Friday, October 31, 2008

too many giveaways? share your thoughts!

hey peeps! I am not sure about you, but for some reason I am wondering if all the giveaways going around is actually putting a damper on the blogger community. Are you tired of giveaways? Are you all for them? I have recently had a feeling that more people are not entering giveaways, and that there was too much all at the same time. What are your feelings on giveaways? Be honest.

It just seems they are everywhere, and I am trying to figure out my feelings on them as well.
I just got done posting a poll in my sidebar about giveaways, please let me know your feelings :)

Here are the options in the poll, please vote on my sidebar though!!
Share your current feelings about Giveaways:
*Love them! You enter them all.
*Enjoy them. You enter the ones you like.
*Don't care. You don't really pay any attention.
*Starting to get annoying. You used to like them.
*Hate them. You never enter giveaways.

I am very curious to see where everyone is at with this. Does having so many giveaways make us book bloggers seem cheap? As if we are trying to purchase our readers and loyalty by giving them stuff rather than just attracting them for our reviews and posts? I am feeling a little overload, but I currently have a giveaway going on of my own...I am going back and forth on this one and would love to hear your thoughts!!!


bermudaonion said...

Book bloggers aren't the only bloggers who do giveaways. I personally like them - it's a way to get books without any commitment to do a review.

bethany said...

bermudaonion- yes, I know :) I am still just really curious as to how we all feel about it. When I started book blogging a year ago there were so many fewer giveaways.

bethany said...

ps it is great to get books that you don't feel that nagging need to review though, you are right about that FOR SURE! :)

literatehousewife said...

Thanks for blogging about this. I'll be interested to see what others think. It does seem to me that there are a ton of book give-aways. I agree with Bermuda about it being a way to get free books without the commitment to review them. They do bring more traffic to your site, but only for that post I've found. Unless the winner is a regular reader of my site, I end up having to send them an email (and I wait a while before I do just to see). That makes me feel bad, though. It shouldn't matter to me one way or the other who wins, right? I'll continue to hold book giveaways. If for no other reason, they help keep my bookshelves under control. I'm just ambivalent about it. I think I'm going to stop the "post about my giveaway for extra entries." I definitely don't like that.

Bart's Bookshelf said...

I've run three giveaways on my blog now and the last one during the read-a-thon was my favourite to hold, so I'm thinking if I do one again it will be tied to a 'thon or a short term challenge, rather than a random thing.

Wendy said...

I selectively do give-aways on my site...but not to "buy" readers (I get plenty of traffic with my regular posts), but to say "thank you" to my readers from time to time. I used to give away books that I owned; lately I've gotten opportunities to give away brand new hard covers or signed editions through author or publisher offers. I think it is mostly appreciated by readers to be able to get a chance to read a free book. I know there has been discussion about bloggers not offering international give-aways. I've done some international giveaways, but just cannot afford shipping for that all the time (and sometimes, if the book is coming directly to the winner from the publisher, they don't allow international). I enter only a few giveaways - just for those books I really want to read.

J. Kaye Oldner said...

This is where I feel very differently than other bloggers. I don't guarantee a review. I warn publishers, authors, & promo companies that if a book doesn't catch my interest within 25 pages, I stop reading. I do offer to promo their book other ways. But if they are looking for a solid guarantee, then don't send me the book.

The subject of too many giveaways is something my husband and I have talked about. Not about giveaways on the blogoshere, but on my blog. I was giving away every book I read.

I started doing this over a year ago. The reason is I don't keep the books. Every now and then, I'll keep a nonfiction and my research books, but no fiction - ever. When the shipping topped $80 a couple months back, Steve and I had a talk.

We decided books I've purchased are now donated to our library. The reason I purchase them is our library doesn't have those titles. I only do giveaways with books sent to me for reviewing.

As far as other bloggers...

I don't think there are too many. I've chatted with people who don't have a wonderful library and the only books I could get are through other sources. In their shoes, I'd be screaming for more!

Great topic!

Trish said...

There have been a couple of things related to this that have been on my mind lately. I've held 3 giveaways on my blog and compared to other bloggers they haven't had quite as much traffic as I expected (I don't care about the traffic to my blog--actually I would rather give away the book to someone who reads my blog regularly rather than someone who came specifically for the giveaway).

Two of the giveaways were books that the author was promoting and both were SO overadvertised (Farworld and Matrimony) that by the time I gave away the books everyone already had their own copy. ;) My last giveaway I have been planning for months. I actually bought a copy of the book because mine isn't suitable for someone else since my sister wrote notes to her friend in the cover while in high school. But I was shocked at how few people had heard of the book and I really wanted to get it out there (Anne Frank Remembered).

