Book Bloggers and Publishers

Interesting article in the UK Guardian yesterday about the relationship between book bloggers and publishers.  Apparently there’s a bit of a spat over something that Harper Collins said.  In a letter to various book bloggers, HC set out their new policies about review copies.  Basically they’re saying they’re not going to just send out review copies willy-nilly anymore (did they ever?) but rather only send copies that the bloggers request, that they’d like reviews posted within a month of receiving the review copy and ideally within 2 weeks of the book release, and that they’ll be tracking who they sent review copies too and verifying that everyone actually posts a review who got one.  If someone receives review copies and doesn’t post a review, they may be removed from the mailing list for future review copies.

Apparently a lot of book bloggers are taking umbrage over this.  There’s a lot of “I ain’t your bitch” and “I don’t work for you” talk.  And frankly, I don’t understand why.  Nothing in that letter seems unreasonable to me.

Ok guys, you may not work for the publishers in the traditional sense, but they are paying you (in the form of early copies of their books for free) and they have a right to expect a satisfactory service in return for that payment.  Not a good review, but good service.  They are perfectly within their rights to request that service within a reasonable amount of time that supports their business needs, since that is the whole purpose for paying you.  They are also perfectly within their rights to verify that everyone who gets paid actually provides the service for which they are being paid, and to terminate the business relationship if they are not doing so.  Seriously, I don’t understand the outcry.

Dear readers, do you have any insights here that I may be missing?  Because if not, it seems to me this is much ado over nothing and, if I may be so bold, a rather sorry display of entitlement on the part of some bloggers.  Seriously folks, publishers aren’t your bitches.