What Do You Do With Unsolicited Review Books?

March 19, 2016 Discussions 20

I never honestly thought my blog would get big enough to have to worry about unsolicited review books. I mean, I get e-mails from people asking me to review their books, but I got those the first week I started blogging too. So I figured that was just authors trying to get the word out about their book any way they could.

I’ve also gotten a book here and there from a Penguin imprint, that I never requested. But again, I figured that was because I’m on a list somewhere because I’m on the mailing list for Berkley Prime Crime and Obsidian.

But this year, I’ve started getting more books in the mail that I honestly am not sure how I got on the list for. And on the one hand, it’s awesome because more publishing contacts! But on the other hand, some of them have been books that I know are not in my genres. And while I’d love to review them in order to keep whatever new contact sent it to me, is it really a good idea to read a book that you know is going to end up a 2 Star (maaaybe a 3?) just to try to get a new publishing contact?

I think not. So usually I offer up the book to other blog friends. And if they take the book off my hands, yay win! Because it gets reviewedย  and that makes the publisher happy. And it doesn’t sit in my house and take up space, which makes me happy! *laughs*

But then there are books that no one I know wants. Either because they received a copy as well, or it’s not something they want to read either. In the case of finished copies, I hold onto those until after the publish date. And then I give them to my local library. When it’s an ARC, it ends up on a corner of my ‘get rid of’ shelf. Where it sits until either I have enough to feel like setting up a give away, or when no one wants it even in the give away (yes, that’s happened sadly…) then it just collects dust.


So those are my current ways. How do you deal with unsolicited review books? Do you read them no matter what? Do you send them off to friends? To your library? Use them for give aways? How often do you get them (if at all)?

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20 Responses to “What Do You Do With Unsolicited Review Books?”

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury

    Agh, I don’t even know HOW to deal with them. *weeps* I get a ton…and most of them are books I wouldn’t ever voluntarily pick. But the publicists are all so NICE and I feel monstrously guilty if I don’t read them…so yus. I do read them and just cringe my way through 2 an 3 star reviews and STILL FEEL GUILTY. XD There is no winning. ๐Ÿ˜›
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Why Aren’t You Getting Comments on your Book Blog?My Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      *laughs* I don’t get that many really, only like 1-3 a month. I don’t count the cozy mysteries, because I asked to be put on that mailing list. So even though I didn’t specify exact books/authors, I did ask. *grins*

      The others I pretty much only read if they sound appealing. I still feel bad if I have to DNF them, but I tend to feel guilty for turning down publishers regardless!

  2. Jen @ Books That Hook

    I get a few now and then–maybe a couple each month. I put them on my TBR and store them. If and when I can get to them, I do, but I don’t feel obligated to review them in a certain time frame. I haven’t gotten rid of any I’ve received, even the ones I have read. I guess I will eventually.For now, I have space, so I’m not worried about it.
    Jen @ Books That Hook recently posted…Interview: Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross – authors of MotherMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I have space for lots more books, Dad just bought me 2 more bookcases. Which now brings my total up to 12. But that’s an awful lot of books! So I’m trying to only keep the ones I like and donate the rest to friends or the library. Except ARCs of course.

      I’ve been reading too many books lately that I thought would be good, and ended up 2 Stars or DNF books. So I’m trying to be pickier. If the book I’m sent is completely outside my genres and doesn’t sound appealing at all, I won’t bother trying to read it.

    • SilvaraWilde

      E-mails I try to respond back to if it was obvious the author/publisher wasn’t doing a random mass mailing. But lately I’ve been getting actual books in the mail that I never asked for. And one of them was so far outside the genres I read it just made me blink and wonder how I got on that mailing list!

      Sometimes it’s great, a few unsolicited books that arrived at my door I really enjoyed. Hadn’t heard of the author or series before, and so now I want to go out and read more. But sometimes I have to wonder if the book was sent to me on accident, and was supposed to have gone to some other blogger!

    • SilvaraWilde

      With 2nd in a series books, sometimes you can read them without having read the prior books. I know cozy mysteries work that way. I’m sent a few first in a series of those, but usually it’s more like book number 7, 10, 18, etc. I wouldn’t try with other kinds of books for fear of being lost, but I love that cozies can be picked up anywhere in the series.

