Book Blogger Confessions: What Do We Owe Authors?

April 29, 2013 Book Blogger Confessions 20

Book Blogger Confessions is hosted by For What It’s Worth and Midnyte Reader. On the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month they will pose a question for book bloggers to answer and discuss.

Special edition! We have an extra Monday this month and thought we’d address some hot topics in the book blogosphere. Pick one – or answer them all! It’s up to you.

What do we owe authors? I (Karen at For What It’s Worth) read this interesting post the other day. An author had tweeted that if you get all your books from the library it deprives an author of income, another suggested using this fun little graphic to help readers spread the word about a book they love.


This is certainly a loaded question! As a reader I owe the author nothing except for common courtesy and respect (talk about the book not the person, etc). I purchase most the books I read because I want to, not because I have to. This is my personal choice, but I know that it is not for everyone. Some people can’t afford to buy books. Some people don’t really care if they own the books they read or not. It doesn’t matter because where you get your books from is your choice.

I think its sad that some authors are against libraries when they should be supportive of them as it puts books in the hands of people who might not read it otherwise. I may not be a big library user, but I do use it on occasion, especially if I am going to read a book that I am not certain I will like. I hate wasting my money on books that I don’t like. Last year I made a deal with Andrea from The Overstuffed Bookcase to read Cinder, a book that didn’t interest me at all. While I did end up liking the book I can guarantee that I would have never purchased it, so if it wasn’t for the library I probably wouldn’t have read it.

As far as promoting goes… I promote the ones I like (or don’t like) as I see fit. I don’t need an info graphic for that as it’s something that just comes naturally.  I wish gush about books I like and recommend them to the appropriate people if I want to. I don’t like the idea of a checklist at all! There is no “right” way to promote a book as a reader – in fact you don’t have to promote the book at all!

Tell me, what are your thoughts on the issue?


20 Responses to “Book Blogger Confessions: What Do We Owe Authors?”

  1. Midnyte Reader

    I totally agree! We definitely owe authors respect and courtesy, but to say we owe them extra…I don’t know. I think as bloggers and readers we do a lot of extra cheering if we like them, but no we don’t *owe* anyone anything. Not writers, not publishers. As for libraries…there are tons of books I wouldn’t read if it weren’t for libraries. I don’t like to keep a lot of books as it is, so I utilize the library all the time.

  2. Lori

    I definitely agree with you; I don’t think we, as reviewers, owe anything beyond respect to authors. If we owe anything to anyone, we owe it to our blog readers to be honest in our opinions on the books we do read. We recommend the books we like, don’t recommend the others. As a reader, I’m allowed to read a book any way that’s legal, whether it be borrowing from a library, buying from a bookstore, or getting them from friends. I don’t feel like I owe anything to an author, just like I don’t expect them to give me anything or write the kind of book that I want them to. They write their books, we read the books. That’s the deal. Great post!
    Lori recently posted…Book Review: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah StrohmeyerMy Profile

    • Kimberly

      You make a good point about keeping obtaining books legally!

      And I totally agree that authors don’t “owe” me the kind of book that I want to read. Obviously I seek out books I like, but I would never tell an author NOT to write the kind of book they want to write.
      Kimberly recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Key Words/TopicsMy Profile

  3. sarah elizabeth

    as far as I’m aware, if you are an author, and your book is available on loan at the library, you get paid based on how many times your book is loaned out. it’s probably a small amount compared to the royalties for a sale, but they should be thankful that people are reading and liking their books. A lot of authors would love to have their books available at the local library – what better way to get our book out there and read!
    sarah elizabeth recently posted…Book Blitz and 2 giveaways! Debt Collector by Susan Kaye QuinnMy Profile

  4. Karen

    Exactly!! I normally just buy any book that I’m interested in but for a book I’m not sure about – I’ll borrow and then when I love it the author just added a new fan. How could that be bad? I wasn’t going to buy it anyway.

    The article and tweets sort of shocked me because any author I have ever met is 110% supportive of libraries and librarians.

    I think this is a small minority of authors that feel this way. Thankfully.
    Karen recently posted…Book blogger confessionsMy Profile

    • Kimberly

      I agree that this opinion of libraries is in the minority for authors but that doesn’t make me any less sad about it. And I agree about trying new authors out at libraries. If I’m hesitant that’s where I’ll go, but if I love it, I will buy it!
      Kimberly recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Key Words/TopicsMy Profile

  5. Lauren @ Lose Time Reading

    It actually makes me sad that some authors are against libraries. When I was younger reading was much more “popular” than it was today, although it still wasn’t… but I feel that it was more common to go to the library. Now it seem like it almost has a negative air around it from some people(outside of the blogging world) and to try and discourage the people that are still enjoying it is sad to me. I live in an area where there are a TON of under priveledged children and families. Where they just don’t have the necassasties let alone the extra un required expense of books.. and they go to the library. There are wonderful programs put on solely so these children can experience sometime they wouldn’t have access to and it’s a shame that some authors would rather there book be purchased they be placed into the hands of a child who wants to love the written word. Le sigh.

    I totally agree about promotion as well… if I love the book you do not have to push me to promote it. Maybe shut me up… but not promote it haha. We owe nothing. Except not to steal it… lol.

    P.S. I can’t spell tonight… :S
    Lauren @ Lose Time Reading recently posted…Book Blogger Confessions (7)My Profile

  6. fakesteph

    I don’t owe an author ANYTHING but the promise that I won’t STEAL their content. They wrote a book, wonderful. But it better be damn good if I’m putting up my money and my time (more valuable). I spend a lot on books and I use the library. I dislike this idea that I owe an author anything. Who said that? I don’t want to read their books.

    I agree with you though. I promote the books I love!
    fakesteph recently posted…Babe In Boyland by Jody GehrmanMy Profile

  7. Alexia561

    I can’t understand why any author would be against libraries, as don’t they want their books read by as many people as possible? There’s no way I could afford to buy all of the books I want, so libraries expose me to new authors I might not have taken a chance on otherwise. And if I love your books, you can bet I’ll buy copies for my home library! Simply boggles my mind….
    Alexia561 recently posted…Book Blogger Confessions – Special Edition!My Profile

    • Kimberly

      Exactly! I would love to own all the books but I am not a gazillionaire so that’s not ever gonna happen. And you’re right if I get a book at the library and I end up loving it I will go purchase my own copy.
      Kimberly recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Key Words/TopicsMy Profile

  8. Roberta R.

    Quote: “I think its sad that some authors are against libraries when they should be supportive of them as it puts books in the hands of people who might not read it otherwise.”
    Totally agree. Also, if I’m unsure about liking a book or not…I may want to check it out first. After all, no one buys clothes without trying them on, or food without knowing how it will taste like. Well…most of the time, that is ;).
    The Beginner’s-Guide-to-Right-Promoting – urgh. Did the author in question go through a list of requirements – check, check – while writing her books?
    Roberta R. recently posted…Book Blogger Confessions: Hot Topics EditionMy Profile

  9. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

    I agree SO much with your answer! We don’t owe the author anything but our respectfulness in our reviews. I do think we should support authors AND libraries AND book stores as much as we can/want to when we enjoy a book. But that’s only if we want to. We don’t OWE it to them, I don’t think. It’s just like any art–if you enjoy it, support it when you can. Buy new, buy used, borrow from friends, borrow from the library, whatever. As long as you’re reading, you’re supporting authors, I think.
    Great answer, Kim!
    Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (24): Hover (The Taking #2) by Melissa WestMy Profile