Wednesday, October 07, 2009

FTC Compliant

The books I've mentioned in this blog? I didn't keep a single one of them.

That makes this blog FTC compliant.

If someone's giving away free books, I'm there with open hands, as greedy as any miser when it comes to reading material.

I don't doubt that publishers give away free books to people who blog, in the hope that some positive (free) publicity will be generated. Held up my end of the bargain as best I could, tossing out brief reviews that may or may not recommend a book to the reading public.

But I share the wealth with friends and move the books along to other members of my book group.

Dear FTC, I won't tweet a book review. Having to squeeze FTC required disclaimers into 140 characters doesn't leave room for the book title, let alone a thumbs up or down. No need to monitor my activities, I swear to Jesus I'll never do it.

Same goes for Amazon reviews. That takes an account with Amazon, of course, and a credit card on file, so in that case it's the principle of the thing. Even if I had a stack of free copies from publishers, I couldn't post a review on Amazon so we're good on that score.

I'm not a literary agent, plugging my clients' work on my site with a mind to increase sales and thus my commission. Now there's the ones for the FTC to keep an eye on. They're working hand in glove with the publishers, making all those endorsements.

The FTC's Richard Cleland says he won't be reading every single blog, searching out perpetrators and levying $11,000 fines.

To date, no one in the publishing world is entirely clear on who Mr. Cleland is going after, let alone who has been harmed by on-line book reviews in which the reviewer is compensated by a free copy of a book that might sell for $25.95.

Hardly the stuff that riches are made of. What next? Charging the reviewer sales tax on their free book?

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