Friday, October 9, 2009

Full Disclosure

So the FTC has announced in this very long document that bloggers who blog about any goods or services and receive compensation for said goods or services must disclose the connection to the provider of the goods or services. According to the FTC this constitutes an "endorsement."

So what does all that mean for me as a book blogger? Well, I'm not totally sure and I don't know that anyone is totally sure, but it has been made clear that into the "compensation" category review books do fall. So, I'm putting together this disclosure statement for anyone who cares to read it. The FTC's regulations don't actually go into effect until Dec. 1, but I figure I need to start practicing now or I'm bound to forget.

I do receive review books from publishers, authors, PR reps, and the tour groups that I have hosted for. Many are unsolicited that publishers are sending in the hopes that I will have time to read them and discuss them on my blog. I have not at any time received a book with any kind of stipulation attached to it. By that I mean, no one has ever said, "only post a review if you like it." "We're sending this book to you with the understanding that you'll say nice things." "If you don't say nice things we will never send you anything else." Nothing like that. And I've never felt obligated to say anything except the truth. I will be forthcoming and say I always try to find something good to mention about every book, regardless of how it came to be in my possession. I think that is just in my nature. But if there are elements that don't sit right with me or that don't appeal to me, I say so and I say why. I do so with the understanding that it is my personal opinion on the matter and others may feel differently.

So, given all that information, how can YOU, my reader, know when someone has given me a book as opposed to when I have purchased the book myself or borrowed it or whatnot? From this point forward I will add a "review book" label to the posts of all books that were given to me by publishers, authors, etc. The disclosure statement now at the top of my blog will also stay from this point forward. If it turns out this is not an acceptable arrangement, and I feel that the regulations call for something unrealistic of me, a hobby blogger, then I may resort to not accepting books at all. I would hate to make that choice because I have discovered many new authors through their publishers or themselves making contact with me, but as I said, I'm only a hobby blogger. I certainly don't need a hobby that will induce anxiety or panic attacks, and I never want my blog to not be fun. I talk about crime fiction books because I enjoy them and I want to share that enjoyment with others who share an appreciation. I do it for no other reason.

I have never received anything beyond a review copy of a book and I do not profit from these books. In other words, I don't turn around and sell them. I also believe that the integrity of my opinion is worth far more than the price of a book.

I need to add in this disclosure a little statement about mystery book stores that I mention and link to, either in posts or in my side bar. I receive absolutely NO compensation from these stores. I do not get money from them if you click their links or buy your books from them. They do not pay me to mention them or post their links. I provide their links because I appreciate their customer service, their book selections, their knowledge of crime fiction. I point you to them because I know they will get you want you want and need. There is no other reason. I have asked for permission to use their artwork here and I have 100% voluntarily posted it here on my blog.

I don't believe that these regulations are fair or appropriate in the broad manner that they have been created, but my larger focus is just to still be able to talk books with all of you. It's what I love, and I hope that ultimately it isn't yanked out from under me.

Thanks for tolerating this little public service announcement today. Happy Reading! :)


Corey Wilde October 9, 2009 at 8:22 PM  

Ah, jeez, I had forgotten this 'endorsement' thing was coming. I had been thinking that bloggers only had to post such notices if our blogs were for-profit, having ads and click-throughs for which we got paid. But you've read it more carefully than I, I daresay.

Pop Culture Nerd October 10, 2009 at 12:58 AM  

Oh, you are so diligent. I bookmarked the FTC's announcement and made a mental note to deal with it on Nov. 30.

May I just cut and paste your statement? (Kidding!) My policies are pretty much the same.

le0pard13 October 10, 2009 at 7:33 PM  

I missed this FTC announcement, but now have a better understanding because of your post, Jen. It's amazing the issues, reactions, and effects that have come out of the publishing and blogging worlds. But, no amount of regulations, or their adherence, would make me doubt the integrity of people like you, Jen (or Elyse or Corey). Thank you.

Jen Forbus October 10, 2009 at 8:22 PM  

Thanks Michael. That means a tremendous amount to me.

Elyse, I'm doing this now because I need the practice so I'm doing it regularly by Dec. 1! LOL I said I was going to start including the first lines of books in the reviews I write and I've yet to remember to do that! Ha!!

Hopefully this will fulfill the requirement. Semantically, I really don't care what the FTC calls what I do here. I just want to be able to talk books with everyone.

Anonymous April 13, 2010 at 6:13 PM  


I just joined your blog today, just joined facebook last week and just became fans of my favorite authors today. On my facebook page I listed favorite authors instead of favorite books. Much easier. Because Michael Connelly is one of my favorite authors, I stumbled across your BEST DETECTIVE contest and saw that good ol Harry is in the final two as he well deserves. And I found your list of the original list of 64. My wife would have undoubtedly voted for Travis McGee. Me, I like a lot of them and have read many of the adventures of Harrry Bosch, Dave Robicheaux, Spenser, Lew Archer, Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee, Travis McGee and Lincoln Rhyme as well as a few of the adventures of Elvis Cole, John Rebus, Kinsey Milhone, Lucas Davenport, Alex Cross, Philip Marlowe, Jack Taylor, Sam Spade, Adam Dalgleish and Nero Wolfe. I was wondering if you could repost some of the intermediate lists of the contenders, I noticed most them just say VOTING CLOSED or something to that effect. I realize I'm too late to vote. I'm just interested in seeing how far the various detectives made it.
Leny Hendricks

Jen Forbus April 13, 2010 at 6:20 PM  

Hi Leny! So happy to have you stumble across the blog. Here...we always say, the more the merrier when talking books. If you go up to the Links right under my blog header, there is a link that says DATW, if you scroll through the posts there, you will see the outcome posts from each week's contest. Who went up against who and who the winners were. Let me know if you have any trouble with that...send me an email and I'll send you all the links individually.

Lenny Hendricks April 15, 2010 at 4:31 PM  


I found everything in DATW, thanks so much for responding. My vote in the final round was for Harry.

Lenny Hendricks

lenny April 15, 2010 at 4:34 PM  


The original 64 are your 64 favorites? And the pairing for the voting was random?


Jen Forbus April 15, 2010 at 4:36 PM  

Actually, the original 64 came from nominations. The 64 detectives with the most nominations were seeded and I set them up the way the NCAA basketball tourney does so that the top seeds don't play each other until closer to the end....if they make it that far.

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