Last week, I finally made a change to my blog that I've been toying with for quite a while; I updated my 'contact me' page to state that I am no longer accepting review copies. I won't be emailing publishers, logging onto Netgalley, replying to review requests, using Bookbridgr or readign unsolicited ARCs any more. This applies to self-published books, books from minor publishers and books from major publishers.
It's taken me a while to come to this decision as like most book bloggers, I've always found it flattering and exciting to receive review copies. I remember how accomplished I felt when I received my first email requests, and when I was first approved on Netgalley for a title by a major publisher. Receiving a copy of Americanah before it came out was a real high point in my blogging 'career'. All these things felt like validation of the hard work I'd been putting into my blog, recognition that I was doing an OK job.
However, the longer I've been accepting review copies, the more I've come to see the negatives too. I can get a bit 'trigger happy' on Netgalley and Bookbridgr and end up with more review copies than I can possibly read. I don't like the pressure of having to read a certain book by a certain time, even if I'm not enjoying it, or having to write full reviews all the time. Sometimes I'll get excited about a book when I receive it, but then not feel like reading it when it's actually close to it's release date. Even though I try my hardest not to let the fact that I have received a review copy effect my opinion, it's always there in the back of my mind when I'm writing down my thoughts. Replying to emails and building up contacts with publishers is time consuming, and it's rare that I'll receive an unsolicited request for a book that fits with me or with my blog.
All these reasons have contributed to my decision, but the main one is that I'm no longer happy with how review copies have changed my reading habits. I miss being a mood reader, browsing my shelves and picking the next title to try at whim. I miss flitting between different books, rereading my favourites and spending months immersed in an epic series. I'm sick of neglecting the books that I have accumulated and I want to dive into the back-lists of authors I love.
I'm sure I will miss out on some great review copies over the coming months and years, but I don't mind waiting and purchasing a book if it's something that I am excited for. In the meantime, I have plenty of books on my shelves to keep me occupied.
Do you accept review copies? If so, have they changed your reading habits?