Monday Midday RoundUp: The Brave New World of Reviews
Publishers Weekly has posted a special online issue devoted to virality and books. It’s very much directed toward the trade and focuses on what publishers and industry folks can do to “harness” the internet, including blogging themselves.
Publishing Trends has a multi-part series focused on the new world of book reviews online. I don’t know that I am being too bold or boastful to say that the romance blogs that offer reviews do as good of a job as any Publishers’ Weekly or Romantic Times’ review of a romance book.
"I see promising signs of creative and intellectual life everywhere I turn these days," says Mark Sarvas, editor of The Elegant Variation and also a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review and the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I think we’re already at the point where the quality of what’s available online matches all but the best print publications." Jane Ciabattari, NBCC President, agrees: "There is no dearth of passion, no lack of book coverage. I suspect the best approach for publishers is to find individuals with finely honed critical voices and keep them well supplied with advance galleys." What else can publishers do, and where are book reviews headed?
This is a pretty interesting series although some of the sections were too short for me to gain valuable insight.
Kassia Kroszer blogs over at Romancing the Blog that publishers should start thinking of readers instead of Amazon in determining when to release an ebook and at what price.
The FTC has decided that in order to adequately protect consumers, bloggers must start disclosing payments, whether cash or freebies, for reviews. The specific text has been revised as follows:
For purposes of this part, an endorsement means any advertising message (including verbal statements, demonstrations, or depictions of the name, signature, likeness or other identifying personal characteristics of an individual or the name or seal of an organization) that consumers are likely to believe reflects the opinions, beliefs, findings, or experiences of a party other than the sponsoring advertiser, even if the views expressed by that party are identical to those of the sponsoring advertiser. The party whose opinions, beliefs, findings, or experience the message appears to reflect will be called the endorser and may be an individual, group, or institution.
Endorsers also may be liable for statements made in the course of their
The FTC Guide gives an example of when disclosure must be made:
Example 8: A consumer who regularly purchases a particular brand of dog food decides one day to purchase a new, more expensive brand made by the same manufacturer. She writes in her personal blog that the change in diet has made her dog’s fur noticeably softer and shinier, and that in her opinion, the new food definitely is worth the extra money. This posting would not be deemed an endorsement under the Guides.
Assume that rather than purchase the dog food with her own money, the consumer gets it for free because the store routinely tracks her purchases and its computer has generated a coupon for a free trial bag of this new brand. Again, her posting would not be deemed an endorsement under the Guides.
Assume now that the consumer joins a network marketing program under which she periodically receives various products about which she can write reviews if she wants to do so. If she receives a free bag of the new dog food through this program, her positive review would be considered an endorsement under the Guides.
The guide references “positive” reviews more than once. Certainly a negative review wouldn’t be construed as an endorsement. In the future, all C reviews and below will have the disclaimer: The FTC made me do it. I would link to the Guide, but it has been taken down for some reason.
Forgot to add this link. Bookslut interviewed Ron Charles at the Washington Post. Recall that Ron Charles won the RWA Veritas award for one blog post. Charles indicated that all of the reviews they’ve ever received at the Post has contained these words, either at the beginning or the end: "Well if you like this kind of crap, you’ll like this-"
Charles indicates that they are trying but really cannot find someone who can review romances intelligently at the Post.
“We keep trying. We have had a little more luck with Historical Romance, it’s more like Historical Fiction. Sometimes we do find someone who is sympathetic and can review it from the point of view of people who do like and do know something about it.”