We knew it was coming and it'll be here Dec. 1. From that day onward, the Federal Trade Commission demands bloggers and reviewers tell where their review books come from, if they are free. The fines are $11,000 per violation, it seems.
"Book falls under “compensation” if it comes associated with an Amazon link or there is an advertisement for the book, or if the reviewer holds onto the book."
I assume because you make $ from the Amazon link if somebody buys the book based on your review. Therefore compensation. Money in your pocket. You have a vested interest in the book because you want to make $ from it.
From what I read, it's also terribly unclear if any given Amazon (etc.) link must be an Affiliate link to count. Me, I don't have an Affiliate account; I don't make a single penny from linking to Amazon (or elsewhere). But based on that quote, it's still somehow, at least possibly, considered "compensation."
This is the first step in taxing the books we recieve as income. By shrouding it in a false sense to maintaining truthfulness to our readers - "protecting the consumer"- that we aren't pursuaded by a publsher that sends us free books, we are "disclosing" said books right on the blog. The NEXT step is that we will have to file this "compensation" and pay income tax on it.
I can see how linking to Amazon might be seen as selling a book, and some might perceive our book reviews as biased because in the end we want the %age of the sale of that book. Those of us who actually ARE book bloggers know that's not our game. For one thing, we don't make enough from Amazon as an associate to influence our reviews. We're not in the book selling business...many of us aren't in a "business" at all.
I'm new to book blogging...but if this comes down as ugly as it sounds...I wouldn't be surprised if many book bloggers packed up. Either that, or publishers will start to employ bloggers outright. It's certainly easier than our declaring every book we recieve and review.