One thing that is starting to get on my nerves (and how to say this delicately...??) is the number of author giveaways. I think the blogosphere gets so flooded with these that it starts getting old.

A year ago when I started blogging, people were writing about the books on their shelves--now a lot of the blogs I read focus solely on blogtours and author Q&A and books that I would either have to win in a giveaway or purchase a hardcover to read. I don't mean any offense AT ALL with what I'm saying. I think using bookbloggers as a marketing tool is great in many ways. And I've received my fair share of ARCs and still continue to. But I miss seeing the old books around the blogosphere. I was THRILLED to see you posted a review of Lord of the Flies the other day (yes, I'm six posts behind on your blog!! I have over 100 in my reader right now...).

And the be honest, I've noticed that when I post a review about a book that hasn't been published yet, I don't get the traffic and the comments versus when I blog about a book that's been around for a few years. Sometimes I feel that bookblogging has evolved from a forum where folks blog about books they are reading to a forum where everyone is promoting the book that is coming out next month. Conundrum. Anyway--sorry for the novel. I've been meaning to write a post about this--To ARC or Not to ARC--that is the question (that would/will be my title). I really hope I didn't overstep the lines here with my thought--I do mean them with the utmost respect. I just kind of miss the old bookblogosphere sometimes. Where not everything is about the author and their new books. I probably sound like a lunatic. ;)

literatehousewife said...

Bethany, thank you so much for hosting this topic. I've really enjoyed reading everyone else's responses. I'm definitely at the To ARC or Not to ARC point like Trish. Not only do I like reading posts about older books, I like reading books from my own shelves (God, how long has that been?). That's one of the reasons I chose to highlight The Witch's Trinity this month. It was a book that I loved that I read just for myself. That being said, I've had the opportunity to read some really wonderful books this year because of ARCs.

J. Kaye, I really appreciate what you said about not promising anything when a book is sent your way. I may start to take that stance myself. I also like what you said about giveaways being for people who don't have good libraries or other means of getting books. I'll definitely continue to do giveaways.

Sandra said...

I HAVE TO give away my ARCs, I have 2000 books in the house and no place to put any more. I've only had giveaways since I started accepting ARCs outside of LibraryThing in August.
I see it as recycling and encouraging others to read, the same as Bookmooch (where I've given away 300 books),Readers United, or Book Crossing which I belong to. No one is benefitting by the books sitting on my shelves for decades. If it encourages people to read more, have more book giveaways. I only enter for those I really want and my interests are limited.
As to what trish said before me:
I read her review of Anne Frank's Diary and resisted entering for her copy because I have one, albeit 40 years old. I could use a new one but left it for someone else. I agree with her about one thing. I am tired of seeing reviews (and giveaways) of only the latest releases. But perhaps that's a different subject. Thank you for bringing this up and letting us spout about it.

raidergirl3 said...

Great question. There are some books that seem to be given away everywhere, for sure. I still like to enter a giveaway, if it's a book I'd like to read.
I sometimes don't like to enter a giveaway if it's at a site where I've already won a book. For example, you've sent me a book already so I wouldn't feel right trying to win another one here.

I don't usually do all the other stuff, ex. blog about it, to get another entry - I'm lazy like that sometimes. I've never understood the 'increase the traffic' idea.

Corinne said...

Well, friend, you've touched on a subject a lot of us are thinking about :) I've really appreciated reading everyone's comments. I like the idea, but I am selective about one's I enter. And I agree that it seems like there is a flood of new and "being promoted" books. I like reading reviews of old books too :)

Ramya said...

Book giveaways are ok and fun i is a way to get rid of books sitting on your bookshelf but at the same time, sharing good books. What i am getting really tired of is author promotions. I can see how the blogosphere has been transformed into one big billboard. We see reviews for the same books in every blog we go to and of course, there's a giveaway from the "generous" publisher and the cycle continues!
and honestly, i don't think that all new authors are good...some are ok though... but by agreeing to read/review their book, you have effectively wasted precious time that could be spent in reading good books!i have a few "promotional" books sitting on my bookshelf that i just don't feel like reading!
i have decided that i am going to cut down on my ARC requests from now on.. I prefer to spend my time reading quality books.
I have agreed to do a couple of author interviews but once i am done with that, my stint with promoting authors is done!

R-Lo said...

I buy lots of books (older and/or foreign titles mostly) and have access to a tremendous university library as well, so I don't pay much attention to book giveways. I don't have a problem with the idea of giveaways themselves (free = good, after all!), but it is sort of boring at times to see the same new releases being hyped on a number of blogs simultaneously.

Christine said...

I hold occasional giveaways and will sometimes enter them as well. I like the idea of getting free books -- not that I have room for them anymore! -- and I like giving them away as well.

