Friday, May 10, 2013

why the f*ck friday? (18)

Welcome to WTFF. In which I attempt to answer a single question--normally a thought on a book or a bookish subject--that I've been pondering for the past week. This week it's "why the f*ck are you linking to the evil, the vile, the small business-destroying, Amazon.com?"

This is a question that has popped up this week because I came back, put my Amazon wishlist up (it's on the right sidebar), and was immediately questioned as to why I did this.

Most of my followers know I do not want to monetize this website, and putting my wishlist is "kind of" like asking for money. Putting up a donate button? I might do that. Yes, I might start asking for donations for books, or I might put up an unobtrusive advertisement (but only of something I like).

No, I am not going to start taking ARCs or galleys or anything else. (and you self-published people can still back off). The reason why I am having to put stuff up is because I will not compromise on this position.

This has more to do with having a free website up that a lot of people come to. And me having to sometimes spend $30 on books a week when I am actively blogging. Add that up. It's $120 a month. I am taking a loss on this blog, on my hobby, and on my passion.*

I am not the richest person on the planet, either. I actually have a very mundane job that pays for most of my lifestyle, but if I can eliminate one cost, I can live a little better, I can blog a little better, and I can improve the content on HOGIB.

Investing in this blog will make this blog better.

So here's what I want from you guys this week: what is your honest opinion on a blog that monetizes? On blogs that accept donations? On blogs that accept ARCs? On blogs that just stop being so indie?

If a large enough majority of you disagree with me, this website will remain ad free and donation free, and the Amazon wishlist will come down, and I will try harder to bring my own costs down.

*Yes, I do go to the library, but things like Scarlet by Marissa Meyer are on a waiting list for months at a time.

46 comments:

  1. I don't have anything against ARCs if they are books I want to read. I went to RT last weekend and was excited to receive the third and final books in two series I love. One will be released late May and the other in June. I would have purchased them, but now I don't have to. I will not, however, review books based upon a solicitation. I delete at least 10 requests a day from people wanting to send me a copy of their book to review.

    As for the cost associated with a blog that generates no income, I use the library as much as I can. I am fortunate to live in a city with an excellent library. I usually only buy books I am going to get signed by the author or I REALLY want to own.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with sharing your wish list. I wish a few of my friends would share theirs. I struggle every holiday trying to select something for them and this would certainly solve that problem.

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    1. ARCs just aren't for me. I don't want to discuss books that no one has really read, and that I can't recommend to a friend for several months (I will forget). I understand the purpose of them--to generate buzz for certain books--but I view them as too much of a handout.

      Ugh. I get a lot of requests too. Even though I state on various parts of this blog that, no, I will not read your book.

      The last hardback book I purchased was signed by the author. And, unfortunately, I am not near a large library. I do frequent it, but it's mostly for adult books, not young adult, as those are often checked out.

      Thank you. I was concerned it might have "commercialized" this blog, which is something I really want to avoid.

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  2. I don't mind the "Support My Habit" section in the sidebar... I actually thought it was pretty funny! I do have to admit that I tend to avoid blogs that are plastered with tons of ads. I really respect how you do not accept ARCs because that way, I know your reviews are completely honest. I'm always wary of reviews associated with blog tours run by the publishers/authors. Plus, I value reviews of books that have already been published far more than advance reviews of books that will come out several weeks or months from now because I like being able to get a book from my library or bookstore or Amazon right away if I'm intrigued by it after seeing a great review.

    I get kind of annoyed when I see all of the Amazon hate. I love supporting my nearest indie bookstore (I just went to a book signing at one yesterday night and, yes, I made sure to buy the books to be signed at the store), but it takes me a bus ride and then a 1.5 hour train ride to get there, so I can't frequent it as much as I'd like to. I buy most of my books through Amazon because they tend to be much cheaper, and that way, I can buy more authors' books than I would be able to otherwise. I recently saw an author write about how she hates Amazon, but it made me think, "Well would you prefer for Amazon not to sell your book?" I had previously bought her book through Amazon and it made me feel like she didn't value my purchase of it.

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    1. Thank you, thank! I agree with everything in your first paragraph (and second).

      I do actively support my indie bookstore, I make it a habit to go there often (as the best coffee shop in town is right next to it) but really, I can't afford to shop there all the time. Paying full cover price for a book can really suck. So I only go in there about twice a month.

      Hmm. I'm sure there could be some revenue concerns on her behalf. Amazon slashing the price of the book could be her/the publisher taking a loss on profits, but I know nothing about the subject, but Amazon making her book available to the entire world must account for something.

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  3. I get some ARCs through NetGalley -- I find some great things there -- especially graphic novels. But what I like about other bloggers is those who are honest about what they're doing and why they are doing it. Like if you choose to monitize by putting affiliate links on your page. If you wanna do that, cool. I appreciate when I'm told that's what is going on. This happens on a lot of the craft blogs I read.
    Content consumers don't have any right to demand you give us content or in any certain way. We can choose not to support someone who maybe supports unethical practices or the like, but if you're not doing anything illegal and you research your choices to make the most ethical (and that's also up to you to define) choices, then do what the fuck you want.
    I know I missed your blog posts and am happy you're back to writing, but you don't owe me anything.

