Legitimacy, Professionalism And Book Blogging

Last night, I was tossing and turning in bed. My brain was racing with thoughts. Shocker, right? This morning was also full of tossing and turning and thoughts rattling around in my brain. All these thoughts were centered around ALA, conferences and book blogger behavior. And while I realize that I am probably not the best person to write a post on professionalism (come on, you all know me), I thought I would take a crack at it anyways because this is starting to become something I really care about.

Image is everything.

Look you guys, book blogging is a relatively new part of the book industry. We are changing the landscape. People in the industry perceive us in a  variety of ways. Personally, I want to be perceived as a no-holds barred person who is passionate about books. I want to be taken seriously. Yet, when you act like an animal at an event, when you hoard books, when you treat librarians who pay hundreds compared to the pocket change of $25 to go to a professional event MEANT FOR THEM like second class citizens, when publishers refer to us as locusts, that reflects badly on me. That reflects badly on the whole community.

It is not fair. I get that. But people will judge our community based on the actions of one or a few bloggers. It’s why when you take multiple copies at an event like ALA when librarians are in PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT meetings and committees people start to assume that bloggers are grabby. Look, this needs to be said — when one blogger pushes and shoves and fights for a copy – that reflects on all of us. People will look at that blogger and dismiss the rest of us. You can whine and complain about how that person does not affect your image until the cows come home, but the sad fact is some people will make judgements about our community based on the actions of some people.

Attending events like ALA and BEA are a privilege for bloggers. The conference organizers, at least for ALA, do not have to have those events open to the public. ALA does not have to charge only $25 for bloggers to get in. If enough librarians are concerned about blogger behavior or are vocal about it to the board — that could mean the closing of ALA to non-professionals, because those of us who are not librarians are not entitled to be there. Again, this is where you need to THINK about how your actions come across. When you are grabbing stacks and stacks and stacks of books, people are watching. People who actually have a stake in ALA. People who form opinion based on that one grabby person. And look, I know I am repeating myself over and over, but I want to drive that point home.

How can we be considered legitimate if we can’t even act professionally at events? If we don’t take the concerns of librarians and industry professionals running the event seriously? When there is concern about people taking extras for giveaway to promote their blog, I think we need to listen. I don’t think there’s a call to be dismissive. I think that we need to take a good, long hard look at ourselves in the mirror. I think we need to acknowledge those concerns. Maybe that means an apology. Maybe it means making reparations and donating books to the library. Maybe it means considering your actions at every conference you attend. Maybe it means you should know better if it isn’t your first conference.

Maybe I am not the best person to write this post because let’s face it, I have a flair for the dramatic. Yet, that does not stop me from caring about how I am perceived, about how my community is perceived to people outside of it. I spend ball park 20-30 hours a week on my blog. Yes, yes, I know I need a life outside of this. So, maybe that is why I feel so invested in this. Maybe that is why I feel so critical of our behavior. Because I don’t want my blood, sweat, and tears to be for nothing. I don’t want my entire community to be seen as ARC hungry hoards. Because yes, this does affect me, because it affects our image.

That stated, I want to make some reparations. My local library does not have a teen group and does not accept ARCs. I have a bag full (not from ALA, I did not go) that my boyfriend was supposed to drop off at the library near where he works, but it sounds like he will never do it. Librarians, if you are interested in some YA/MG arcs and a few finished copies for your teens and your teen programs please email me – I would like to send you a few. I know it does not completely diminish what you witnessed, but it is a start.

That said, friends, how can we be part of the solution?

Also, Kelly of Stacked has a fantastic post about what librarians do with ARCs, being a book blogger and a librarian and ALA. I think you need to read it because it is eloquent and brings up excellent points.

If you’d like to learn more about professionalism, book blogging, networking, and publishing – might I recommend looking into Book Blogger Convention.

Via Pam’s suggestion – If you’d like to truly support ALA, you can buy a membership in ALA or YALSA. Here’s a link with more information on how to join.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. Great post, April. Thanks for making these points to the book blogging community.

  2. I’m still new to the book blog sphere, so while reading this post I felt…shocked. Everything you said here seems pretty common sense. It makes me sad that you had to say it at all.

  3. Wow, someone much have been very grabby at ALA… I hadn’t heard anything. I think some people get a little too focused on FREE that they forget about everything else. They have to remember their manners.

    • I hadn’t heard anything also! I feel like I’m living under a rock or something. But then again, I live all the way over here in Manila so I don’t actually get to experience conferences like ALA and BEA (although would love to attend someday). I think April is awesome for writing this post though. It makes me sad that bloggers get judged based on the actions of a few bad bloggers.

    • I definitely think free can be overwhelming and maybe cause some people to go against their better judgement.

    • Yeah, somebody was SUPER grabby. I think it’s always important to remember your manners and be polite when you are representing your blog. People remember how others act at these professional events.

  4. Wonderful article, those who plan to attend should take the time to read. Keep them coming!

  5. *must have been

  6. Well said. I agree with everything. Professionalism is SO important, but is sometimes easy to forget (and we all forget sometimes).

