Book Bloggers Should Charge for Book Reviews

You may not know this about me but once upon a time I was a book blogger. I ran a book blog for four years (2010 – 2014) before I finally abandoned that part of the blogosphere. I quit. I gave up. I bailed. 

I’ve also never looked back. It wasn’t the right world for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved blogging about books. I met some amazing new author friends, made great contacts in the publishing world and read 100’s of books I never would have read if I hadn’t been blogging about books. The problem came when I started to receive far more requests to review a book than I could manage.

Should book bloggers charge for their book reviews? This is why one blogger says YES

Once you read and favorably reviewed an author’s book you were on a list. As soon as that author published another book there seemed to be this underlying expectation that you would accept it to read and review as well. Once you made a contact with a major publisher they would offer and send an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of books on their upcoming release list. They expected reviews as well. They always said there was no obligation to read and review the books but there was and if you didn’t you didn’t receive quite as many in the future. 

But it wasn’t just a review on the blog that was expected.

The authors, publishers, publicists, etc all expected a review on the blog, on Amazon, on Barnes & Noble and on other retailers that they may have selling their book. They also wanted photos, graphics and social media promotion. This all came after spending a solid 6 – 10 hours actually reading the book. 

Let’s keep that straight. I was being asked to invest 6 – 10 hours reading the book, another 2 – 4 hours taking pictures, creating graphics and preparing a book review in a blog post, another 2 – 4 hours publishing that book review on various retailers and scheduling social media promotion. That is a total of 10 – 18 hours PER BOOK.  If I was charging for my time by the hour I would be charging between $150 – $270 per book based on a rate of $15.00 / hour and I’m not even certain that is enough. 

The problem though, is that authors, publicists, publishers, etc don’t offer compensation for book reviews. They offer a free book. Think about it – they are offering a book (value ranging from $0.99 to $25.00 depending on format and publisher) in exchange for 10 – 18 hours worth of work promoting their product. Breaking that down by the hour book bloggers are making anywhere from $0.09 to $1.38 per hour (based upon a 10-hour investment). 

How much are you worth per hour? 

I started charging for reviews before I left the book blogging world. I started charging $50 per review and there was no guarantee the review would be favorable. I was still selling myself cheap at a rate of $5 per hour (again, assuming a 10-hour investment). Considering I almost always tweet quotes from a book while I’m reading it and talk about the book on social media it was pretty obvious the book was going to get exposure. Everyone balked. There was backlash from the book blogging community and people in the publishing industry were upset. 

I eventually left book blogging. I haven’t missed the “perk” of free books and I enjoy having the time to myself to read what I want now. All those books I was getting for free? I didn’t have the space to keep them all so a lot ended up donated to literary charities, local jails or prisons, local youth charities, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, etc. 

Book bloggers don’t seem to know their value.

Why are book bloggers working for free? I’ll tell you right now that lifestyle bloggers (like me) don’t work for free. We don’t promote products or companies without being compensated for our time, effort and creative marketing. Fashion bloggers don’t work for free. Beauty bloggers don’t work for free. Business bloggers don’t work for free. Parenting bloggers don’t work for free. Why do book bloggers? 

The publishing industry is reaching out to bloggers because they know the value of going viral, generating a web buzz, and having online reviews. They know that bloggers are important but the bloggers aren’t recognizing their own importance and they are selling themselves short.

I asked…

I reached out to a few friends that I have in the book blogging world. I told them that I did a book review earlier this year and, in exchange for that review, I was compensated with a free copy of the book and $200. I did not guarantee a positive review but I was investing a lot of time and effort into the post. In total it took me 11 hours to read the book and complete all of the requirements negotiated between me and the publisher. I was paid at a reasonable rate of $18.18 per hour. 

I asked my friends if they charged for reviews and, if not, why not? Every one of them told me that they do not charge but only because it is frowned upon in the book blogging community and they knew they would receive a lot of harsh backlash if they tried to charge. It made me sad to see these wonderful, educated, talented, and important friends working for free because their own community doesn’t recognize their own value.

Help me out book bloggers. I don’t understand why you’re working for free. I don’t understand why you aren’t demanding compensation in exchange for the service you provide. 

You’re important and you’re valuable! You deserve to be compensated.

Do you believe that bloggers should work for free? What’s your opinion on bloggers being compensated for promotional posts? 

Reconnecting With an Iconic Character in Betty Boop

Betty Featured Pic

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary t-shirt in exchange for sharing this iconic character with you all. This complimentary item did not influence my opinion of the product or my love for Betty! A few weeks ago I was contacted by a representative from a public relations company telling me she was reaching out to bloggers in an attempt to keep Betty Boop in the minds of readers and buyers everywhere. My first thought was, "When did Betty go out of

Fluff Up Your Home Decor with New Toss Pillows

Sunshine Pillow Featured

In case you missed it we moved in to a new apartment two weeks ago. It was a much needed change. I'm also thrilled to say that I now live only 1.5 miles from work which, in Atlanta, is a huge perk! This new place already feels cozy because of the warm paint color and the open floor plan. It all meshes well with the furniture we already owned so now it just feels like I need to embrace the finishing touches to really make our home feel snuggly. I own a lot of

3 Must-Haves For the Laser Show at Stone Mountain Park

Stone Mountain Featured Image

This past weekend my parents came in to town to visit over Memorial Day weekend (and my birthday). It had been two years since I last saw my Dad and one year since I last saw my Mom; to say I was excited to see them would definitely be an understatement. I spent all of Saturday morning on pins and needles waiting for the phone call to say they were pulling off at exit 29 as that meant they were only 0.5 miles from my apartment.  After all of the initial hugs

My Current Favorite Skincare Products

Skincare Featured

Over the last few weeks I've found myself making a lot of statements like this: "Mud mask? I use one about once a week." "Of course I use eye creams! Are you kidding? Eye creams are the best!" "Me? Great skin? No, that's just photo-editing. Seriously? You think so? Awww, you're so sweet!" (said after a friend told me I don't need to edit my photos).) "You are beautiful! Don't worry about make-up. Just add a tinted moisturizer, mascara and lip gloss.

A Surprise Visit for Memorial Day Weekend

Untitled design (2)

I am so excited! In less than 18 hours my parents will be arriving in Atlanta to spend Memorial Day weekend (and my birthday!) with my husband and I. It's been over a year since I've seen my parents and even though I speak to them a couple of times per week it's not the same as actually being able to see them. I've been counting down the days all week and now that we are within 24 hours I'm counting down the hours.  My parents are fantastic

I’m Imperfect and I’m Enough

Untitled design

"For we all stumble in many ways..." - James 3:2 A few days ago I was scheduled for my 6-month evaluation at work. I had a lot of anxiety but that's because I'm prone to anxiety when I know I'm being evaluated, not because I felt as though I had something to fear. I was confident I would pass the evaluation yet about an hour before the evaluation my supervisor came to me and said, "I want to warn you before your evaluation. You don't have any 5.0

We Moved (but Now I’m Planning for My Dream Home)

Yellow Craftsman Featured

It's been a little bit stressful around here lately. Last Tuesday my husband and I found out we were approved for our new apartment and that we could move-in as early as Saturday. Yes, that's right friends, we were able to move in FOUR days. We spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights packing everything up, Saturday morning our movers arrived and by Saturday night we were settling in to our new place. My favorite part? Our new kitchen! The other big bonus is