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.
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.