    In regards to donating books, in addition to public libraries, you can always inquire about donating them to local middle or high schools. I teach high school English and would be OVERJOYED if someone stopped by with books to donate to a classroom library or the media center, especially if they were newer books (most that people want to donate are older ones that students aren’t necessarily as interested in). For me personally, I do not have school funds to purchase books for my classroom and most media center budgets have been cut or are even nonexistent so I encourage anyone with books to donate to call or stop by the school office!

    Sorry for the novel; I just want kids to have books! 🙂

    • It’s fine! I think it’s good to let people know there are outlets for their gently used ARCs and review copies, that there is a good place for them to go. I donate mine to the library for their reading program, but I may look to classroom libraries in addition in the future. I hope many other bloggers think about doing this as well.

  7. Thanks for writing this April. I don’t know the whole story about what happened, but I read Kelly’s piece yesterday and what she wrote about BEA last year as well as a Publisher’s Weekly piece about BEA 2011 that really disturbed me. The thing is that the most recent events at ALA aren’t isolated. The same behaviors have been happening for at least a year. (According to PW, a group of bloggers and young employees of publishing houses rushed to a stack of unopened boxes after the YA Buzz Panel at BEA, and when no one opened them, some of the attendees started opening them and passing back books to others till they were all gone.) Things like this are simply revolting, and you’re right, if the behavior continues to happen at these types of events, bloggers will no longer be welcome. Personally, I’ve never been to either ALA or BEA, but I know that my work could be dismissed just as easily as the next persons because of it.

    Thanks again for writing a much needed piece. Hopefully some of those people who NEED to read it do.

  8. April, you make very good points here! Whether a blogger is in it for the love of reading, the community, the business, or whatnot there is always a call for respectful and professional behavior. Motivations for blogging does not preclude that.

    Though bloggers pay less to attend ALA it is wise to be mindful of the fact that in reality we are guests there. This event is first and foremost for the membership of the organization. Whether you’ve paid your meager fee to be there or not, whether you feel you have a right to be there or not, the fact of the matter is that those members of the organization have MORE rights. So when they are treated like second class citizens then stand up and verbalize those feelings it behooves us to not only recognize where we’ve gone wrong but rectify it.

    Finally, whether people agree or not, whether they personally believe it or not the behavior of one reflects on us all. Facts is facts.

  9. I hate that I’m being judged on something I didn’t do. That’s what really sucks about all of this. I know it’s unavoidable on my part to get some of the wrath from other people acting all crazy, but it still upsets me. I don’t have any publisher contacts, I don’t get ARCs sent to me from publishers. I get books by winning contests, library, buying, Netgalley, or borrowing from awesome blogger friends. I hate that I get put into this ARC craziness when I rarely have one myself. *Not saying every blogger who get ARCs regularly from pubs in involved anyway in this.*

    Can I be honest and say I would like to know who these bloggers are who are all pushy and grabby?

    I don’t even want to look into how much I spend time blogging…I’m sure it’s a scary amount of hours. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to hopefully being able to attend BBC & BEA this year. *crosses fingers*

    I actually contacted my library a few days ago about possibly being able to volunteer with teens at my local branch. I looked into it and they don’t have any book discussions for teens. I was kind of surprised, it’s a big library system. I’m hoping to be able to do something for my local library besides visiting and donating books on occasion.

  10. It’s a sad truth that the actions of only a few can paint everyone in a bad light. Wonderful post, April.

  11. Yikes! It seems like this kind of behaviour is getting worse, or at least I’m hearing about it more. It’s embarrassing. Unfortunately, there are always going to be those kind of people in every crowd. I don’t know what we as a community can do about it other than point it out as not the standard.

  12. This is a really great post…well thought out and you actually have suggestions. Having just started a book blog, Im just noticing all the fighting and bickering in the book blogging world,and it’s a little frustrating. I’m planning to attend BBC and BEA in June though 🙂

  13. Wow…people really DO those things? I find it totally shocking that people could be so unprofessional in ANY arena of their lives. You make so many great points here that could be carried into the world outside of book blogging…never ceases to amaze me how unprofessional people can be even at their jobs. (I’m starting to sound like an old fart, but whatever.) Great points on the special need of book bloggers to be professional, to never be greedy when it comes to review copies, and to respect people at these sorts of events. It’s a shame when the questionable actions of a few people reflect on an entire community of people who are, for the most part, passionate about reading and promoting great books (not about getting free copies of those books).

  14. I think your point is well made and I agree that whether the behavior was yours, the actions of a few reflect upon the entire community. I would like to say that all of the bad behavior I witnessed was involving YA books and YA bloggers. Maybe it’s because so many YA bloggers are very young (although I met many teen bloggers who were very mature and wonderful), maybe it’s because the YA market is so hot right now, but I think that there is a way to constructively suggest to younger or more inexperienced bloggers that we can all work together instead of literally fighting over books. I’m not sure that arguing over social media is productive, but maybe a private email to a blogger might get through since all I see on twitter is everyone getting defensive and no one really listening. Since I’m new and obviously very naive, it never occurred to me that people woudl take a book that they didn’t plan on reading. (Stupid, I know). I am very excited about the books I got and I can’t wait to read them and then give them to people/organizations that need them. I also want to point out that no one took books from the YALSA teens. Publishers had books set aside for them, as they should. Hopefully, all of this will make people more mindful of how they behave and what happens to the ARCs they get.

