While a lot of my friends who are looking for good book deals feel “wow” for I get books for free from some authors, I always wish they could see the real picture. Getting books for free isn’t good, especially when they come with strings attached.

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Every book that reaches my mailbox is sent by an author who expects me to write a “good” review of his/her book. At the same time, those authors expect me to work in a particular time frame and do full promotion of their book in return.

Now, think of the time it would take me to do all that.

Reading the book = 5-6 hours

Writing the review = 1-2 hours

Publishing and promoting it on social media = 2-4 hours

Publishing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Flipkart etc = 1 hour

Approximately, that one “free” book demands 11 hours from me that could have been spent on another freelance project I have or on posting more articles for your delight. And what do I get in return? What does any book reviewer get in return? A book that doesn’t even cost 10% of the time we would have to spend on it?

Of course, some reviewers (I am a proud member of that list now) charge for book reviews. But that is even more displeasing for us. Sakshi Nanda, who is one of the finest book reviewers of the country, described (over here) how asking for money that we spend on this work is utterly unacceptable by authors. They would send us emails on how much they want us to review their book and as soon as the money part comes in, they find it very difficult to hide their displeasure.

Let me put it in simple words – if we ask for compensation for the time spent on their book, they think we are just a set of greedy people who are taking advantage of those “innocent” souls. Really? It is like the authors earn nothing from those book royalties and everything.

Just because we belong to a profession that isn’t recognized much in this country doesn’t mean we don’t deserve getting paid for the efforts we put in. Considering the kind of reach we have, we definitely command more attention than we get. But when would people in India learn to respect others’ profession?

Every single day, my mailbox is filled with such free review request and even link exchange requests (which is a black hat technique of getting some “google love”). But money part isn’t the only issue for why I say that getting books for free isn’t good.

Think of the last not-so good book you read. Did you complete it? Did you feel like completing it? Neither do I. Some books are bad and it is a pain to read them and share a thorough review. But I do that.

I never miss a single line of a book that I know I would review over here. Good books are easy but newly published books (which I supposedly get for free) aren’t always good and I have to go through the sheer pain because of that, because of my commitment towards you.

Getting back to reading after gulping in the words of a poorly written book is tougher than you can imagine. Sometimes it makes me fear that I would lose my love for reading if I kept putting my hands on such books. That’s why it is not at all good to get books for free.

So, next time, any of you think of how amazing it is to get books for free, just know that there are always strings attached. And those are enough to make it a painful experience.

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