      For other books, if my library has book #1, and the 2nd book that I was sent sounds possibly interesting, I’ll borrow the first book. I totally get being a little squirmy about to read or not to read. In my case, if it’s outside my genres, I’ve decided not to read them unless something really appeals about the book. Otherwise, if I read and review it, the publisher may send me more books outside my genre. And then I get to feel squirmy more than the once.

  3. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    Ah, the million dollar question! Like you, I NEVER thought I would have to worry about this. Ever. But alas… So. If it was either on my TBR, or sounds like I might like it, I keep it, and try to read it (though I know I won’t get to it in time for the release, a backlist review would be good too for the publisher!). Otherwise, I have a few options:

    First, I ask friends. Even random acquaintances, whatever. If it’s an adult book and no one I know wants it at all, I will give it to my mom. I figure, she at least has a Goodreads and Amazon account, so she’ll leave her thoughts! Then, I try to give it away. There has only been ONE book that I have not been able to even GIVE away (and in truth, it was pretty bad- I read it from long ago- so I get it) so I will probably stick it in the Little Free Library outside my kids’ preschool haha.

    I also don’t get a *ton* of them, so it’s probably easier to deal with than if I got them ALLLLL the time- some bloggers get like, a dozen a week, I can’t even imagine!

    In another post I read somewhere about ARCs, someone suggested this site, which sounds like a viable ARC option: http://www.reachareader.org/arcsfloaton.php?go so that may be worth looking into- I have it bookmarked for the future, as there is a school very close to me that participates!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Step Up Your SlumpMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      A dozen a week?! I would go crazy! *laughs* I get around 1-3 a month. Not including my cozy mysteries. Which don’t technically count since I asked to be on that mailing list. So even though I didn’t request specific books/authors, I requested to be on the list.

      I’ve never heard of that link before, thanks! I’ll have to check it out.

      The only book I haven’t been able to give away, (and I’ve tried with 2 different giveaways as well as offering it to every person I know!) was Becoming Jinn. Which is kind of sad since it’s an ARC copy, so it’s basically collecting dust on my shelves since I don’t want to library it and have it potentially sold.

  4. Stefani Tabakovsk

    The ones I get are few and far between. So I’ll tell how I feel about Goodreads giveaways instead. I used to enter every single one because yay free books. I won so many, the books piled up, I never liked any of the ones I did read because I went into it for the wrong reason :/ I feel bad because the authors want to spread the word about their book, and shipped it all the way to Macedonia for me and I give it 2 stars or worse…leave it unread for 2 years……Yep. that sums it up nicely i think. I’ve stopped enetering every giveaway I see now and I feel better ๐Ÿ™‚

    • SilvaraWilde

      I was afraid of doing the same thing when I first started my blog. So I’d only let myself enter if I really wanted to read the book. I still ended up entering a ton of them! Luckily, I’ve only ever won twice in the year and a half I’ve been blogging. One book I ended up adoring and buying the rest in the series, the other one wasn’t so good. *laughs*

  5. Lola

    As I live in the Netherlands unsolicited review copies is not something I’ll have to deal with. I wish Berkley would send me some cozy mysteries I would love that, but they don’t even accept me on netgalley :(. I usually only get e-copies and I am fine with that, but it is exciting when I manage to win a paperback copy when an author does an international giveaway for example. That happened last week. Although I do feel bad for how much shipping costs they pay just to get that one book send to me. So yeah I understand why publishers don’t ship copies overseas.

    I think giving them away to other bloggers or reviewers is a good way to handle those review copies you don’t want to. Or do a give away on your blog for them? I’ve heard some bloggers mention they do that sometimes.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #170My Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I used to want to move somewhere overseas. But not being able to get books easily? The horrors! *laughs* I’m sorry you can’t get on a mailing list for physical books though! *snugs* If it didn’t cost so much to ship them to you, I’d totally send you the 54 on my ‘get rid of’ shelf that are waiting to be boxed up to take to the library!

