A Discouraging Trend – Some Publishers Refuse to Offer Hard-Copy Review Books (Gupta)

A Discouraging Trend – Some Publishers Refuse to Offer Hard-Copy Review Books (Gupta) August 4, 2015

If you read this blog with some regularity, you know that I like to read and review books. I review (announce, note, book-author interviews, etc.) about 40-50 books a year here, and another 5-10 for print journals. I am always appreciative to have a free copy from the publishers of these books. I am old-fashioned in the sense that I like to have a hard copy to put on my shelf and I mark-up my books pretty heavily.

I have noticed that over the last few years, some publishers are becoming more picky about who they send books to, and also some are refusing to send out print books at all to reviewers (bloggers or even traditional print-journal reviewers). I understand that printing and shipping is expensive, and that many scholars now have e-readers, but I must say I simply do not like being forced to accept an e-copy for review. To make matters worse, some publishers only offer print-reviewers and bloggers e-copies with an expiration date! You don’t even get to keep the book.

My hope is that publishers will respect the desired medium of reviewers like me, and will factor review copies (more review copies?) into the cost of the book, knowing publicity is a return on investment. I simply do not want to collect a bunch of e-books. I lend books out, I pass them around in class, I like to see them on my shelves as inspiration while I research, write, and prepare lectures.

How do others feel? Should we (reviewers) try to have a “conversation” with these publishers (I have tried personally with no success)? Should we simply accept our fate? Honestly, I will say there have been several books I have refused to review simply because the publisher will only allow an e-pub version. Maybe I am just too stubborn, but I am hoping my intransigence will make a difference in turning this tide!


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