I get a lot of offers for free books. I freely admit to being a book whore with a queue waiting to be read that stretches months if not years ahead. And still, the offer of a free book is very tempting.
I have noticed that the "no strings attached" book offer is changing. Publishers and their PR firms have become very creative in marketing new books (See yesterday’s WSJ article Book Publishers Build Buzz Early, Hollywood Style).
Now, some of the book offers are coming with a "We’ll send you a copy if you promise to review it on Amazon.com" To their credit, the PR folk note that the review can be "positively or negatively, we don’t care (well, we kind of care, but we won’t make you promise anything)."
I have a small problem with that. If you want to send me a book, by all means, inquire. However: I cannot and do not make any promises whatsoever as to future reviews.
None whatsoever. I won’t even promise to open the package when it arrives:
I may read it. I may burn it for kindling.
I may like. I may not.
I may review it. I may forget I ever heard of it.
However, if the book is interesting, and I read it and like it, well, you never know. After I mentioned the book "China Inc" to Larry Kudlow, he had the author on the show. Maybe he was lready booked and I had nothing to do with it, maybe I put the booking over the edge. I honestly don’t know.
I hope PR people prefer honesty to empty promises just to get free shwag. Hell, there’s not even any advertising on the site. (Might that be a hint to some people?)
So if my "No promises whatsoever" terms work for you, let me know and I will send you my snail mail address — as long as you understand that I am not making any promises.