Indulge a bit of long-form here, if you will.
As many might know, I also review books over at Raging Biblioholism. Recently, I reviewed a book (that I quite enjoyed) that won’t be coming out until September - and the publisher gave me a little rap on the knuckles, saying that they’d envisioned my review would come out MUCH later (read: closer to/after the publication date). And so I found myself considering how I would handle reviewing books I picked up at the BEA - because, as (again) some might know, I came away with a fuck-load (actual metric weight) of books - many of them not coming out for months.
Now, in a situation like that, there are certain books I desperately want to read. The new Lemony Snicket, the new Chuck Palahniuk, the new Jonathan Lethem… and I’m currently hoarding/loving/obsessing over Marisha Pessl’s Night Film. The earliest of those, Night Film, doesn’t come out til late August. The others are Sept/Oct releases. But the way I review is to write about what I read as soon as I’ve read it - obviously trying to be as vague and spoiler-free as possible and instead trying to drum up buzz as much as lil’ ol me can do.
So finding my review of said new Snicket book receiving some… barely-tempered irritation, I’d call it, over at a major Snicket message board has got me thinking. Here’s the link to that conversation: http://asoue.proboards.com/thread/32420/when-last-review-mild-spoilers
There’s some real… anger, almost, directed at the ARC/galley culture as well as at my review in particular. I tried my best to keep any major spoilers under wraps and kept the rest as vague as I could while still addressing, as critically as I could, the book itself. But should I have kept the review under wraps until closer to pub date? Does it ruin the experience of a book for a reader to see a review - positive or negative - so early in the pub cycle? And more importantly, once I’ve received an ARC - through whatever means, whether a publisher sending out an ARC or a giveaway or something like BEA - do I have an obligation to anyone or anything other than MY readers?
I don’t know if I have the answer to these questions - nor do I think the answers are necessarily extant at this point in the still nascent blog-review culture. But if you (dear friends & readers) have any thoughts on this, I’d be really interested in hearing them. So, fire away?