    I’ll tel you one thing – after all of this I think I’m going to join ALA as a non-professional member.

  15. I’m really glad that you brought this up. As a school librarian I am fortunate to be able to go to some professional development functions because of the budget. I would have died to been able to go to ALA this past month & it was just destroying me seeing all of these posts about how these book bloggers area going just to get the free arcs. I thought why are you at a event that is specifically for school & public librarians when you have your own events. Thank you for standing up & saying something.

  16. I’m going to check out the links you suggested. I’ve been hoping to some day be able to attend one of these events (lots of people gathering over love of books? YES PLEASE!) but it makes me sad that someday I might not be able too because of bad behavior. I know people love freebies, but you have to be fair to others. For me the golden “Do unto others” rule always applies. Hearing about book hoarding reminds me a bit of the Dystopian books we read where one group thrives while other starves.

    I really hope these issues naturally resolve themselves sometime soon.

  17. Great post, April! I know we had conversations about this stuff at BEA and we are on the same page. It was embarassing to me at BEA to say that I was a blogger. I wished I could say I was a librarian or a teacher because when I’d be standing there asking a publisher, “Well I liked x book that you guys published..can you recommend any upcoming titles in the same vein” or “tell me about what contemporary books you think are going to be really hot next year” and having a great conversation with them…all of a sudden I’d see bloggers come charging up to grab books and then not even say a thank you or anything to the publisher. It was embarrassing. I work hard to be professional (because I AM used to acting like a professional in my daily life) and have to work EXTRA hard to be taking seriously since I look so young. And that all gets wiped away the moment some person gets possessed by some ARC greed and asks like a crazy fool. And the blame doesn’t even just go to new bloggers…there were “veterans” acting like that too. I’m just happy that I had the private publishing events that we went to so that we could show some of those pubs that not ALL bloggers are ARC mongers. Honestly, HOW is a free book more important than acting like a decent human being? lol I don’t get it. UGHHHH. Great post! This is actually my first comment about this whole thing. While I’ve enjoyed/been interested (because let’s be honest..I can’t stay away from watching the drama..why I watch Jersey Shore), I haven’t said ANYTHING as much as I’ve wanted to. I feel as though I made my stance quite clear after experiencing BEA. I was telling Will all about it and I explained to him how many books people got vs me and how I would have probs came home with about 20 books had I not gone to the pub events. I would have been MORE than happy with those 20 because I would know that 1) I had read the back of every one of them to know I want to read it and 2) I didn’t act like a moron to get it. I can sleep ok if I know that maybe publishers saw some of us kind and courteous bloggers.

  18. April, fantastic post. Since BEA ’11, I’ve really shifted my perspective on the concept of worshiping ARCs. I was a blogger who occasionally picked up two copies for two different friends. Was it classy of me? No. Should I have done it? Probably not. And I think book bloggers as a whole really need to understand that the point of ARCs is to sell the book to readers. With the book industry the way it is currently, we need to really sell books to our blog readers that deserve them, and we also need to buy real copies of those amazing ARCs if we can spare a buck. ARCs exist to promote books. They are not there to hoard and idolize and make us feel special. They’re there to spread a love of literature. Blogging is about sharing opinions and encouraging intelligent discourse. And I think there should be more of a focus of helping newer bloggers to understand that the glitz of knowing authors and receiving books for free only goes so far.

    Basically, we really need to shift our priorities. And this post reminded me that networking is the prime importance of book conventions, and I’m going to act like it in the next convention I attend. Thank you.

  19. I think what bothers me most is the refusal of few who did misbehave to see what they did as wrong. Some grabbed as many books as they usually read in a year, joked about pushing people around and causing mob scenes, and seem proud of it. Some grabbed books they have no intention of reading and don’t seem to care. It bothers me that a blogger, someone meant to be promoting books and literacy, could take away resources from librarians who are, quite honestly, probably as good if not better at doing that. Especially considering this always seems to be a particular problem for YA bloggers. Shouldn’t we want librarians to help teens who aren’t as fortunate as us? Shouldn’t we want to set a good example for teen readers on how to be a decent, professional person?

    I also don’t understand why people refuse to see that one person’s actions reflect on everyone. Almost every prejudice that exists is around because a minority of a population did something and people decided that meant they were all like that. Bloggers are no different from other people. We can be judged just as harshly as any other group of people and once a reputation sets in, no matter how hard the majority works to fight against that reputation, it’s hard to reverse.

  20. I wanted to chime in as someone who worked a booth last year at BEA. I had some *great* blogger meet-ups; but there were problems with some other bloggers. We were very generous with our giveaways and yet, apparently it wasn’t enough. We had major problems with grabbiness and theft. While I didn’t judge the blogging community as a whole by the bad behavior of a few, my colleagues were incredulous and less forgiving. It matters in the short run as publishers now need to put safeguards in place at events (some publishers may choose to make hard copy ARCs unavailable to bloggers); and in the long run as publishers continue to weigh in on the legitimacy of bloggers (selectively and as a whole) at a time when book blogs seem to be proliferating at an exponential rate. No publisher is going to deny the merits of exposure through blogs; but it may take more than an entrance fee to BEA or ALA to establish credibility as a legitimate blogger. Professional behavior is equated with legitimacy. Wacky correlation as it may seem, appearances do count.

