Book Blogs: The Beginning Of The End?

The LA Times recently posted an article about a letter from William Morrow of HarperCollins to book bloggers. The company used to send out unrequested books to bloggers in the hopes of a review (apparently. I was never on that list, so I can’t speak from personal experience). Now they plan on creating a request system which will limit bloggers’ choices to three per month and will expect reviews of those books within one month of shipment.

I can see both sides of this equation. It must cost the company a lot of money to print and ship that many books and I’m sure there are more than a few bloggers who request a ton of books, but don’t always review them–hell, maybe they don’t even read them. I can also see the point of view of the bloggers who have been diligently toiling away on their sites for years (often without compensation of any kind except those free books they receive in the mail). Too bad this system HarperCollins is putting into place can’t judge bloggers on a case by case basis and give the ones who deserve it more credit.

Does this move by HC spell the end of the golden times for book bloggers? Does it signal the end of book blogging entirely? If bloggers who review multiple books per week have to buy all those books, do you think they’ll continue? A few will, those who would buy the books anyway whether they planned on reviewing them or not, but a lot will probably fall away if the flow of free copies ever stops. The advent of the digital age may be the saving grace as it costs companies almost nothing to send out ebook ARCs, but will they do this? The fear of piracy may prevent them from even contemplating it.

There’s no easy answer, but I know how I hope this will turn out. It will be interesting to see the actual outcome.

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