*Disclaimer: This post is my person opinion and does contain some language*
Truthfully, this is a post that has been marinating in my mind for quite some time now, but I always talked myself out of writing it (OK, actually my fellow blogger friends did), but I think there's a few things that need to be addressed in light of the BEA drama and some stuff going on over the last few days.
I made a series of posts regarding BEA last year and in one particular post, I mentioned attendees (not just bloggers) who I had seen grabbing multiple copies of books. I still - after 3 BEAs - stand by what I said. Playing the BEA police is no one's job but BookExpo America and the publishers.
Yes, you're going to have a few random asshats who take several copies in greed for themselves or to barter off or to look cool. But you also have idiots who whip into parking spots during the Christmas rush when you've had your blinker on and been sitting there waiting for that spot for 5 minutes while a mom of 5 wrangles her kids into the minivan, loads the packages and then backs out slower than molasses going uphill in a snowstorm. Life isn't fair and trying to right all the minor wrongs of the world to keep a balance will drive you crazy.
If you've never been to a conference, I can see where you might get annoyed seeing bloggers who post pictures of 100 books on day one. Trust me, I get blogger jealousy. I've been a victim of it more times than I can count. I've also been one of those bloggers who walked away with 100 books from a conference.
Yeah. I just admitted it. Because I had to decide in a short amount of time if I was interested in a book or not and might want to read it. So I took it and brought it home for consideration because I accepting a review copy in no way is equivalent to signing a contract saying I will review this book. Quite the opposite, actually. I am not being paid, my blog is not monetized, and I have a right to read, DNF, review, refuse, or ignore every single book on my book shelf.
But let's talk about this year and what happened.
This year I was so incredibly lucky to attend several huge YA Blogger parties during BEA. Want to know what was given out at most of these parties? Swag bags. With books. Some I had never heard of and would likely never read. But when someone hands you a gift, you don't snort and hand it back saying, "No, thanks."
Unless your parents did a crappy job of raising you, you know that isn't cool.
Want to know what I did with these books? I took a picture of them and said thank you. Yes. That's right. I thanked the people who so generously gave me something even if I didn't necessarily want it. I posted about it on social media, giving the book(s) some attention. And then I walked them across the hall of my hotel and handed them to a friend's sister who is a teacher for a financially poor, rural county in PA. Their school has no money for new books for the library for teens, so I (and a lot of other blogger friends) have taken to cleaning out our shelves during conferences when we are handed books we don't want so that these books get into the hands of people who will read them and appreciate them.
So I apologize for donating books to a school district that has a very minimal library budget because it's a poorer area and people don't have a lot of free money to spend on books.
And for the record, I have told publishers I do this. I've had several friends in publishing offer to send even more books to this friend, or insist I take multiple copies so they can get into the hands of teens who otherwise wouldn't see them.
I truly do understand wanting to go to a conference. I had people last year and this year asking me to grab them books because they can't afford to go. When I said no, they got huffy because it's not fair that they can't go because they can't swing it financially.
Well guess what? I work for my money. I don't have a ton of extra spending money that I can drop on a trip to NYC for a week at any given time. I plan and budget and save all year long to afford this trip. I go without things and miss other events so I can afford to go to BEA each year. I book my hotel room in July so I can get a good rate. I didn't start attending BEA until I was almost 30 and had a big-person job. I couldn't have made this trip happen when I was 19!
In case you were wondering, I will not be deleting or censoring any comments here. Feel free to call me a bitch if that's how you feel. I know who my friends are and they know who I am. This is my hobby - not my life. I love books and authors and publishers and fangirling about it all, but it does not define me as a person. I have met some incredible people through blogging who I would move Heaven and earth to help whenever I can, but while blogging may have been a common ground for us at one time, it isn't the foundation of our friendship.
I'm absolutely sick to death of the whining, bitching and overwhelming sense of entitlement people feel about books and review copies. Every time a publisher does an ARC mailing, my feed is 45% pictures of excited reviewers, 45% tweets about grumbling and jealousy and 10% images of Theo James (only 1 of those 3 categories annoys me).
You do realize that an ARC is an advance copy, right? As in the book will soon be finished and on an actual bookshelf from a place you can buy it (allow me to introduce you to Amazon) or borrow it (I'll help you find a local library). ARCs are not the only way to read and review books.
Can we all just stop acting like children now? PLEASE?
For more specifics on what happened, check out Jen's much more eloquent, concise post: http://jenuinecupcakes.blogspot.com/2014/06/like-i-said.html