I think that there are two things that annoy me about giveaways: when you have to jump through hoops to enter ("want to enter? tell me five reasons you want this book") and when it seems like the only posts in my reader are "so-and-so is giving something away on her blog!". Now, I have been guily to asking people to publicize the giveaway for extra entries -- but I recently decided to stop doing that.

Maybe we should just encourage everyone to join BookMooch instead :)

Wendy said...

I already commented - but I've been reading all the responses and wanted to comment again *smiles*

I accept a lot of ARCs, but I also read books from my shelves...including classics and older books. Mainly I do that because I don't want to just read new releases...there are tons of great books out there which is one reason I joined a few perpetual reading challenges to read the prize winners/nominees.

When I do giveaways I don't ask for people to post it on their blogs for extra entries (except for my giveaway which was linked to a charity and I wanted people to be aware of the charity fundraising) because, as someone else said, I really like when a regular reader of my blog wins :)

I also make no promises to authors or publishers - my reviews are honest (not mean, but fair) and if I don't like a book I say it...even if I'm giving it away.

Last thing: I think I enjoy the most those blogs that have variety of posts - some old book reviews, some brand new, etc...But, ultimately, a blog is someone's property and they can do with it as they wish.

Wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marg said...

The number of book giveaways has exploded over the last 12 - 18 months. There was a time when it was a rarity to see a book giveaway. Now we have entire boxes of books being given away on a regular basis! Over recent months there were a couple of books that seemed to be being given away EVERYWHERE!

I will enter a book giveaway if I am really interested in a book, but not just for the sake of winning a book. Whilst there is a thrill in receiving a book in the post, it is a bigger thrill when it is something I REALLY want!

The biggest trend I have noticed recently is so many contests with restrictions in terms of who can and can not win. I get that not everyone can afford to post overseas, and that publishers place restrictions on who can win, but as a non-US based blogger it does get a bit old after a while.

beastmomma said...

I agree very strongly with Trish and Ramya about author promotions. It is a clever marketing tool, but I also feel annoyed when I see the same book all over the internet. That being said, I am still going to participate in a book tour and have accepted a few ARCS. I also only enter contests in which I am very interested in the books. My favorite contests are those in which the blogger wants to get rid of her/his copies of a book or wants to share what he/she has read/loved. However, I enter contests to win whatever is of interest to me, regardless of the source.

Veens said...

I am not sure. I voted for - "I like them - and I enter for the ones i like"

Sometimes - getting latest books here is very difficult, and when the author is ready to ship i to tme here... i really like that..

but yah..they r very few give-aways like tht...

BUT-- people go there for ONLY giveaways right? if they dnt like the blog- they will never go back save for another giveaway... so i dnt think it is going to increase the "Readers"..

Take for example your blog- u dnt hold any giveaways- but people [ like me] like yur reviews and so keep coming back :)
there are a few blogs - who holed giveaways and are good too :-) !!

Trish said...

Wow! so many great comments!! I'm glad that some others share the same sentiment as I do.

And to Sandra, if she's subscribed--my giveaway was for Anne Frank Remembered, not Anne Frank's Diary. The former is written by Miep Gies who was helping to hide the Franks in Amsterdam. A great perspective on a story we've all heard. It is a wonderful book that I gave away because so many people hadn't even heard of it.

But that also bugged me about my giveaway--people didn't READ what the giveaway was. I was continually telling people that the giveaway was NOT for the diary.

I think that some people don't even read the review of the books being posted...just scroll down for the giveaway part. And that, I don't like either. I won't enter a giveaway if I'm not interested in the book--I used to, but a free book in the mail has lost some of its fun.

Callista said...

Great topic and one I've been thinking about too, along with the related ARC topic. I have only held a few giveaways because I just don't have the money to fund shipping. Most of the giveaways I have held are when books are sent from the publisher.

I like giveaways and enter the ones I'm interested in but I do agree there is getting to be a bit too many. When you look at a site's posts and ther are more giveaways than regular posts, you wonder if the blog is worth reading. There are a few blogs out there that give away so much that they don't have time to post about books very much.

As for Author promotions, I've participated in a few and I'm signed up for one but I prefer to read and review books I found at my library. I read two, possibly three reviews of the same book and after that I ignore the rest. For example matrimony or The 19th Wife. I don't want to read a review of that book in every blog I read.

As for being required to review ARCs, I haven't written up a policy yet but none of the offers I get say that I HAVE to review them. It's not like you signed a contract. I don't feel obligated to review, just obligated to try. If I don't like it enough to finish it, it doesn't get read or reviewed.

raych said...

