Have you ever had this happen to you? What was your response?

I recently had an author contact me about reviewing his book. I agreed, and asked what format it was in. He responded that I could purchase a hardback copy online to review. I mailed him back and said unfortunately, my book budget for the month has been spent already, so I'd have to respectfully decline and say no thank you.

Then, he offered me a free review copy through his publishers.

Now, I do understand review copies cost money, and I'm not blogging to get free books at all. I was just confused as to why the author would contact me, wanting me to review his book, but then told me id have to pay for it. I've never heard of that before.

Has anyone else had this issue arise? What did you do? Or if you haven't had it happen to you, what do you think?

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I agree with this. It's the flip side of the coin. Blogger have to be honest, and clear when they accept a book. I never guarentee a review, if an author wants to send me a copy of their book it's their choice, but I think we, as bloggers, have a duty to be upfront with authors/publicists before they spend their money sending us a book.

On the other hand, I've never heard of a reviewer writing for a major publication having to seek out, or pay for, a book themselves. The free review copies these publications get are normally divvyed out to freelancers in my experience.

But eh, nice perspective Keith.

Right. If I had initiated the conversation, I would have absolutely no problem purchasing the book. I just felt that since he sought me out, asking me to purchase a copy to review (at his request) was a little odd.

This is incredibly cheeky - it's the author's choice to offer up a copy of their book for review. If they deem the publicity your blog can provide to be worth a copy of their book they are welcome to provide one. You might not be providing a tangible product, but you are offering a sevice. If it takes you six hours to read a book and an hour to write a review, then that's seven hours of your time. I'm betting you wouldn't do a days work for the cost of a paperback. 

There needs to be a mutual respect. Reviewers need to acknowledge that books cost money, and that they are the author's lovingly produced output. And publicists need to acknowledge that bloggers, whilst normally blogging for fun, provide a valuable source of publicity, putting their clients book in front of thousands of people. Provided this mutual respect exists, there's no problem. In your case it doesn't sound like the author appreciated this. I wouldn't have taken the book at all after that, I get far too many requests as it is to deal with this sort of thing.

Matthew - Bibliofreak.net - A Book Review Blog

To be honest I never guarantee a review.  I do my best to get everything done but when some books are late in arriving they have to take a back seat to those that are about to come out.

In certain respects I find it easier to deal with publishers as they take a professional opinion to peoples thoughts, some authors think that because you get a book that the review will always be favourable.  It won't.  Whilst I understand the frustration from both sides of the coin everything is subjective.  Its a case of finding the middle ground.  What might be a better way to deal with things is that if a book is sent out and a review doens't appear in a reasonable amount of time, that the person who received it should pay for it.  That will keep everyone happy and also means that people will think seriously about thier commitment as well as allowing authors the chance to make sure that its money well spent.

I hadn't had this happen to me until today! But it got weirder, as she told me she wanted me to only review her book if I liked it, and if I didn't, not to. What? Haha.

I politely declined by telling her that my reading queue is full.

I've heard of that before, but thankfully it's never happened to me. I've been pretty lucky with the books that have been sent to me for review, and I've liked just about all of them. 

I'm glad I'm not the only one this has happened to though.


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