New FTC rules for bloggers & open thread

Just passing along an article that may or may not affect us here at Cybils. Follow this link to a NYT article on new FTC rules affecting bloggers who get free stuff to review. In a nutshell: you're going to have to disclose your arrangements with your advertiser. That extends to disclosing what free books you get from publishers, as I understand it.

(If I'm reading the article wrong, please correct me in the comments.)

The relationship between reviewers and publishers has always been very clear. Publishers sent titles by the truckload to newspapers and magazines with book sections. The LA Times used to get 400 books a week. 

There wasn't any quid pro quo to the publisher, since by the time the book was unpacked by a secretary, tossed in the slush pile by an assistant editor, plucked out by a higher-up editor, re-packaged by the secretary and sent to the reviewer, the link between publicist and reviewer was pretty well removed, to say the least.

Though logrolling between authors who gave a thumb's up to their best buddy's book and vice versa was all too teeth-gratingly common. Perhaps FTC disclaimers for book reviewers should read, "If I didn't desperately crave with every fiber of my being a favorable review from this bestselling author when my book's out next year, I probably wouldn't have bothered finishing this!"

But starting December 1, we at Cybils will likely have to run a disclaimer stating that we do, indeed, accept free books from publishers. It's likely that most of the 400+ books nominated so far will come from the library, however, given the publishing industry's pecuniary difficulties these days.

A fuller disclaimer will run when I'm clearer on what else we have to disclose about advertisers and the like. In the meantime, let's hear from you how it might affect you.

And what else is on your mind in the kidlitosphere these days? Consider this an invitation to speculate, ponder, kvetch, etc …

–Anne Levy, Cybils Blogger-in-Chief