    FYI, the company I work for has chosen not to be on the floor next year. While the blogger swarm was not the only reason for the decision nor the biggest reason, it was still one of the reasons. The company will be at BEA holding private meetings, just not holding down the fort, er booth.

  21. I think people just need to CUT BACK. I understand the appeal of awesome books but when you start “just grabbing” books for the sake of having them and especially at ALA, when bloggers have only recently become part of those types of events–that reflects badly on us, like you said. I hesitate to say there should be a limit on books that bloggers can take… but that’s looking like the best option! I will most likely not have the opportunity to attend BEA, ALA, or BBC–any conference, really–until I’m out of high school or 18. And while this pisses me off because I WANTS DA BOOKS–maybe it’s for the best and hey–if my blog is good enough, I can get those books anyways.

  22. I’ve been hearing bits and pieces on twitter of all the drama at ALA, but I still don’t know all the details. This is pretty shocking. I’m not even sure what to say!! I think that all the book blogs coming up in this past year have really had things handed to them a little too easy. They see book blogging as a way to get free books. For the rest of us, we started our blogs not knowing there were other book blogs. We started out waiting for release day for a book and going to the library. Writing about books because we love.

    I had a new blogger email me this past week asking for help. Shed only been blogging a month, but she asked me how to get ARCs. It kind of pissed me off. I told her not to worry about it. That if she was in this to get free books then she shouldn’t waste her time. Sometimes I wish the ARCs would go away! They stare at me on the bookshelf. Waiting to be reviewed. My TBR pile is so huge! New bloggers are not having to work hard like we all did. They expect free stuff.

    I donate to my library. They tried starting a teen program but nobody showed up. So, now my librarian has asked me for help. I’m so excited! I’m making prize packs of the ARCs for the teens who sign up! A little bit of advertising and hopefully we’ll get it started! They need the books for circulation too. I was told I’m the only one who ever donates. Sad.

    • I think any time you try to paint a whole group in a certain way it’s unfair. As someone who has only taken my blog seriously within the past year (it’s a few years old) I haven’t sought out anything aside from e-galleys. I have participated in ARC tours via blogger friends which seems a very fair way to stretch ARCs usefulness.

      I don’t feel like things have “come easily to me” and when I don’t get an e-galley I want I don’t get mad. I think “whew more time for the books on my TBR list.” I started by blog for love of books as well. I was already reviewing on goodreads and thought I’d like to share with people not on goodreads as well. Your post just comes across as a little judgmental to those of us who might be newer to the blogging world. If it’s unfair to paint all bloggers by a few who misbehave, the same follows for lumping together all new bloggers.

      • Hey Cassi, just wanted to state, personally, I don’t think the new crop of bloggers are bad, it’s just again a few leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths. Personally, I love new bloggers and will continue to support and tweet their posts (my latest favorite newbies: Coffee And Wizards and Reut Reads). I don’t think Mary was trying to say that all new book bloggers were bad, just the ones she dealt with leave a bad taste in her mouth. I’ll admit the book blogging community is radically different than from when I started about 2.5 years ago, but again, there is always room for new people and new voices to talk about books.

      • That was NOT my intention AT ALL! I’m so sorry that you took it that way. I don’t think that all new bloggers are bad. I don’t even know most of them! I was just stating that with the sheer number of newer blogs, the ol;der ones have done a lot of the ground work. Not saying new blogs are working either. I’m just saying that new blogs are getting ARCs and NetGalley when the old blogs didn’t have those resources at our disposal. I was not meaning to come across as judgemental. I’m sorry for that.

  23. I went to NCTE for the first time back in November and while it’s not as crazy as ALA or BEA in terms of grabbiness and stampedes, there was still some behavior that shocked and upset me. Considering how many of the teachers go to that convention and spend their own money (on the FULL convention, not just the exhibit hall) and want to bring back those books for their students, it’s disheartening that people go to these conventions just for free books for their blogs. Bloggers, do you realize how much of their own money teachers spend on their classrooms? And you are going to come and take those books out of the hands of kids? And then you’re going to act ENTITLED to those books? Yeah, sorry, that makes me angry.

    Yes, I have a book blog and I have given away a few scattered ARCs here and there to get some more traffic for my blog, but my ultimate goal is to share those books with my students. When I came back from NCTE, I loved seeing the look on my students’ faces when I told them “These books haven’t been published yet. You get to read them before anyone else.” They were shocked and excited and blown away. So yeah, the fact that bloggers are being hoardy and selfish about these books gives me The Rage because teachers and librarians are doing this for their kids, not just to get more blog traffic.