I agree with the general author promotion sentiment in this thread. I agree that it's a brilliant strategy, author-wise, to have a blog tour and to give away copies of your book. I think this would be MORE effective in some sort of alternate universe, where we each had our own cache of readers and weren't mostly each other's readers. By which I mean, if half of us have gotten a book from an author to read and review, then only the other half of us are going to be available to enter the giveaway (and that number slowly dwindles and the giveaways make the rounds, or as people get sick of the IDEA of reading that book).

I think authors want to get AS MUCH word out there as possible about their book, which makes sense in an enormous place like 'the world.' The book-blogosphere, even though we think we're all big, is really quite small. Scroll down this list of commenters and see how many you don't know...that's right. And even if you don't read their blogs, you know their names.

We're a tiny, tight-knit community and there are definitely enough books around for us to all be bringing something new to the table (do it, check your tbr). I'm not blaming authors, and I think promotional methods like Lisa Roe's site or TLC book tours are great ideas. I just think we're being innundated, and maybe we should all take a half-step back.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I enjoyed reading the comments on this one and agree with many of the sentiments.

I tend to giveaway review copies that came my way and I don't need/want to keep them. Or, every once in a while I'll run across a really great book that I loved and want other people to read - it's only happened twice and I went and bought another copy to give away.

But here's where I'm leaning these days: I know my regular commentators and have gotten to know their reading preferences. Now if I have a book I'm ready to pass on, I tend to email someone I know would probably like the book and offer to mail it to them directly. I'd rather it go to them then some random person who just showed up to enter a contest and I'll never hear from again.

Now recently I went ahead and participated in a big-name publisher book promotion that included 5 copies of the book to giveaway. This is the first time I've done this and to be honest it's the last time. The same book is everywhere and that bugs me. Why would even regular readers stop to read something about a book they've seen on twenty other sites?

As much as I'd like to read the book in question for that promotion, I likely could have easily gotten the book via one of the bazillion giveaways currently going on for that book. (I don't often enter, but when I do I've had very good luck).

Anyway, the upshot is that I'd rather be a little unique and review books that everyone else hasn't read and offer everyone something new.

Good thoughts from everyone....keep posting!

Suey said...

Interesting question! I have been pondering this myself these days. I think that suddenly, there are too many. But I'm not going to let it bother me. I'll enter only the ones I truly am interested in, and I'm not going to stress about advertising them on my own blog, and I'm also not going to stress about doing my own giveaways. And if I DO do a giveaway, it will be far and few between and only for a special occasion.

But, it is making me tired seeing so many. That's a lot of work for you all! :)

bethany said...

goodness, you all WERE thinking about this too!!!!! I will need to sit down and catch up on comments, or maybe I will just write a post about it! I have a book club meeting here shortly, but I am going to write a conglomerate post tonight highlighting all your thoughts.

You all really did have some great things to share on this, THANK YOU SO MUCH!! :)

Sandra said...

Trish-You recently had a giveaway for Ann Frank's Diary too. I read both posts and simply mixed them up in my mind when I was typing my comment.

Trish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josette said...

Actually, I love book giveaways. I love it even more when I'm a winner! Haha! It makes blogging more adding variety to it.

Wendi B. - Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reading in Seattle said...

I love book blog giveaways - I am selective in which ones I enter - I only enter if I actually want to read the book. I think it is a great way to get books (of course I LOVE a free book), to learn of new books and authors, and a great way to support other bloggers, authors, publishers, etc.

:) Wendi

Serena said...

there are a ton of giveaways and I like being able to enter and win books that I don't necessarily have to review right away. I also think you have to be moderate in your decisions...if you read all of these have to make a conscious decision to enter only those contests where you really want the books...which is tough for someone like me who is eclectic.

I think that many blogs are giving away books just because they want to, not necessarily to get readers. If one person enters my contests who really wants the book, fabulous. I really could care less so long as the book goes to someone who wants to read it. It would be nice that they would read my reviews without giveaways, but in many cases that doesn't happen.

Lisa said...

I've been doing a few giveaways lately, but none of them have been the author tour type. I did/am participating in the bloggy giveaways which is a little annoying as it is everywhere. The other giveaways have been little sewing projects, or books that made the rounds years ago. I got really tired of seeing the same book absolutely everywhere for a while there (actually, there are 4 titles that I'm so sick of seeing I never want to read) and it made me think about what I'd accept from publishers. I didn't enter any of the giveaways for those four. I didn't read the reviews after the first couple, even if it was a blogger I really enjoyed.

When I first started seeing giveaways I entered them all, and then I WON a few and discovered I don't have time to READ all these books. Now I only enter the ones I am most interested in. I have accepted a few books from publishers, and a couple from Library Thing's ER program, but again, I just don't have time and then I feel guilty.

I still like giveaways though, in particular the 100th post giveaways or blogiversary (what? it's a word!) giveaways.