Book Reviews And The Blogger’s Responsibility: A Follow Up
Mark Grimsley referenced my post on the recent distribution of three Simon and Schuster books to the Civil War blogging community. Mark didn’t offer any commentary which is disappointing because I am interested in his thoughts. The blogosphere may be the the most attractive place for publishers to publicize their new titles. Academic journals tend to take time to publish reviews and their readership is typically very small. The blogosphere is fast and attracts the widest readership; best of all, the simplest of references will suffice to bring the title to the attention of thousands. As I was perusing the latest issue of North and South magazine I noticed a large advertisement for Fred Ray’s new book on Confederate sharpshooters. There were six endorsements of the book, including one by fellow CW blogger Drew Wagenhoffer. This raised the question of whether publishers must first get permission to use a passage from a post for their advertisements. I remember Drew’s review of the book and know from reading his blog that he was in contact with the author, and Ray’s book was privately published. Why does this matter? Well, if a publisher does not need permission then I am inclined to be much more defensive in my assessment of the book. I’ve had my own published book reviews manipulated to the point where I don’t even recognize the statement as my own. Imagine what could be done with a hastily written post?
Now that I think about it, perhaps all that needs to be done is to copyright my blog. Duh.