    • AMEN! As both a teacher and blogger, I feel the exact same way. Last year, I spent over $1,000 on books with most of them going into my classroom. I did get some ARCs, which went onto my class bookshelf as well after being read and reviewed by me but my ultimate goal is to get great books into the hands of my kids. I’m disgusted by those who grab-grab-grab so much more than they’ll ever read and don’t think about the teachers and librarians who put books directly into the hands of kids.

  24. I get why librarians get pissed off about bad blogger behavior. Yes, most bloggers are respectful and don’t act a fool. But those that do the pushy-grabby “mine, mine!” dance can be SO annoying.

    I think it’s important to keep having these discussions, because some people just may not know the etiquette. Yeah, some people are just assholes who are going to push and shove, but I hope that they account for the majority.

    Most other trade shows are open only to people who have licenses or proof that they work directly in the industry, so it would make me sad if ALA began to exclude bloggers because of the actions of few.

    Great post, April!

  25. Er, hope that they *don’t* account for the majority, obviously. 😉

  26. What I find sad is it takes a few bloggers’s bad behavior to tarnish how bloggers are perceived as a whole. I still hear about the crazy things that happened at BEA, which totally over shadows the good things that happened there. I was at ALA, but I guess I missed the big drama everyone is talking about.

    The nice thing is publishers still love both librarians and bloggers. These events are a great way for people to go and to spend time talking to the publishers and making a connection they can’t other wise make via email. Same with meeting fellow bloggers. I noticed publishers for the most part would set books out at a certain time for anyone to pick up and also set books aside for liberians.

    Hopefully the good bloggers do will soon out weigh the bad.

  27. I think many forget that book blogging is a passion and obtaining arc’s is a bonus. I didn’t start blogging for anything to be given to me and I don’t personally care if people don’t comment. It’s knowing that even one of my reviews could spur someone to read a book I like.

    It’s a pity that the minority of people take things too far and somewhat spoil it for the rest

  28. Glad you put thoughts out there. Ever wonder if the “grabby-grabby” care? I haven’t witnessed this first hand but I wonder… Great post.

  29. Thank you very much for voicing this April. I would love to expound upon my own feelings as both a librarian and a blogger, but I’m afraid I’d just be repeating things put more eloquently by Kelly of Stacked, as well as some of the other comments here. So I’ll just leave it at thanks. =)

  30. April, I really want to thank you for this post. I’ve been reading your blog since you started, using it for collection development, and I love book bloggers. But the behavior I saw this past weekend made me momentarily forget that, and as a librarian, I’m going to make a huge effort not to group everyone together. Yes, there was bad behavior, but it shouldn’t reflect on the entire blogging community — especially when this community is valuable to me in my professional and personal life!

    Thank you, again, for your post.

  31. I wasn’t going to comment because I have never been to one of these events. But this is a great post.. really.

    During last weekend I saw a blogger posting pics of her ALA grabs. She was surrounded in stacks of them, like they were pirate booty or something. ——> Argh! lol. I’m not saying that particular blogger was part of all this drama, but I do find that my twitter feed is often filled with I want ARCs, I got ARCs! How can I get more ARCs!.. you would think the damn things were Golden Doubloons.

    I thought book blogging was supposed to be about sharing your love of books with others and such, not collecting arcs and followers. I’m not planning to go to any of these events this year, but I was planning to try one in 2013.. now I’m a little unsure.

  32. My library actually has ARCs circulating in a mini-library of books than can be checked out without a card. I thought that was pretty interesting :]
    I haven’t been to a conference before so I’m a little scared to go now. I don’t want to make anyone look bad. Someone should write up a general rules post or something. That would help 😛

  33. I really like what you said about one person reflecting poorly on everyone. It stinks because it really is just a handful of over excited individuals, but it does reflect poorly on the group as a whole and that’s the thing that sucks. Like April in the comment above, I haven’t attend any of these events but was considering it – especially ALA as I work in that industry and am gearing up for library school, but I worry about going as a blogger because of being perceived in a negative light. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, very well said.
    Megan @ Read It, See It

  34. WOW.

    I know that’s not the most eloquent of reactions to something like this, but for someone like me who’s never really been to events of that magnitude and witnessed bloggers behaving like that, it always comes as a shock to me to learn how some of them do behave in certain situations. For me, this comes off as downright embarrassing. I won’t claim to be the hardest working blogger out there, but I do put A LOT of effort into my blogging so I’m astonished and embarrassed on behalf of the people who witnessed that sort of ‘grabby’ behavior. I’d hate to be treated differently as well because I’m a book blogger and be associated with greedy people. And it makes me a little bit angry because I don’t have the opportunities – yet – to attend those kinds of events being that I can’t really travel without my mom (I’m 17), so it stinks that people aren’t appreciating the opportunity they DO HAVE in being able to attend big events like that.

    It’s funny, because I think I’d be too nervous to even reach for ONE copy *lol* At least at first. xD

  35. April, I totally agree with everything you said.x

  36. You have a lot of solid points here centered around integrity, respect, and remembering that our actions impact people way outside of the realm of our expectations.

    My fear is that the ones who are the problem – the ones who take 5 copies of an arc and shove librarians out of the way and do all of the other crap that gives the rest of us a bad name – will not read this/not care because they are getting what they want.

