Oct 6, 2009

FTC's New Law for [Book] Bloggers

(from Sarah's Random Musings):

"As of December 1st, bloggers are going to be required to state in the review that you have been compensated. This means that if you keep the review copy, you must disclose it or risk quite the fine. You are going to have to include this on your taxes, too. Fun stuff, right? So, we are going to have change the way that we run our blogs. You also can't link to Amazon or anywhere that you can buy books. Not even author's websites."


W. T. F.

What is going on here? I'd love to know. Sarah's calling the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) on Monday, and she's taking note of any questions you may want her to ask any FTC representative that talks to her. Follow the link above to go to her site.

According to this Interview with FTC's Richard Cleland, every time a Book Blogger reviews a book, giving it a "positive" review, he or she will have to return the product (in this case, the book given for review) to the person from whom he or she got it from. If the Blogger was to keep the (book), it'd be considered a "compensation", and the Blogger would be fined (once the law was settled).

From the way Cleland puts it, the FTC is convinced that we Bloggers are only after personal benefits, such as keeping the book we're given, after we've reviewed it. Like we only care about having our houses filled with books just because we like it that way. Not because we are truly interested in discovering new and exciting worlds through reading, oh no! What am I thinking? Or course that's not what we do.

“If a blogger received enough books,” said Cleland, “he could open up a used bookstore.”

This man obviosly has no clue of what the Book Blogging Community means to the Bloggers and Authors. I think that if I had enough books, the last thing I'd do would be opening a book store.
Because if I really liked a book, I'd lend it to my friends and family, and urge people to go and buy that book!

Do Authors really think we'd re-sell the books we've been trusted with? That would be a very mean thing to do to an Author. Even if we didn't like a book, we wouldn't sell it, we'd give it to someone who'd enjoy it more than we did.

“If there’s an expectation that you’re going to write a positive review,” said Cleland, “then there should be a disclosure.”

Not always Bloggers write positive reviews, so, when there's a "negative" one, we're free to do as we please?

"Cleland informed me that the FTC’s main criteria is the degree of relationship between the advertiser and the blogger.

“The primary situation is where there’s a link to the sponsoring seller and the blogger,” said Cleland. And if a blogger repeatedly reviewed similar products (say, books or smartphones), then the FTC would raise an eyebrow if the blogger either held onto the product or there was any link to an advertisement."

This really blows me away. What relationship are they thinking we have? Or what do they want us to do? What does linking have to do with all of this?

What are they looking for to accomplish with this law?

I'll be looking forward to reading the blog post from Sarah once she gets to talk to the FTC.

What's yout opinion about all of this?

5 monkey thought (s):

Limerick said...

I don't like this idea the FTC have at all!
Only for personal benefits?!?
I joined blogging because I liked the idea that there are people out there who enjoy the same hobby as I do and can tell me more about the new books out there. The man is so misunderstood. It's upsetting to see people view bloggers in this way.

Drea said...

I just wanted to let you know, that you will NOT be fined if you keep the book. Only if you keep the book and don't disclose the source. In other words, you don't mention that you got the book for free from the publisher. Now, if you don't want to disclose, then by sending the book back you are no longer obligated to do so. It's when you keep the book the FTC is seeing it as compensation and want you to let readers know you did receive a freebie.

You also must remember that book bloggers are not the only ones out there. This is for ALL bloggers. We may only get free books as book bloggers, but there are many others who get much, much more w/ a much, much higher value

The Book Resort said...

I have no problem disclosing where my books come from but do have a problem when the FTC targets the wrong individuals.

Nadine Laman said...

There is one American review company I know of who does reviews for free, then gives the books to a used bookstore and receives part of the resale price.

There could be a few people who blog then put the books on Amazon's used books section. (The author doesn't get royalties on these sales.)

I suspect they have someone or several people in mind when they brought this to the forefront. Whether it is a paid for or free review, we have to send a book. Same with contests. Unless people are going to read our minds, we have to supply a book or two. For years major book publishers have given galley books to major newspaper reviewers.

I think the blurbs on the back of the book are a more curious thing. Sometimes the book hasn't been read by the people who give the blurbs to their publishers (at the publisher's request) for other writers from the same publisher.

The book industry is a strange creature. There's lots of swaps going on and no one really bothers to do it 'under the table' - we all know about coops.

So who are they really after, casting this wide net?

Anonymous said...

now I stay tuned..

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