Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

Review Copies, Owned Copies, And Balance

A photograph of The Headmaster's Wager and The Eighth Wonder which were sent to me, and Eleanor & Park which I own myself

Sorting through my posts a while back, organising my editorial calendar, I noticed how many reviews I hadn’t posted lately, and also, that of those I had posted, there were many for books I’d been sent. On average I’d posted fewer than one review a week, very different to my pre-calendar days, though that was in part due to an abundance of other writing topics. Less pleasing to me was the number of reviews of sent books versus those owned or borrowed – about 70% sent.

That percentage was something I could work with. It had just been a case that I’d had a lot of review copies lately and read them one after the other. I did have reviews for owned books but those were scheduled later on due to publishing dates as well as my preference to ‘first come first serve’ my reviews. I started wondering if this was okay, if having many sent book reviews in a month was okay. It kind of had to be at that point but I made a mental note not to do it again.

Do you think/feel there’s a balance that should be struck between review copies and owned books? This is a question requiring personal answers, particularly because bloggers all blog in their own ways. Some only review books publishers send them, others only older books, some library books, and that’s their ‘thing’, but what’s your personal preference as a blog reader? For me in terms of my blog it’s 50/50 but timing does play a part.

Your thoughts?



August 24, 2016, 11:26 am

i don’t think you need to worry about this unless you have a particular focus on trying to reduce your TBR pile. Many bloggers do in which case if you are featuring more review copies than books you already own you’ll want to adjust. But otherwise as a reader of your blog it really doesn’t matter

Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

August 24, 2016, 11:52 am

All I would be concerned about is that reviews are genuine rather than forced. Bloggers are not (usually) professional publicists, and I think we should feel free to do what we want. If that’s to exclusively review ARCs, fine. Likewise if it’s to review older books from the library, or only your personal books, or a mix. It’s only if a blogger seems to be doing something by rote that it bothers me.

Audra (Unabridged Chick)

August 24, 2016, 7:54 pm

I agree with what others have said — I think whatever feels “right” for you. I’ve done more “free range reading” this year, but have ended up only posting review for stuff I’m on the hook for — review copies — which bums me out b/c my random selections have been the books I’ve enjoyed the most — I really need to squee about them!


August 24, 2016, 9:50 pm

Honestly I don’t care. Personally I rarely read review books any more. I know other bloggers that post almost exclusively about new and review books.

It’s your life and your reading – do what works for you.

Jenny @ Reading the End

August 25, 2016, 2:20 am

Ooh, I don’t think there is a perfect percentage! On my blog, I have relatively few reviews from review copies, but it’s less a matter of policy and more a matter of me requesting relatively few books because I don’t want to overcommit myself.


August 25, 2016, 3:16 pm

It’s your blog and your reading and you can do whatever you want! I don’t don’t accept that many copies for review because most of the time I am simply not interested. Plus I have found in the past if I do accept a pile of books for review I get really stressed out. Do what works for you and if you are offered a book that sounds like a good one go for it.

Tracy Terry

August 25, 2016, 3:50 pm

Way behind with my reviews, both those awaiting posting and those awaiting typing.

I so know what you mean about the balance between the books we own and those we receive. Feeling totally out of balance for the last year/18 month, I found myself turning down lots of books to the point were I now feel the balance is a bit out of kilter again.


August 25, 2016, 6:09 pm

I like to keep things simple so I review every book I finish and in the order I read them; whether review copy or my own book. As for my reading pattern I try to read a review copy, then any book I just want to read and repeat that pattern. At the end of the day though if my mood takes me off that pattern I try not to worry about it.

Mary Mayfield

August 28, 2016, 1:12 am

I don’t think the percentage matters too much. In fact I don’t think it matters if ALL posts are for review copies, providing the review is honest. It’s nice though to occasionally see what a reviewer would choose to read if left to pick on their own. I end up mainly posting about review books, but also read others for a book club plus ones I’ve bought, and don’t necessarily post about these (so I’m not being very logical here!)


August 29, 2016, 8:58 pm

I don’t think you should ever feel like you have to do one thing or another :) just find a balance that keeps you happy. I find I have more reviews of books I discover, because most of my review copies come from netgalley and I keep that to a minimum after realising I didn’t always want to read books after requesting them.


August 31, 2016, 4:43 pm

Bookertalk: Thank you on all counts :)

Lory: A point to always remember, honesty is most important. And good point about rote, too. It’s got to be fun.

Audra: Yep, still loving that phrase :) Note down your ideas for when you’ve time, it’d be good to hear!

SuziQoregon: Good point.

Jenny: Amen to that. Too many commitments isn’t fun and doesn’t do anything good for the wish to read.

Stefanie: It can get stressful when you’ve a review to write for an ARC. An extra ‘need’, almost, to get it very right.

Tracy: Yes, going the other way. I often find when I start for form a decision like that, reading more of my own books, it coincides with less requests.

Jessica: You’re very organised! And your pattern sounds excellent, you’re always mixing it up in that way and always have your complete-own choice to look forward to.

Mary: You and Lory are making me think. I’ve always thought honesty important anyway, but it’s good to hear. I think I’ll put my focus on that as far as any thoughts of balance goes. Yes, a book you’ve chosen yourself shows your personality and can help the blog reader with contextualising your other reviews. Interesting regarding book club books – does all that extra discussion, dissuade you perhaps?

Alice: Yes, requesting is the easy part. Perhaps especially since it’s a file and not something that’s going to take up shelf space?

Mary Mayfield

September 3, 2016, 12:09 pm

Back to my comments about book club books – if I’m going to review I like to have the post written BEFORE the meet up. That way I’m sure the ideas are mine! No one would persuade me to like a book I’d disliked while reading, or vice versa, but at times someone will offer a different perspective on characters or plot development, and then it’s difficult to be certain how much they’ve influenced my review.


September 4, 2016, 3:34 pm

Mary: That makes a lot of sense – it’s like the ‘I won’t read other’s reviews until I’ve written my own’. It’s far too easy to take another’s idea without realising it. Yes on influence. You’re suddenly dealing with a view other than your own and it’s going to wiggle it’s way in somehow.



Comments closed