    I would love for those going to BEA and future book related conference to call out fellow bloggers when they see this behavior. If you see a blogger doing something shady/disrespectful, be all “HEY YOU, I’m a blogger too and what you’re doing is lame.” Yeah it’s confrontational and might be awkward but unless the behavior is corrected, we are all going to suffer the consequences from Grabby McRudeface.

  37. Thanks for the post April. You’re very right, we are judged. Bloggers do need to be careful how they act. Yet, the response from the librarian on that girl’s blog that I read, about it being shameful to give away ARCs, was stepping over the line, I think. Librarians need to be careful how they react to bloggers too, otherwise the two groups will often be at odds. As someone in both groups, I’d like to avoid that. This is a good place to start, I think; this blog post and others like it.

  38. Things have been getting progressively worse in book bloggers behaviour in the past few years. While it is a select few that are behaving this way, those select few are growing in number.

    A few years back I wanted to attend BEA but in recent years has turned towards ALA for the YA-focus, rather than the free book focus. I am now hoping to attend YALSA’s YA Lit Symposium (St Louis, Missouri) in November as it is built around deep discussion and sharing of YA lit instead of the mad rush for books. There is much more to be gained from talking than grabbing.

  39. Thank you for this post. I tweeted about bad blogger behavior when I saw it and after the meeting and I’ve written a blog post about it. (At 2010 Annual I was actually shoved out of the way. It really hurt, both physically and emotionally.)

    It’s annoying as a librarian, because it makes it really hard to do my job at a meeting where I’m working.

    But I’m also a blogger, primarily YA, and it really disgusts me as a blogger, because a few people ARE ruining it for all of us and making all of us look bad.

  40. No idea what precipitated this post, but IMO common courtesy is equally easy whether you’re a new blogger or a veteran. Bad behavior is bad behavior, and for the most part it’s common sense to know if you’re acting like a fool.

    As a new blogger reading that bloggers act badly at conferences kind of pisses me off, tbh. It makes those of us who are new to the blogosphere have to work even harder for acceptance and to prove ourselves worthwhile, and it perpetuates that idea that we’re all just in it for the books.

  41. You stated this so well. I thought about doing a post, but this is wonderful… and now i don’t need to!

    Not that it’s needed but here’s my two cents…

    I attended my first ALA conference… my first EVER conference in 2009, I was a newish blogger. I had no idea that people were going to be handing out books for FREE! (Although I did buy quite a few books when I attended too.) But I will admit. I went a little crazy and took more books than I needed. There were just a handful of book bloggers there, I think I could count us on one hand, but there were still librarians there that were upset bloggers were getting books. I don’t think that’s going to change. On the flipside, the publishers were just starting to work with me (and other bloggers) and were REALLY excited about it.

    In the four years i’ve been blogging I’ve witnessed that changing at conferences. Last year at BEA, there were publishers that weren’t even interested in talking to me. It’s sad. But honestly… I can’t blame them. Thanks to a few we come across as greedy and unprofessional. I witnessed at BEA far too many times. And these aren’t the “teen” bloggers. These are adults that should definitely know better. Yet, every year it seems to fall on deaf ears because it’s the same people I see at the conference year after year, taking more than one copy without asking, butting in line, etc. I’ve heard horror stories from author about ALA. One told me that a blogger cut the entire line, claiming that they were a blogger so they should be in front and then proceeded to tell the author why they didn’t like their book. My response was WTH! This actually happened! No wonder we don’t get taken seriously. *shakeshead*

    For a newbie blogger, just wrapped up in the moment, I can forgive that. I’ve been there too, I think we all have if we’ve been doing this long enough. But just today I witnessed a “veteran” blogger with a goodreads ala2012 list of around 150 books…. that is almost the number of books i read in ONE YEAR! That is insane to me! And why? I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not. I’m tried of being embarrassed to call myself a blogger.

  42. April, even though you may not think that you are especially professional, I think the fact that you had the gall to call people out on this suggests that you are professional.

    I’m not sure how this problem can be solved. There are always going to be a few people who are crazy greedy. However, I do think acknowledging the problem is helpful, because it makes us all reconsider how we treat the privilege of getting free books.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, April!

  43. I love this post, April, and I’m so glad you wrote it. I’m a new blogger, but I’ve been going to conferences as a librarian for two years (not ALA, unfortunately, but BEA), and I’ve witnessed some sketchy behavior. I’m always more shocked than anything that grown people would do things like grab a book out of another person’s HAND when the pile is right next to them, or cut people on lines. But I’ve encountered some lovely bloggers at these conferences, too, who have been friendly and awesome and courteous and WONDERFUL. I hope more than anything that publishers would notice the latter of us instead of the former, but unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to forget an adult ripping a book out of another person’s grip instead of saying, “excuse me” or “could you pass me one of those?”
    It’s unfortunate when the actions of a few tarnish the reputations of many, especially when so many bloggers work so hard to cultivate relationships and present themselves professionally and respectfully. I just hope that all of this discussion will encourage bloggers to think twice about how their actions might reflect on everyone, and how every moment of perhaps well-intentioned book lust could wind up being detrimental to all of us.

