Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Giveaway: Cheating Death

Tonight I started a really interesting book: Sanjay Gupta's Cheating Death. So far it has managed to teach me about medical things without a lot of fifty dollar words or Latinisms. Gupta is a journalist/physician and it shows in his writing. So far I've learned how hypothermia (cooling) of a patient can save lives and that the CPR I learned in college (more years ago than I would care to admit) isn't as effective as a simpler and more sanitary method--just compress the chest as fast as you can and don't worry about breathing. You can read more about the book at Hatchette's website.

Cheating Death is being promoted by its publisher, Hatchette Books, which provided a free review copy to me in return for a review and giveaway post. They'd like to give five of my readers free copies as well. You'll be under no obligation to do anything, but I'm sure Hatchette would like it if you'd tell your friends how much you liked the book. The giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada, no PO Boxes.

I've seen several online headlines today saying that the FTC is going to require bloggers to disclose freebies received in return for reviews, meaning that posts would have to state that the blogger recevied the reviewed product at no cost. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about this proposed rule. Do you think it is a good idea? Is it Big Brother run amok? If you are a blogger, do you disclose when you get free review products? If you read blogs, do you think bloggers ought to disclose (even if they aren't required to do so)? Leave an email address with your comment. If you leave a second or even third comment I consider substantive to the discussion, I'll give you second and third entries. "Substantive" is more than saying "I agree" and I reserve the right to decide what is substantive. For another entry, blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with a link.

I'll draw a winner on Halloween.

20 comments:

  1. I have been following this and I have been wondering when this was going to happen. You are the only industry I know that can receive something free (books) and be asked to give something in return (reviews) and not have to report that as income. All other "Gifts" that require something in return are considered as income by the IRS and as such are reportable so I would have thought that you would already be reporting those. Not sure how you guys have been getting away with not reporting any of them for so long.

    rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

    ReplyDelete
  2. I too blog for books. I try only to request books that I think I'll enjoy since I don't have time to read books I don't like. Occasionally I've begun reading a book and just don't like it - I've written the review reflecting how I feel about the book. I wouldn't feel comfortable writing a review that was a lie.
    I think the low value of the books (most are under $20) is why we don't have to report them as income. Just as govt employees can receive nominal gifts (even from contractors) without having to report them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it's a bad idea. You're not just getting freebies. You also work at reading and reviewing them as a service to people to read your blogs. I think things should stay as they are. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree that if you get one book who's value is $20, then no, you don't have to report it. However, if you are getting 6 books, one for you and 5 to giveaway, how do you count that? No,you are not keeping the 5. In most cases they don't ever even come to you, so no problem. If they do come to you that may be where the rub is. Then, what about gaming laws. Are you running into those? I am not familiar with those at all. And with the price of books going up, I have received many hardbacks that I have won that are above $25 in value which technically I should be reporting. But if you are getting a book to write a review, it is no longer a gift. You are doing something in return for the book therefore it is considered income. Does that make sense? I think it is a very gray area and it would take lawyers and accountants to give final answers and no one will like those answers.

    rebecca dot cox at charter dot net

    ReplyDelete
  5. As I understand it, they aren't trying to consider these books, free samples etc. to be income that needs to be reported (though that may be coming given this big government administration) but rather that if I review a book someone has given me for that purpose, then I need to say so in the review, so that you the reader can decide if I'm biased because of it. As far as the five books "I'm" giving away here, they never touch my hands. I send a list of winners to the publisher who mails out the books.

    Of course if you are going to report these books as income, what are they worth? I mean there is no way I could afford to buy the number of books I read new at the cover price. If publishers weren't sending them, I'd get them at the library. Now, if I sold the books (which I don't) then I could see considering my sale price to be income.
    Different bloggers are in different positions too. My readership isn't that high (yet), so I don't have publicists beating down my door, though I am in several review groups and some publicists email me directly. One publicist has sent me some books without even asking me if I wanted them. Turns out I read one and the other didn't appeal to me at all. Do I pay taxes on both?

    ReplyDelete
  6. About the gambling laws--I haven't read a one of them, but my general understanding of gambling is that you risk something. In other words, if I had a paypal button up, and said that you got one entry for every dollar you gave me through paypal, then it would be gambling. You are risking your money, hoping for greater return in a game of chance. Here, there is no risk (unless you count the time required to do whatever you are being asked to do to enter the giveaway); you may win, you may not, but you are wagering anything on the outcome.

    ReplyDelete
  7. LOL Good thing I am not an accountant or a lawyer, I just want to government to stay out of my (and your) personal business.

    Per my Economics PhD hubby, because there is no contract that says books for reviews and no money has changed hands, the IRS cannot be involved. So, there you go.

    Also, he says that you can get around the ruling simply by stating that your review is "a personal opinion only".

