Review Policy

We welcome your emails asking if we’d be interested in reviewing a certain book or film. You email Trevor at Because we get review requests every day, it helps if you’ve browsed the site and gleaned the types of books and films we tend to cover.

We will not accept any requests to read self-published books.

17 thoughts on “Review Policy

  1. Never has a publisher from whom I get review copies attempted to leverage my reviewing independence by offering gifts.

    You aren’t smooching with the right publishers.

  2. Much as I love the idea of free books, I would not be able to force myself to read and review books outside of my range of interest of world literary fiction either.Reviewing is a lot of work anyway (at least I find it that so)… Kudos and props. As usual your blog sets the standard.


  3. Lisa, the publishers sending me stuff are the very generous ones in the U.S. Good luck if you want the advanced copies to start transforming your blog! It’s fun!

    Randy, thanks for the generous words! I must disclose, however, that the standard has been set by at least two bloggers familiar to me: KevinfromCanada, with whom I’ve been discussing this matter, and Kimbofo of Reading Matters, who has had a review policy since 2006 (I think). But I do feel much better now that I’ve articulated my own and can let readers know how I conduct myself on this end.

  4. Your statement is one that I heartily endorse (and hence will not write my own). I also would like to think that your recent thoughts about legal ethics have influenced this decision.

    I do think the transparency issue is more important to those of us in North America than in Europe — there are many more sinister forces at play here. And I can’t help but note that kimbofo, another ex-pat, was the first to articulate a policy.

  5. Very admirable. I lasted less than a fortnight in Amazon’s Vine programme for similar reasons. I realised there was few books, if any, I would buy myself.

  6. I don’t accept books that I don’t want.

    If I don’t like a book, I won’t finish it nor review it. I figure that the author put some sweat and tears into his/her work and I wouldn’t want to discourage the authors. Also, it might also be my mood.I sometimes go back to books that I hated and find that I like them now.

    Right now, I am not accepting anything from anyone due to hurricane season. I need to be ready to evacuate and don’t want to think about the ARCs that I haven’t touched.

  7. So pleased to see this on your blog, Trevor. When I first raised the ethics of book bloggers receiving free books the scale of venom sent my way was not pleasant. I got called everything from a dweeb to a slattern. That was in November 2006. I’m delighted that the tide seems, at long last, to have shifted in the other direction.

    By the way, you have a wonderful blog. I visit often but don’t always comment.

  8. I want to second kimbofo’s comment. Certainly there are bloggers who want free products and use their blog to promote that. I have no issue with them.

    But then there are others (and kimbofo’s latest post of the Great Hall in Trinity College, Dublin, is my best possible example) who want to share our experience with the world — sometimes that fits a publisher’s agenda and sometimes it does not. Telling our visitors what our source was is not a bid deal.

    Whereas, Australia beating England in the final Test match is. Barrack on, Australia!!!!!

  9. Wholeheardtedly agree with your policy Trevor.

    It’s good to see that when it comes to cricket, Kevin has become an honourary Australian!

  10. Sarah: I have actually bet 20 pounds on Australia to win the Test — it is all kimbofo’s fault for doing a post that featured a picture of the Ashes. The worst thing is that my name is Kevin Peterson which is dangerously close to……not Ricky Ponting. I’m thinking of changing my name to Hilfenhaus. And Trevor has to put up with this because he thought Netherland was a great book, so he must be interested in cricket.

  11. Cricket to me is like the American Dream. I see a lot of people enjoying it, and I want to be a part of it — but it’s still a bit vague and intangible. I do want to understand it better.

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. The content of the blog won’t change much (just that little caption under the book cover), but it’s nice to have this out there. I feel clean!

  12. By the way, this post has already been viewed more than many of my other posts are on their first days. And today was a busier day than usual on the blog. Looks like I should give up reviewing books and focus my energy on writing review policies :).

  13. Trevor, I’m confused about this. Are you saying that you will write that you like a book that you don’t actually like? Or are you saying that you might write that you like a book that you don’t actually like?

    I don’t understand what legal ramifications are being intimated but if you review a book I would want to know what you really think. Should I avoid reading the reviews of books which were given to you by the publishers?

  14. Hi Colette. I’m glad you raised these concerns and that I have an opportunity to clarify. (Now that I’ve written all that’s below, I’m not sure it does clarify anything. Let me know!)

    To answer your first question: no, I will not say that I like a book that I don’t like. I do my very best to be honest and to say exactly how I feel about a book.

    When I wrote about the potential conflicts of interest and other influences (personal relationship with publishers, desire to continue receiving free advanced copies of books), I wasn’t saying that I consciously am affected by them but that I just might be (even subconsciously), and it’s up to the reader to guage and to keep me honest.

    By expressing these concerns, I’m merely expressing the need for such a policy, not that I’m a particularly dishonest person. By disclosing which books I get for free, in my mind I’m giving the reader valuable information about my review. Readers have no reason to trust me. I’m not a syndicated writer. I’m not a professional reviewer. I work for myself on a platform I created myself. I could be very self-serving.

    There are no legal ramifications — at least none that I’m aware of — if I misrepresent my opinion of a book (it would be mere puffery and not fraud) — another reason a clear policy is necessary. If I misrepresent facts about the author or about the book, my liability would be a different story.

    I know a lot of bloggers say that if honesty is the policy, nothing else matters, disclose whether a book is a review copy or don’t. I respect these bloggers’ decisions. I agree that honesty should be the policy, but in the blog world there are a lot of other very real influences at play that can eschew that result. Some say that a blog review is no different from newspaper review, but I don’t agree. The honest review might be the same, but the forum is totally different. Newspapers have an editorial policy that has been disciplined and refined through the years. Blogs don’t. Also, a reputable newspaper with a paid book reviewer isn’t afraid that a publisher might stop sending them books because that would be the publisher’s loss, not theirs (most of the time). It could be the reverse with blogs. Also, most newspapers have a selection and assignment process that doesn’t involve the reviewer. The reviewer gets the book and the assignment (often based on their interests and abilities, newspapers do want to give a book the proper response). There might be other conflicts in this process, but to me they don’t seem as extreme as those in the blog world.

    So, I don’t think you should avoid reading the reviews of books which were given to me by publishers (they’re very good books, for the most part), but I think you should know that I’m getting a stream of books from these publishers. That readers know I might be affected doesn’t get me off the hook. This policy doesn’t give me a license to lie just because it is apparently transparent. But it is a degree of honesty that I think is necessary for blogs, particular those written by non-professional book lovers who mainly started their blogs just to expres their love for books.

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