  44. I really want to go to BEA but I’m embarrassed by the behavior of some of my fellow bloggers and hate that their poor behavior reflects on me and those who work hard at their craft. I just read a post by a blogger who went to ALA and posted pictures of her “stash” — three five-foot stacks of books including many multiples. Really? Are you kidding me? Then there was the post with the blogger who laughingly talked about diving for the last ARC. Wow. I just…I’m at a loss. Such greed and rudeness is beyond me.

    Last year, I spent over $1000 on books–many making their way onto my classroom bookshelf. Support the authors, people. Do your best to purchase what books you can so the authors can afford to write more. Donate those ARC’s you’re no longer reading–both classrooms and libraries would be ecstatic to get them and put them directly into the hands of young readers. THINK before you grab. Think about the community you are a part of. Think about if you’re actually going to have time to read those 100 books you just snatched up. Think about what kind of impression you’re leaving with publishers, authors, teachers, librarians, and fellow bloggers. Then ACT like an adult, a reader, and a person who cares more about reading and sharing a love of reading than hoarding as many “free” books as you can grab.

    Awesome post, April. You rock.

  45. I saw a YA blogger post about actually selling books obtained from ALA to Half Price Books.

    I am offended on a personal level by this kind of behavior. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would have LOVED to have gone to ALA, and cherished every book I got. To actually go to ALA, grab (literally) hundreds of books, and turn around and sell them to HPB is deplorable.

    It really saddens me that this is considered acceptable behavior to some.

  46. I think people forget that Librarians and Bloggers both love books. We should be working together, not fighting each other. Also I agree with you when a few people act badly and it starts to become almost like a mob mentality we all look bad. I try to take no more than 1 copy of anything at cons, because others should have books too. Yet when the Librarians are bullying a teenage girl on Twitter, it’s unacceptable and to accuse her of not wanting to buy her books is ridiculous. Also to criticize this book blogger for giving away her books was ridiculous. Plus these Librarians are adults and should know better than to be bullies. I still buy books and use Net Galley. I don’t get a lot of ARC’s, but when I do, I treat them with respect. If I get done with them early and have reviewed them, I pass it on to another blogger who might like to read it. Not everyone is like me, but there are ways to make ARC’s more acceptable, like Net Galley, ARC Tours, Contest. Some bloggers go to Con’s and sell them on E-Bay. I get very upset, because for some of us this is a work of love. I make no money on my blog. I spend a lot of time on my blog. Too say that all bloggers are greedy makes me sick. I’m just saddened that a few bloggers make it harder for the rest of us. Plus we might not be allowed to ALA or BEA in the future if this behavior continues. Which makes me sad.

  47. Wow.. i just browsed goodreads.. i’m sorry but NO blogger needs nearly 200 books from ONE event. That is just greedy. And I’m not all about the followers, but to have less than 500 followers and to grab THAT many books when you in NO way have the audience to promote those books (especially again THAT many) is just.. mind boggling. That’s not even factoring in bad behavior like grabbing, diving, pushing..

    I totally agree with every point you made here. I’ve been hearing about the drama on twitter the past few days, and although I knew some people were mad that other people had taken books.. I thought it was jealousy issues. Now I know it’s a lot more than that. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made the ALA conferences a lot more select in who they allow to come.. like only bloggers by invite, or upped the fees at the very least. I’ve never been to an event myself, but I would feel embarrassed to walk out with that many books. Especially knowing that there were other people – who the conference was FOR – who didn’t get what THEY deserved. If we expect respect as bloggers, we need to act like people who have respect for others and be professional. Some people just boggle my mind.. and it makes me angry that pubs will make up their mind about bloggers from the ones who have bad behavior.

    I hope a lot of bloggers do what you’re doing – donating your ARCs or starting teen projects at their local libraries. Even though you weren’t part of this drama first hand, it really effects all of us now whether we like it or not.. sad but true.

    Thanks for this post.. it really captured how I was feeling but didn’t feel like I had the “right” to say it because I wasn’t directly involved.. and frankly didn’t want to get involved in the twitter drama I saw. This post is tasteful and classy – and hopefully the people who see it WILL see it and get the message…

    we can hope right? 🙂

    April @ My Shelf Confessions

  48. I have so many thoughts about all of this, I don’t even know what to say.
    I am new. I haven’t been to any events. I was going to BEA, but now I don’t know. I resent being lumped into a cesspool of bloggers who push and pull books away from other people. I read TONS of ARCs by other means because I don’t really get that many myself. Do I suffer for it? NOPE.

    I am just MORTIFIED by the behavior of my community. Something has happened to the industry as a whole – readers and professionals – in January and I don’t know what it is. But I am shocked and embarrassed. And I don’t want to be associated with it…with readers of my blog, with librarians, or with publishers.

    Speaking of librarians…my library system is baller. They actually use my blog to order upcoming titles for their YA sections since I do early reviews. That is exactly WHY I do early reviews. I wish I had ARCs to donate to them, but I do not. So…the way I can help them is by reading FOR THEM and helping them make decisions on what to buy. Thankfully, my library system, which is awesome, and my librarians, who are ROCK STARS, treat me with respect because we work together to provide excellent books for our community teens. WHY CAN’T EVERYONE ELSE DO THIS? WHY?

