03 April 2015

In retrospect: Review copies


Some months ago, I think early 2014, I decided to no longer use any services that offer digital review copies and in general to no longer read review copies. I was never a blogger who requested a lot of them to begin with, I always had more than enough books at home I bought myself, but for some time I requested and got a review copy here and there, especially back in 2010-2012 (however at least 90% of the books I read at that time were books I bought myself). 
For some time it was exciting to read books before they were published, to be part of a group of book bloggers who could talk about not yet released books. And I'm not going to deny the fact that I discovered some great books through the review copies I received. 

However the excitement was only there for a short time, I soon realized that I felt more comfortable with reading my own books, that I put myself under a lot of pressure with review copies. I never felt the pressure to give positive ratings/reviews, review copies weren't that important to me, but still there was some weird pressure and I wanted to get rid of it, I wanted to feel completely free again, I wanted less connections with publishers. So I said goodbye to services like netgalley and edelweiss, I said goodbye to review copies and it was definitely the right decision for me. 

I feel best as a reader and blogger when I buy my own books, when I review the books I paid for with my own money, when there is no connection to a certain publisher or author. And no, I'm not saying that everybody should do what I did, some of my favorite book blogs accept review copies and I love and trust their reviews. I especially love that they are brutally honest about review copies, they rate them with everything from 1 to 5 stars and are always transparent about how they got a book.

It's important to follow your own heart, to not stress yourself out about books, to read the way that works for you, to blog the way that fits to who you are and what you want from your blog. I feel best when buying my own books, when not using affiliate links, when there are no ads or sponsored content on the blog (there never were sponsored posts or ads on the blog). I like my blog best when it's just a hobby, when I write my posts because I enjoy doing so, because I'm excited for the interactions with other readers, because I like talking about books in general. 

When looking through my reviews I'm happy to see that most are on books I bought, that review copies never played an important role on About Happy Books. And still I'm happy that I gave review copies a chance, because I needed to make my own experiences with them. 

I have found my voice, my way to blog and it feels great. 

Happy Reading!

11 comments:

  1. It's so good to see you blogging again and whether you read review copies or books you buy yourself - I'm just glad to see that you found your voice again. Life is too short to put extra burdens on yourself. Do what you want! :)

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    1. So true! In the last weeks I have finally felt like myself regarding book blogging and reading, I love it. All of the changes I did in the last months helped me with it and I'm so happy about it.

      Happy Reading!

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  2. Review copies never played a huge role on my blog too. I read what I wanted, when I felt like it. It was amazing to have the opportunities to GET a review copy though and I have found amazing books that way as well. I tend to be so picky with the copies I get, that I'm thankful when I do get a good one.

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    1. So true, it can be amazing to get a review copy on a book you are extremely excited about.

      I think your attitude regarding ARCs is a very healthy one, review copies can be a nice extra, but are not a must for book blogging.

      Happy Reading!

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  3. I understand you opinion about that topic although I think that it is also okay to take review copies - for a honest review. The blogs I read and trust do also take review copies and especially here in germany books are really really expensive. So I can totally understand that blogger take review copies if they read a lot. But I also understand your point of view and I agree to your statement that everyone should decide for themselfes. I also take review copies but I also love to read my own bought books - I have more than 2000 now, so I think I will never stop reading! :D

    Have a nice easter!
    Nazurka

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    1. Absolutely, like I said in the post, some of the book blogs I love accept review copies and there is nothing negative or shady about it, as long as the bloggers are completely honest when reviewing the books. Especially when I look at new releases reviews of ARCS can be very helpful and I actively search for them. However for some weird reason review copies just didn't work for me as a blogger.

      Happy Reading and have a great weekend.

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  4. I hear and agree with you 100%!! Back when I first started blogging, the thoughts of free books was addicting. But I quickly realized that with the free book came a sense of obligation that I read it and like it. And as soon as I feel obligated to read a book, I lose all joy. I thought of being a more "professional" reviewer but realized it's not for me. If I'm not enjoying a book, I stop reading it while if one is more of a 'pro' they have to keep plugging away.
    When I figured that out, it was a real load of my shoulders too. And I don't want to be beholden to either publisher or author when reading a book. That way I figure if IREALLY, REALLY REALLY love a book, it comes from ME and not in any way working for an author
    And FWIW, that's only for me - if other blogger and or review sites are give free books to do a review, I'm perfectly fine with that - but for me - nope, doesn't work.

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    1. I couldn't agree more with your comment, as soon as I feel like I have to read all the joy is gone. I love being completely free in what, how and when I read, so review copies are not for me.

      Have a great day!
      Happy Reading!

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  5. I couldn't agree more. It's funny how our blogs and attitudes seem to have developed so similarly in the past months and years. I think we're really on the same page about a lot of things :)

    ARCs and review copies are exciting, no doubt about that but often they just feel so sparkly because they are not yet released, that doesn't meant they're awesome books and I often found myself fooled by that. I was like "oooh, not yet released, pretty cover, gimme!" whereas now I put a lot more thought into the books I buy.

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    1. True, we really seem to have similar opinions on a lot of things regarding the whole book blogging community and other things, and yet our opinions are often so different when it's about specific books, I love it. :)

      And your comments on the ARCs are spot on, just because a book is new and looks shiny it doesn't mean that it will be a great one. At first I was a bit blinded by ARCs, fortunately that didn't last long and now I'm also pretty careful about what books to buy.

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    2. Ha, yes, I thought of our taste in books as well ;D

      Then again sometimes it's a lot of fun to read ARCs before they get popular. I remember reading Cinder previous to its release and enjoying it but I never would've expected it to get so huge and popular a few years later :D

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