Can't Stop Laughing
The Empress and Emperor in the Garden

Should Reviewers Be Paid?

CD Money Last week, I received an unusual package.

Not unusual in the contents--these were review copies of New Age CDs--but what came with it: a label, on each CD, saying (in red) Submit your review to (email address) and receive $25. Thank you!"

I was floored.

This is a respected music company I've reviewed for for years. Yeah, I get the occassional desperate self-published author or deck creator wanting to pay me for a review (which I always decline) but...a publisher?

Fast forward to today, when I was visiting a professional LinkedIn group for book publicity. Another (desperate) self-published author wanted to know where he could get his book reviewed. A few replied to the author, and he said he considered those who review for money "a practice that I consider unethical from a writing and journalistic standpoint".

Some reviewers piped up, saying "I never accept money for reviews." One member, though, remarked: "Professional book reviewers (aka not your relatives) deserve to get paid, just like any other type of professional. Why would you think otherwise?"

Books Money What do YOU say, dear readers? Should reviewers be paid for their reviews (and time and/or influence)? If so, how much? If you think this will affect the quality of the review (increased tendency to write a positive review), how come?

What about Kirkus Reviews, who have staff (paid) reviewers? Or, the Kirkus Discoveries reviews, in which self-published AUTHORS pay THEM to review their work? Or staff writers like the wonderful Ron Charles of the Washington Post?

I really want to hear your thoughts on this one, readers!

-- Janet Boyer, Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, author of Back in Time Tarot, Tarot in Reverse (Schiffer 2012) and the Snowland Tarot (Schiffer 2013). Featured in Tales of the Revolution: True Stories of People Who Are Poking the Box and Making a Difference (A Domino Project eBook edited by Seth Godin)


Personally I don't think reviewers should be paid directly by anyone with an interest in selling something, in order to avoid conflict of interest. This does not mean that unpaid reviewers are objective and often they are not (only print positive reviews, want to maintain a good relationship with publishers who give them free goodies). Any payment for a review, in cash or in kind, should be disclosed in the review.

Janet Boyer

That's exactly what the FTC thought in the Fall of 2009 and ruled accordingly: But I notice that bloggers and reviewers rarely do, even after this ruling...

Thanks Janet! I wasn't aware of that FTC ruling and I doubt many bloggers are, probably because it isn't being enforced. I recently acquired Blogging for Dummies and just looked to see if it mentions it and it does! I have a background in insurance, where I learnt that an independent adviser should Avoid conflict of interest otherwise Disclose it.

Janet Boyer

Interesting that it already made it into a blogging book! There was a brief dust up on Twitter for a month or so...then nothing. Heck, I STILL don't disclose I get review copies (mostly because my readers know that won't make a lick of difference LOL!) ;o)

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