  49. Very well-said April! I always feel a little ashamed of people who act like this, regardless of what they’re acting like this over. Even more ashamed when I find out the people acting like this are from a group I’ve recently found a wonderful home in (ie the book blogging community). I mean, I love freebies as much as the next person and do a little happy dance whenever I get approved for a NetGalley read – but I only request things that I ACTUALLY want to read, not just request for the sake of requesting. To me, grabbing all the ARCs you can carry and then some is just being greedy. Do you REALLY want to read all those books or are you just being grabby? I’m glad someone called those bad-behaved bloggers out and hopefully your message – along with all the commenters on here – reaches them and they won’t continue to give our community a bad name.

  50. My response to this is basically an echo of what majority have already said in the comments – your points are valid and rooted in common sense, and I wish people would remember common courtesy and respect when handling themselves at events like these.

  51. I’ve been following this drama even though I haven’t said much about it. I cannot help it. It thrills me to keep up with the conflict from behind the scenes. I’ve never been to a huge event like this, so it’s hard for me to say what it’s like in person. But I do hear about a lot. I’m just going to use ALA as an example, since it’s most recent in memory. So many bloggers I’ve seen on Twitter have been gracious and humbled by the amount of publishers and librarians they got to hang with. They were GRATEFUL for the books they received. Then you have the bloggers here and there who tweeted about the amount of books they took home (triple digits, really?) and I heard about one blogger who shoved people out of the way to grab the last three or four copies of a book that was set out. Are you really going to read four different copies of the same book? Methinks you’re just being greedy.

    The sad thing is, these huge events are not only a good opportunity to not only network and show appreciation for publishers and librarians alike, but also hang out with other bloggers. I was so jealous of everyone who got to go to BEA last year, but now? I have absolutely no desire to be in the mix. And I know it’s not ALL bloggers, but even that handful. Personalities like that are a hacking, phlegmy cough during a wedding ceremony. They get dirty looks and comments like “ugh, why didn’t they just stay home?”, people don’t want to be around that nasty shit, and they’re ruining many others’ good times.

    Probably not the best metaphor, but just my thoughts.

  52. I’m so glad you posted this because I completely agree! Like you said, book bloggers are a relatively new part of the book community so opinions are still being formed about our value. If we go to events and behave like the Veruca Salts of the book world or fight like vultures over ARCs, what kind of message does that send to the people who ALLOW us to be a part of this world? No matter how hard we work on our blogs or how much we invest (which is A LOT), we are still the new kids on the block and need to remember that being a part of the book community is a privilege, not an entitlement!

    We are no longer just individuals, we are a team and we need to remember that our behaviors do reflect on us as a collective. We need to stop acting like brats and start behaving like professionals! That’s not to say that most of us don’t, but it’s true that some bad apples can spoil the bunch!

    ♥Isalys / Book Soulmates

  53. Thank you for the glance into your world and for the tips.

  54. The descriptions of some book bloggers getting grabby at conventions made me think of people on Black Friday. I went shopping on Black Friday this year and saw some interesting stuff. Yes, there were crazy people who were screaming and pushing and shoving and cursing, but I also talked to some very friendly people in line. The point is, while it can be hard to do at times, we can’t judge entire groups by the actions of a few individuals. At the same time, I think this is becoming more and more of a problem every year, but that’s probably because the book blogosphere is exploding, and when you throw more people into the mix, there’s a higher probability that some of those people might not care about how their actions affect the rest of us.

    This was an extremely well-written post, April! 🙂

  55. Thank you for writing this post! It’s sad that a group of people can ruin it for others. It’s gotten out of hand and I agree with what others have said-it’s like Black Friday craziness. It’s gotten out of control and it hurts those who are there trying to network, connect and are behaving nicely.

  56. Thanks for this post. I think you have some really great points here. And you’re absolutely right – no one would have a problem with bloggers being at ALA if they all acted like professionals.

    Apologies if someone else has already mentioned this, but do you know about #ARCsFloatOn? It’s a project to get ARCs and books into classroom libraries where teachers can use them with their students. More info here:

    http://thereadingzone.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/arcs-float-on/

  57. Hear, hear. Frustrating when bloggers feel the need to be pushy / demanding / grabby / etc, taking extra copies and taking advantage of the fact that we’re allowed to these things.

  58. Nicely said!!!

  59. Thoughtful post. It’s always good practice to be professional in whatever arena you’re exploring.

Trackbacks

  1. […] April at Good Books and Good Wine – Legitimacy, Professionalism, and Book Blogging […]

  2. […] is also this post from a librarian (who also happens to be a blogger) and this post by a blogger who can’t help but see that the behaviour of the few is colouring the perception […]

  3. […] April’s post on book blogging professionalism. • Anna’s “There is no such thing as a free book” post. • The latest “negative review” […]

  4. […] Legitimacy, Professionalism And Book Blogging @ Good Books and Good Wine […]

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