I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.
Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?
Well, isn't this timely ;) Honestly, I've never lied, but I try to be kind. I also keep in mind that other readers may not feel (and have not felt) the same way about the book. I often say, "this wasn't for me" which is true. And I avoid saying unhelpful things like, "this was a total stinker." I point out the flaws but also the positives and it's up to other readers to decide for themselves if they can overlook those flaws. Sometimes I can't. It's does feel kind of weird to say negative things about the books I've been given. I always feel a bit nervous sending out that email with the link to my review. I'm sure the giver would like a positive review but it doesn't always turn out that way. I don't think getting it for free should have anything to do with how I review books. It's a gamble and the author has to roll those dice.
I very rarely deal directly with authors, which makes it easier for me. All my experiences with authors have been positive so far. They've been very respectful. I prefer to go through publishers though. These aren't their babies. I'm careful to read their guidelines. Do they only want positive reviews? Or do they respect the reviewer's views whether they are positive or not? There's a freedom in the latter even though I've rarely had to do it.
All that said, I've been lucky, there are few books that I didn't like. I'd like to think it's because I'm pretty choosy. I don't have the patience to read what I don't like. I also have other things going on in my life so why would I want to read bad writing? There are just too many books I want to read and not enough time.
Earlier this week, I posted on this topic somewhat. I had a discussion with readers about self-published books. Check it out if you want to weigh in on that topic as well.