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    1. Oh but I do owe you guys! I do this blog thing because of your support, because of your comments, web traffic be damned; I don't care if I got a thousand hits yesterday, I care more that I got two comments.

      I am doing "what the fuck" I want, but I want to include you guys in the process because I value your opinions, and I don't want you to feel bogged down if you come here and see a flashy banner ad next to a nicely typed (and well-put) review.

      Thank you, I missed talking to you guys a whole lot, and I'm so happy to be back.

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    2. But I think there's a difference between having a community and a conversation and having consumers. Wanting to do something for people you've built a community or conversation with isn't the same as owing those people things.
      But bottom line is: Yay! Glad you're back because people putting more awesome into the world is good for everybody.

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    3. "But I think there's a difference between having a community and a conversation and having consumers. Wanting to do something for people you've built a community or conversation with isn't the same as owing those people things."

      I never thought of it like that.

      Yes, I am super excited to be back and blah blah blah. I've missed blogging the past four months and I hated just leaving the site sitting here.

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    4. I hope people were understanding that sometimes things happen. I'm having to step away from my own blog for awhile and just doing my monthly Guys Lit Wire. Course, the only people who ever commented were my IRL friends anyway, so I'll just corner them in bars with my "views." Or fangirl to my library patrons. I totally connected with a lady yesterday over mystery novels.

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    5. Blogging often falls to the wayside for me because, really, it's not that important. Unless it's my job (and hey wouldn't that be great? To write four or five book reviews a week?) I'm not putting all of my effort and time into it.

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  4. I think you should do what you want. point blank.

    But if you really want to know my thoughts on that tiny, completely subtle and reasonable Amazon wishlist, I think it's cool and it doesn't make me cringe.

    Welcome back.

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    1. Thanks and thank you. Glad this website is still cringe free.

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  5. You need to run it how you are comfortable running it.

    I like ARCs I get mine from Netgalley and different conferences. I'll read and review and then schedule the book for posting closer to the pub date.

    I run a blog for the Central NJ region of the Jane Austen Society of North America (CNJ-JASNA)and we get offers for book reviews. I'll read them if I have time if not I ask if any of our members are interested in reading the book. If no one is interested in reading the book I will share the book but as a recommendation and not a review.

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    1. I agree.

      See, that's a good idea, but I'm lazing and like to publish things as I read them. I don't think that far ahead, basically.

      We have a massive Jane Austen Festival here in Louisville every year (well, as massive as a Jane Austen Festival could be). It is amazing.

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    2. It's on my list of things to do soon. We talked about possibly taking a road trip down for the festival next year.

      I say I post, but first I have to read, I have 5 ARCs sitting on my iPad right now that I haven't even touched.

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    3. Any Jane Austen fan would love it. It's held at Locust Grove, which is a historic landmark here, so you actually feel like you're in the Regency Era. There's also a ton of actors just walking around in costume. It is a lot of fun.

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  6. Adam, Welcome back! I missed your blog and reviews to the point that I even tweeted you. If you knew me, you would know that that it's nearly painful for me. Lol.

    Re. today's question: I think that if making a wishlist allows you to continue blogging, reviewing, and introducing us to new books and interesting perspectives, then I say, by all means go ahead. I don't even think having a discreet ad to help pay for your hobby is a bad thing either. I find that as long as I/we benefit from enjoying your blog, you should go about it however you think it's best.

    I am one of those who likes the fact that you review whatever book you truly want to read and not ARCs or what is popular at the moment. I have discovered several excellent books through your blog.

    Also, have you considered getting ebooks loaned from libraries to your kindle?(You do have a Kindle right). Or have you though about getting books loaned from other people via Kindle as well?.
    I know I read too much to be able to afford my reading habit at full price, so I used any and all means to get my hands on books. I use the library, the ebook services, borrow books from my goodreads friends, visit discount bookstores, Amazon, etc. I know supporting authors is important but, it cannot be my only consideration when I'm trying to feed this habit on a minimum budge.
    Anyway, welcome back. I hope you stay back as long as possible.
    P.S. I see you have Slammed on your wishlist. I loved that book, but not as much as book 2, Point of Retreat. Slammed was originally a self published book BTW. It apparently took the author one month to write and publish.It got so popular it was one of several self published books to get picked up by a publisher. Very impressive feat, IMO. I would love to read your opinion on it when and if you read it. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you! It is good to be back.

      Good, if it ever became unenjoyable, I would ask you guys to let me know so I can change it back.

      Yes, that's the problem with ARCs (which serve a purpose), but I would feel obligated to read them.

      I do own a Kindle and I do get some ebooks fromt he library. But most ebooks are on a waiting list, and if I don't feel like reading it when it's my turn? Well I'm SOL.

