Friday, August 14, 2015

A Question of Book Reviewing Ethics: What Say You?

POD People requests that authors interested in having a book reviewed send a query email, not a copy of the book. This is not something we do just to make authors' lives more difficult.  This site has more than one reviewer so if the the query piques a reviewer's interest the book needs to be sent directly to the interested reviewer.  Sending an e-book to our main address just maximizes the chance of it being lost, spam-blocked, or otherwise going astray. Of course people do it anyway. No biggie.

In recent weeks, however, several authors have gone one step further and sent us a Kindle gift certificate for the book they want reviewed.  These queries are not forwarded to our reviewers.  I had hoped that if they were not accepted the author might get their money back (because even when sent by the author, these gift certificates are not free).

Images_of_Money / Foter / CC BY
 However, Amazon Customer Service have informed me:

" gift cards don't have expiration dates. You can use your gift card whenever it's most convenient for you. Though the seller will not be credited back, once gift card is applied in your account, it will be saved as an available gift card balance in your Amazon account."

So if the author is simply throwing the money away, is there any reason I should not just take the transferable gift certificate and run?  I would not do it just because it feels wrong, but whether I don't claim the gift certificate, or claim it and spend it on a box of pumpkin spice-flavored peeps instead, the author is out the same amount of money. So should it really matter to them?

In any case, then I came across this thread.  Based on what these Kindle users describe my advice to any author that sent a kindle gift certificate to the podpeep email account is to contact Amazon and ask for a refund.  That is the only way you will recoup your pointless expenditure.

TL;DR version: do not send us Kindle gift cards of books you want reviewed. 

1 comment:

DED said...

That hasn't happened to us, but maybe we'll amend our submission guidelines to make sure unsolicited Amazon gift cards/books don't happen.

When people ignore our submission guidelines and send us a book unsolicited, they just send the ebook in a random format (usually mobi). We used to receive unsolicited Smashwords coupon codes for books, but authors haven't been doing that for some time now.