obviously, I’m not. But I can see, frex, why reviewers for PW or the NYT or whatever would feel they deserve to be paid for their work. Because it is work, and their work is helping the publication to earn more revenue, as well.

    @Iola: Interesting, re. Amazon reviews. I guess the assumption is that we all know authors are in the promotion business, as well. Although a free review offered by a family member who has every reason to “love” your book kind of undermines the idea that money is the real taint.

    @Ros and @Andrea: Intellectually I understand all this and how/why it’s done. If I step back for a second and think about the principles in operation here, though, it’s a fascinatingly artificial (and probably largely false) distinction that’s created between traditional publishers and self-publishers — that big money gets to play in the main sandbox, while small money gets to play in the little sandbox at the back of the house. Totally distinct from issues of quality or format, etc., it’s an interesting sense of legitimacy we’ve all been conditioned into over the years.

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  73. MrsJoseph
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 15:25:10

    @Robin/Janet: I would make the distinction on what the reviewer does for a living. If they are a professional (and by this I mean full time) reviewer who’s JOB it is to review books – that person should be paid. If they work for some sort of publication (full or part time) and are asked to review for said publication – also should be paid.

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  74. Sandra
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 18:29:30

    @becca: I’ve checked out the nook for Web. Basically, you log into your nook account @ BN, then click on whatever book you want to read that’s available in your library. As long as you don’t delete the book from your library (and BN doesn’t go belly-up) the books are available to you. Since I have a nook as well as the nook for PC app, my books are stored both on my computer and in my nook, as well as at BN.

    This isn’t of great interest to me, mainly because my nook’s surgically attached, and goes with me everywhere. It also doesn’t allow you access to anything that’s been side-loaded into your nook or app. I can see where it could come in handy for a work computer, where you can’t or don’t want to install the PC app (or download all your NSFW books). It’s also a way to get around the “lend-me” restrictions, assuming you trust the person you’re “lending” to enough to share your BN login and account info.

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  75. RevPlace
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:08:33

    I used to work at Barnes and Noble up until a few weeks ago. They have a tendency to call things “revolutionary” when in fact it is just a minor step forward. The cloud-based reading is pretty cool though.

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  76. Ali
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 21:58:45

    Has anyone noticed that the chicklit site is down? It just says coming soon…

    Also, @Grace: Fantastic

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  77. A Different Beth
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 10:59:04

    (Note that B&N’s “Nook for Web” — as of last night — “only works with the most updated releases” of the browsers they say it runs on. If you happen to run a revision lower of, for example, Safari, you may well see all the optional hyphenation marks as big, ugly boxes. We will not discuss their online support dude going, “Update your browser” as his first flat statement when all I really wanted to do was have someone say, “Didn’t know that! I will send the programmers a bug report. Thanks.” (Because no, I will not buy a new computer for one website.) We’ll see if the email he eventually gave me will lead to any programmers being smacked with tuna until they adjust things, but if this is a “revolution,” I suppose I’m a little revolted right now. *sigh* )

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  78. lacrimsonfemme
    Jul 24, 2012 @ 08:21:19

    Wow, thanks for explaining this, Jane. I saw this on a post from Shiloh Walker and had to read more.

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  79. Patty
    Aug 24, 2012 @ 20:02:57

    Have you nothing better to do than to pick apart small time websites? Geez, this is ridiculous!

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