      Slammed was recommended to me, and I think I'll be reading it after I finish Scarlet. I've got a thing for S letters right now. And I don't think Slammed will change my opinion on self-published novels. There might be a review this week if I can snag a copy somewhere (probably in ebook form).

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  7. My library doesn't carry a ton of YA either (I'm working on my librarian to fix that), but I use inter library loan a lot to get things I want that my personal library doesn't have. It's worth checking out, but my thoughts on the matter are a good blog is a good blog whether it accepts ARCs, has ads, has a wish list or not. Also, I find your wish list unobtrusive.

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    1. I actually live right next to a library that's considered the "teen library". However, this area is home to several middle schools and high schools, and, well, they get to everything first because I have to be at work. The bastards.

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    2. Those kids don't know how good they've got it...

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  8. Welcome back, Adam!

    I think it's cool that you put a "Support My Habit" link up on your blog. I don't think you should have to justify why it's there seeing as how this is your little corner of the internet. But I get your point. Book blogging is not a cheap hobby, especially if you don't have access to the books you want from a library or a bookstore. (I can relate, the nearest bookstore to where I live is over an hour away.)

    I think that if a hobby or a passion is important enough to you, you do what you have to do to make it happen. (The amount of money I spend on books, stationery and postage is obscene.)I'm rambling, but basically...your blog, your rules.

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    1. Thank you! Good to be back!

      What's up with these bookstores being so far away? I used to have one right by me, then it closed, then I moved to another part of town and it's right there on the corner, but geez is it getting expensive.

      I have this bad habit of buying really expensive pens and moleskines. I have no idea why.

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  9. Adam have you considered using Paperback Swap to get some of your books (and weed out your own collection).

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    1. What's Parperback Swap?

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    2. A website where you can swap books. For every book you mail out you get a credit that you can use to request a book. All books need to be in good condition. Only cost is to mail the book which goes out media mail and is about $3.

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    3. Sorry for being nosy, but I can vouch for this site. I have been using it for over two years and it has only gotten better. Some books you do have to be on a wait list to get, but there are many, many books you can get right away. You also have the option of purchasing books at discounted rates, or buy book credits if you do not have books to trade.

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    4. You're not being nosy, you're being informative.

      Umm. Can anybody provide a link for this place? I Google it and... I'm not the best Googler.

      Delete
  10. Here's a link:
    http://www.paperbackswap.com

    It's a bit addicting. Not like tattoo addicting but I Need ALL THE BOOKS addicting.

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    1. I NEED MORE TATTOOS AND MORE BOOKS AND MORE COFFEE.

      Well, I've no idea where that came from.

      Delete
  11. I'm just starting to learn the addictive nature of tattoos. I'm 75% sure I'll be getting my second tattoo. I'm already addicted to coffee and books.

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    1. I'm curious as to what your first is.

      We need to be best friends.

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    2. I have 'father' in Klingon on my left wrist.

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  12. Personally I love ARC's. Like you I don't generally like to buy books, I'll try to get them from the Library, but like you said sometimes books can have waiting lists that are ridiculously long. The nice thing about an ARC is that I can get my hands on a copy early and not have to worry about all the Library wait list hullabaloo. I also love learning about up and coming books from bloggers who have received ARC's and getting the chance to add those books to my TBR list. I think it's nice to be able to know about books in advance, especially since I do check out so many things from the library so knowing about a book early on is key for getting a good spot on the hold list. :P

    Personally, I don't mind blogs that monetize. If they can make some cash doing something they love I'm all for it! However, I do think asking for donations is a bit tacky. There are people in the world who are starving, dying, etc, and in MUCH greater need than someone who simply wants extra cash for extra books.

    Out of all the things you listed, the main problem I see is when a book blog sort of "sells out" I guess you could say. Like, if I'm reading the blog and suddenly it feels like it's less a personal blog about a person's honest book opinions, and more like a conglomerate is trying to use this person to sell me things, the less I'll be interested in reading and following the blog anymore. It's like when YouTubers suddenly do nothing but advertise. DO NOT WANT.

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    1. Good points all around.

      This blog would never become what you describe in your last paragraph.

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  13. Late to the party.

    I don't have a problem with blogs that monetize at all. I don't care what the blogger decides to do as long as it is legal and doesn't take too long to load on my computer. That is all. Because a blog belongs to the blogger, that is all. So I don't get a say in how anyone else blogs and neither does anyone else, that is all. Whether or not I choose to read a blog is based on what content the person produces. If monetization helps, I'm all for it. Because it isn't my decision, but going back there to read again IS my decision.

    I think wishlists are awesome. I wish that more people would provide them. They are helpful for me for a variety of reasons. Yours isn't intrusive at all. I love that you put it up there. And I don't think donations are a bad thing if either they're being turned back into the blog obviously.

    Indie blogs? That's a new one. I'm cracking up.

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    1. What? If self-published writers can call themselves "Indie Publishers" I can claim myself as an indie blog.

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