“For Review” Vs. “For Review Consideration”
What is the real difference between “for review” and “for review consideration” anyway? What could one medium-length word really change? Well, instead of trying to convince you myself, I’ll point you to the wonderfully written article that convinced me after I went in expecting to blithely disagree and chortle. Kim explains quite eloquently the difference between accepting books for review and accepting books for review consideration and how the latter is not as evil as so many of us seem to think. Stacked also discussed this idea of what a book blogger’s responsibility actually is. It is so surprising to me that I had never realized this was how a lot of older book bloggers ran their review policy previous to these articles.
The main thrust of the article is that book bloggers as a whole seem to think that receiving books in exchange for a review (even an honest one) is a fair verbal contract. However, (and I didn’t know this previously) editorial media does not enter into this sort of tit-for-tat, book-for-review agreement with publishers, even when a reviewer specifically requests a book from the publisher. Kim argues that we as book bloggers should seriously consider changing how we view review books and our obligations to be more in line with editorial media for a number of reasons. The biggest reason that sticks out to me, however, is that if the norm becomes that we accept books for review consideration and make no promises beyond that, all of a sudden all that stress about being behind on ARCs and review obligations disappears. It is already becoming more accepted to DNF review books if you must and inform the publicist either through NetGalley’s feedback form or directly via email that you decided to DNF said book. There really isn’t much of a leap from there to only accepting books for review consideration, since it is really just stating up front that you make no promises about finishing and reviewing the book.
Many of the commenters weren’t keen on the idea of requesting books with the knowledge that you might not actually review them, but I think that that is the wrong emphasis. As Kim and others point out in the comments, it is rare that she doesn’t read and review a book she requested, but it is important to have the option if you realize in the time between the request going out and the book showing up that you don’t want to read it anymore.
All of this is particularly relevant to me since I’ve reached the point where I look at what I “need” to read for review in the coming months and I look at what is “overdue” for review and I realize that it is simply not possible to read all of the books that have come into my possession. I was becoming pretty burdened by guilt over not having gotten to so many books before they were published and stressed about keeping up with the ones that haven’t been published yet. But as soon as I switch gears into considering these review books all as books for review consideration, I feel much better. Now, when I look at a book that I received for review consideration, but am no longer excited about, I feel okay setting it aside. I did consider it for review, read the first couple of pages, read the reviews of a couple of my book canaries, and realized that it isn’t a book for me at this point. Yes, I could push through to page 50 or 100 and DNF it and write some feedback based on that, but do I really want to do that if I’m pretty sure on page 5 that I’m not interested??
If you hadn’t guessed already, this is also the post where I officially declare that I’m switching to only accepting books for review consideration (with the one exception of the few tours I sign up for). You won’t notice many changes in all likelihood, but here are the things that I have changed to move me into this new mindset:
- Changed my Review Policy here on the blog as well as putting a note in my NetGalley and Edelweiss profiles
- Changed my Goodreads “to-review” shelf to a “for-review-consid” shelf
- Changed the disclosure note on upcoming reviews to change “in exchange for an honest review” to “for review consideration”
- Looked through my overdue review pile to decide between books that I really do want to get to still and books that I’m okay giving up on at this point
I’m also thinking of starting a monthly feature where I let myself start with a clean slate by giving a bit more publicity to the books that were published that month that I received for consideration but ended up not reading. This way the books have one more chance to get on someone else’s radar who might really enjoy them and I am able to officially let myself off the hook for not reading them. Would you find this an interesting feature?
I’m sure that I’m going to ruffle some feathers with this post since from the comments on Kim’s post, it sounds like it is a pretty touchy issue in the community. I’m happy to discuss it though as long as everyone stays nice ;-). I really feel that this would be a good change for the community as a whole given how much stress I see posted about surrounding overdue books and am already feeling better after making this change myself.
What do you think? Would you be interested in that monthly recap that features books I didn’t get to? Are you thinking about switching your review policy?
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