    ReplyDelete
  8. I saw a bunch of stuff on blogs today about this, but didn't really know what they were talking about until I read your post. I think it's a good idea--but kind of a moot point. I think everyone who reads blogs regularly figures out that the people received the product if they are taking all that trouble to review it...
    Amanda
    catss99@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks you for your great blog which I enjoy daily. The reviews and books are delightful and add to my day. I would love to win this book as it would provide me with great information and stories. Reviewing is contributing and books are a great source of satisfaction. They do have a great value to many. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is an interesting discussion. I've only recently run across people reviewing books on blog, and I am trying to decide if it's something I'm interested in. I think Amanda's probably right; it doesn't really matter, because we assume that you're receiving the books for free. On the other hand, the bias issue also makes sense. I think if I did try to do this, I would feel obligated to be fairly positive about every book; I don't think I could give a scathing review. (Sort of like being in a critique group; you never get to say "I hate this," because the point of being there is to build other people up.)

    ReplyDelete
  11. On the one hand, it probably would be easier to write a brutal review of the latest John Grisham or Dan Brown thriller--they are famous, their books popular, and if I hate one, who cares?--that to write a brutal review of a book by a basically unknown (or one who is known in his/her niche, but whose niche is limted)author, but the reality is that those instant bestsellers aren't sent to folks like me for review. If I buy a book like that at the bookstore, or get it at the library, and don't like it, I'm not going to read enough of it to write more than "I hate it" and chances are I'm not going to make the effort.

    Personally, I'll tell you that you aren't going to read a lot of highly negative reviews here. I have a few pet peeves that you will see me write about--if I perceive a book is anti-Catholic or promotes errors about Catholicism, I'm going to mention it. If I promise a review, I'll write one, even if it is short and brutal like the one I wrote of Letters to Rosy this week. On the other hand, I get some books that I just agree to promote--like First Wildcard tours. If I don't like those books I generally just run the FWC stuff. I do try to find something nice to say about books, but sometimes I just can't.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Requiring a blogger to disclose that he/she received a product or book for free to review does not take away a blogger's integrity and also will not influence my following and loyalty to a blog.

    delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Personally, I like to know when someone is recieving the books for review for free. You are good as disclosing even before now. I find that you are good about really reviewing, I know a few who are not. I find this more common on personal finance and "frugal" blogs. My computer gets jammed with cookies when they are not honest that the link will tie me into them forever.
    I also have to giggle when very conservative blogs have a "running ad" on the side. The other day an LDS blog had a ad for birth control and male enhancement right next to the article about virtues of chastity. Sometimes the bloggers don't even know what they are signing up for....
    Big brother? Heck- if you are openly advertising on the web your readership should know. I think you and the company should treat it that way. Like subliminal advertising, it needs to be out front. I have no idea what the IRS implications are. I was surprised to read that a lawyers' wife said it is OK to take from a contractor. I guess things have substantually changed in the code of ethics.
    Not real interested in the giveaway- but liked the discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I really like watching Sanjay Gupta on CNN.

    It's not that I mind disclosing -- that I could live with. It's demanding that the books be given back to the publisher or given away that I have an issue with.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The book blogs that I read, including yours, give very fair and honest reviews of the books that you review. To me, it does not matter if you receive the book for free or not. You are doing a service for authors, publishers and readers by taking your time to read the books and write the reviews. You and other book bloggers are also very generous in giving most of your books away to readers and even paying the postage to send them.

    Cindy
    Socmom213@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I do think that you and most of the book bloggers make it clear in the posts on your blogs already that you get the books for review for free. You are also very clear about the rules for the giveaways for the books that we as readers can sign up for.

    For me, personally, I will say that I have been an avid reader and lover of books ever since I was a young girl. However, after becoming a reader and participant on book blogs (such as yours), I have been reading more books than ever. I am getting exposed to many books that I would not even know exist if it was not for book blogs. Even though I frequent book stores (I even love the smell of coffee and books in those stores!) but I have learned more about current and upcoming books and new and old authors from reading the reviews on the book blogs. I have started reading such a variety of books and have become a fan of so many more authors and publishers than I ever imagined I would.

    Disclose or not, it does not matter to me. I enjoy the book blogs. It has made me become even more of an avid reader than before. I think you are doing a great service for the rest of us. If you get the books for free, that does not matter to me. I still think the reviews are fair and accurate and are a valuable service to the rest of us.

    Cindy
    Socmom213@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I mean really what next does the
    gov. want.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

    The next thing you know we
    will probably have to pay
    taxes on our book wins.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous10:53 PM

    Perhaps over a certain $ amount, bloggers should. Reviewing of books certainly would not fall in this category. walkerd@primus.ca

    ReplyDelete
  19. When it comes to reviews regarding medicine, medical therapies, medical procedures, weight loss supplements and programs; I think that blogger's should be required to disclose that they have received the item free, because a person's health is at stake.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I would like to learn How to cheat death. This sounds so fascinating. The latest topic is our church group is whether the H1N1 vaccine is safe and should we and our children get it. But yet my doctor says she recommends it. Two breaths later she says very little testing has been done on this vaccine because its been rushed through. Anyone know how the trials went in Austrailia? polo-puppy-fluffyAThotmail *dot* com Cheers.

    ReplyDelete


View My Stats