Books are expensive and there's a long line ahead of me waiting for new releases at the public library, so I took the plunge. I signed up with Penguin. Gave them my e-mail. Let them send me their adverts and alerts.
Sure there's a sucker born every minute.
Penguin runs a contest every month, in which participants (like me, and there must be thousands of us) can take a chance on winning an advance copy of upcoming releases. The idea is to get reviews out there when the book hits the market officially, with all that pre-release buzz that is generated by influential bloggers and book reviewers.
Clearly I'm not influential. Could that be the issue?
I've been receiving the e-mail offer of entry for several months, and every time I get it I scan the books and read the cover copy. What might I like to read, I ask as I scroll through. No romance. No self-help. Some fiction. Some non-fiction.
And every month I get a response that advises me that I have not won.
But by all means, here's a link to easily buy a copy of the book for yourself! How kind of Penguin, to make things so easy.
How about a little cash to cover the cost of the book, Penguin? I don't have it.
So for all the effort, I get nothing more for free than access to the opening pages. I could review those, I suppose. Let potential buyers know if the book caught my interest or if it seemed like a long slog that they'd be advised not to undertake.
But it's not all that convenient to get to the excerpt. At least St. Martin's Press has the generosity to send me the first twenty pages of their new releases every week, through the Read It First program. They don't apply pressure to buy the book, either.
Will I give up on Penguin? Not yet. There's that element of gambling involved, the thrill that's not unlike buying a lottery ticket and waiting for the numbers to be drawn. You're not likely to win that, either, but it is a little exciting to imagine the possibilities.
This month, I lost the Penguin book give-away contest again.
Next month, I'll try again.
If, by some miracle, I remember the titles of the books I requested but didn't win when they finally come around to the shelf at the library, I might read them. And review them. But by that time, it will be old news.