Good Monday Morning everyone. Kind of a dramatic title to this week’s post isn’t it. It is meant to sum up how I am feeling this morning after reading Nose Graze’s blog post: It Would Seem BookExpo America is No Longer a Place for Book Bloggers and Publisher’s Weekly article: A New Direction for BookExpo America. I’m not going to quote either article so feel free to go read them and draw your own conclusions.
First off I want to say that BEA is a trade event and the industry can do what ever they wish with their trade event. I in turn can react to those action how ever I wish. My initial reaction was shock followed quickly by disappointment. I am so grateful that I went this year. It looks as if it is going to truly be a once in a lifetime opportunity for myself and I’m glad I didn’t miss out. Oh sure they are claiming that we are welcome to come to BookCon with the madness of a public event open to the masses. They want to make BookCon like every other con out there, simply a money-making event. Sorry not interested. I liked the exclusivity of BEA, I enjoyed feeling like an important part of the book industry. I guess we aren’t that important… BEA will still be exclusive, they aren’t forbidding all bloggers, just limiting them (for now).
I have the feeling they think that Book Bloggers only want to attend BEA to get free books. First off not really. Oh sure who doesn’t love a free ARC, but that isn’t why I attended. I wanted to be a part of something. To meet fellow bloggers. To meet authors I admire. To see what new directions the publishing world will be taking us. To learn how to expand my brand. BEA isn’t cheap and bloggers are paying out-of-pocket for admittance, travel, lodging, food, and taking (unpaid) time off of work to attend. We are not able to write any of this off in taxes (at least I’m not) or be reimbursed by an employer. We save our pennies to attend this event and to essentially be uninvited kinda hurts a little.
I’m a book blogger because I love to read. I started writing reviews purely for myself, to keep track of what books and authors I enjoyed and which ones didn’t work out so well for me. When people started to tell me that they enjoyed my reviews and were trying books based upon my opinion I was thrilled because I also love connecting others with books they are going to love too. I reviewed an entire year before starting this blog and had no clue that publishers or authors would give me books just so I would share my opinion about them. I have to believe we add something to the publishing industry otherwise they wouldn’t have started giving reviewers books in the first place. Maybe that isn’t the case anymore… Maybe we have become nothing more than entitled mooches that feel we deserve free stuff. I hope not, or at least I don’t feel that way. Oh sure when I started out and discovered Net Galley I went on a requesting binge but I quickly learned to scale things back. I would also like to state that my feedback percentage on Net Galley is 100%. That means every book that I was given access to I gave them my opinion, even the DNF titles where I didn’t write full reviews (I explained why the title didn’t work for me and wished them best).
So where does this leave me moving forward as a book blogger. I’m not sure. I have already drastically reduced the number of review books I request or accept to ones where I already have an established history with the author. Perhaps I need to go further, stop requesting titles altogether and simply read what I want to read. It isn’t like I can’t get free books on my own, ever hear of a public library. Sure it is fun to read a book before the general population gets a shot at it, but is it even worth it anymore? If I’m going to be treated like a leper I’m not sure it is. I have only attended one BEA but I did get the feeling in some areas that I was a pariah (looking at you ALA booth [ I am a librarian too but for a small town library that doesn’t have a budget to send me to a week-long book event]). I will miss the opportunity to connect with others that blog about books and to met authors I adore. I’m betting there are other opportunities out there (and I’m not talking about BookCon) I will simply have to seek them out. Because it isn’t about free books, it’s not. It’s about being a part of a community of people who love the same thing.