      I’ve done giveaways before. But there’s always those people who put in random answers just to get an entry. Then I have to go through and disqualify all of those, and it literally would have taken them 5-10 seconds to find the right answer and have a legitimate entry. Plus, I’m lazy and setting up the giveaway then boxing up all the books and shipping them out tends to take longer than it should! *laughs*

  6. Amy @ Pages of Starlight

    Okay, I don’t actually get review books – because I don’t have my email posted and I’ve never requested one from anywhere – so take this with a grain of sand, if you will. But I have a different way of looking at this.

    Personally, I find one and two star reviews the most helpful. For me, five star reviews especially are unhelpful because they are usually just gushing about how awesome the book is. (Which is totally understandable. I’ve been there.) But one and two star reviews seem to be the ones that really break down what the reviewer liked and didn’t like. For example, I once read a book BECAUSE of a one star review on Goodreads. And wound up liking the book enough to give it three stars AND read the next two in the series.

    So I gotta say, I don’t find anything at all wrong with ‘critical’ reviews. However, I’m certainly not telling you to read a book you know you won’t enjoy because I’m personally trying to stop doing that myself. I just wanted to give my two cents on this and how ‘bad’ reviews aren’t necessarily bad for the book.
    Amy @ Pages of Starlight recently posted…My Writing: I Fail and ClockpunkMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      Oh I totally find DNF and low star reviews helpful. I just think it’s kind of a waste on my part, to read a book I know I’m not going to like. It’s more of a, why should I put myself through hating a book, just to read it and leave bad feedback? If I started it thinking I’d like it, or at least not hate it, that’s one thing. I can then put down what didn’t work for me. But going into it knowing I won’t like the book? That just makes it hard for me to find anything to like at all. And then the review would look like I was purposely hating on the book just because or something.

  7. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    What do I do with unsolicited review copies? I jump up and down excitedly… and then I wake up because the only place I’d get them is in my dreams, haha. The only publishing contacts I have are for ebooks. But honestly, as exciting as it would be to just receive books like that, I’d kind of rather not if they were going to be books not even in my genre. I’m not going to read a book if I’m 95% sure I’m not going to enjoy it, no matter how free it is, though I do understand wanting to stay on the good side of the publisher. Your way of handling the review copies seems good so that at least most of them get a nice home and still get reviewed.
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Discussion: The Good Thing About Bad BooksMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      I never got physical copies before the end of last summer. That’s when I went and contacted my favorite publishers/imprints and started requesting to be put on their mailing lists, or asked for a specific book. Some I didn’t hear back from at all, some put me on their mailing lists (I’m on 3 lists currently, 1 that ships a bunch of books to me every month, and 2 that I have to request books from that month’s list) and others said they were all out of review copies for x-book.

      But I’ve noticed that the more you review for a certain publisher/imprint on NetGalley, the more likely you are to get on a physical list when you ask. Or at least, that’s how it worked for me. Penguin seems to publish a lot of my favorite authors. So after reviewing them on NetGalley, when I poked them, I got on 2 different genre lists with their imprints.

      As far as the ones I’ve gotten that are outside my genre? I have no idea how I got on that list. *laughs*

  8. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I don’t have this problem because I still can’t seem to get on any publisher’s physical review lists (I used your email format, but still never really heard back from anyone – I got like one random book from Penguin and then that was it – not sure how that worked, but oh well). I’ve mostly given up on this and just decided not to worry about it – I get plenty of books from NetGalley and Edelweiss and then I don’t have to worry about issues like this. LOL!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry – Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    • SilvaraWilde

      That’s crazy! Your blog is older than mine, and has way more followers. The e-mail gremlins must have stolen your e-mails before the publishers saw them. *nods* That’s the only thing that makes sense.

      I just got 16 new cozies in the mail today, and UPS says something is arriving for me on tuesday as well. Can’t be a cozy, as I only get one set of those a month. So now I’m kind of curious as to what will be arriving on my doorstep. (And if it’s going to be something that needs a new home right away, or one after I’ve read it! *lol*)

      At least I know my local library is happy!

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