The Pros and Cons of Receiving Books in Exchange for Reviews

It was several years ago when I first discovered the concept of getting books free in exchange for reviews. I was fantastically excited about people actually giving me books, sending them to me for free, and all I had to do was read and review them. 
When I started looking into different review sites, I was excited to find out that I already had enough followers to qualify for the first site I wanted to sign up with. Over the years I signed up for several more reviewing program, but it wasn’t until this last year that I semi-kept up with requesting and reviewing books. 
Although I’m not an expert on the matter, I have done a handful of reviews. I figured if any of y’all are interested in receiving books in exchange for posting reviews, you might like to hear some pros and cons, so here’s a list.
Pros for receiving books in exchange for reviews:
* Reading free books (including shipping)! What could be better? 
* You get to keep the books you review (at least with the programs I work with), and can do whatever you want with them, from selling them, to giving them away, to adding to your personal library 
* It’s a win-win-win situation that benefits everyone: Reviews are extremely helpful for promoting books. Authors, as well as publishers, are willing to invest a lot to lunch books, and being part of a launch is fun 
* Review sites are most often easy to navigate and simple to work with 
* Book reviewers have their own little community on-line, and it can be a lot of fun 
* I always tweet the links to the reviews of the books I enjoyed, and “tag” the author if they’re on twitter. That’s pretty cool because sometimes they then come and comment on the review 
* Knowing you’re going to review a book helps you to pay closer attention to your thoughts about it as you’re reading
Cons for receiving books in exchange for reviews: 
* Some books have specific time frames that the reviews are supposed to be published during. This can be difficult to keep to if something unexpected comes up, or if you’re juggling too many books at once 
* Since a lot of the books are newly (or unpublished) ones, it can sometimes be difficult to find out much about them. That means that sometimes a book you request isn’t what you thought it would be. This has happened many times to me, but only twice was the book actually made me seriously uncomfortable. In both situation I contacted the review site and explained the situation and requested permission to discontinue reading the book. I also told them since I’d agreed to read it, I would if they wanted me to, but I would be skim-reading and it would only be getting one star. Thankfully in both cases it was an e-book and they graciously told me it was totally fine not to finish
* It’s really not fun to read a book and not like it, knowing that you have to send the review back to the review site/publisher/author. You can generally soften the blow though, by being kind with how you express your dislike of the book. (Note: Don’t tag the authors on twitter if you didn’t like there book)
* It’s actually fairly easy to get confused and mix up what books you got from what review site/publisher/author. Although I stick with three main review sites, I review books from multiple other places as well. And yeah, it can be confusing
* * * 
That’s obviously not an all inclusive list, but it’s what popped into my head right off the bat. What about you? What are some of the pros and cons you can think of regarding reviewing books? 
By the way, the three main review sites I work with are: 
and Litfuse 

6 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Receiving Books in Exchange for Reviews

  1. Jess Schira says:

    I'm thrilled to see that you've had such a positive experience! I've tried doing the book reviewing thing on a few different occasions, but have basically written it off as not my cup of tea. My biggest issue is that I have found writing reviews is very difficult for me, which is odd, because I can write just about everything else under the sun.

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  2. Aidyl Ewoh says:

    Yes, I've found that writing reviews is different from writing other stuff, but I still enjoy it. Probably mostly because I think it's good for me and that it can help the author if I've enjoyed the book. Currently I'm writing a review for every book I read, but I only post the “books in exchange for reviews” ones on my blog.

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  3. Tarissa says:

    I enjoy using book reviewing websites as well. The main one I use often is NetGalley. On occasion, I've found some AMAZING books that I would have been so excited to read anyways (from a particular author I like, or a topic I'm dying to read about)… and not only did I get the chance to read it (for free), but often before it has even been published for the public! I do love reviewing books like this, but my main problem is keeping up with everything that I agree to review. I always have a long list of “need to read and review these THIS month” waiting for me. 🙂

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  4. Kate says:

    I'm a “freelance” beta-reader, so to speak; so some of this doesn't apply but definitely turning down people or writing a critical review can be hard. 😉

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  5. Aidyl Ewoh says:

    Ah yes, I know the feeling of having books that I need to read “last week!” Thankfully, I have found a pretty good balance so I'm not normally in too much of a hurry.
    I've done a few NetGalley books, but I found some of the content in the books I choose to be questionable, so I haven't requested one of their books for a while. I might try them again though…

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