The question of embargoes

A huge book like Towers of Midnight, the penultimate volume of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, sells itself and, as such, doesn’t need many advanced reading copies shipped to reviewers. Besides, the fans of the book hate to be spoiled before they can read the book for themselves on November 2.

For those reasons, Tor has put an embargo on reviews: those bloggers that acquired a review copy were asked not review the book before its release date. There has been a lot of buzz in the world of fantasy about this embargo. Mainly about one blogger who decided he’s above such a thing and decided to post a bunch of spoilers anyway. His spoilers can be found here, but click at your own risk. I for one wish I hadn’t read them.

These actions have raised the ethical question: are bloggers bound to these embargoes?  Many bloggers have recently written about it; two of those were Floor to Ceiling Books and Temple Library Reviews. These articles are very interesting to read.

In my opinion, blogging is about sharing my passion for books. As a passionate reader, I respect what publishers like Tor do to give me the books I love. However, what I’m interested in is how you, as a reader of blogs, feel about these embargoes? Are they in the way of the journalistic aspect of book blogging, or are bloggers honor bound to stick to them?

About Stephan van Velzen

Stephan van Velzen
A 29 year-old Communications student, Stephan loves publicity and design, particularly web design. When he’s not designing websites, he’s busy being a total geek for fantasy. In The Ranting Dragon, he has found a way to combine these passions and discover a new love for writing too. Most of all, though, Stephan is just a crazy Dutch guy who enjoys doing things that people don’t expect.

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  1. Personally, I think bloggers should stick to what is asked of them respectfully. I don’t want to have to fear Tor’s wrath >_>In all seriousness though,h as you said – this book does not need to be promoted like the Way of Kings was. This book sells itself. There are thousands and thousands of WoT fans. All waiting desperately for the conclusion of this huge series.So frankly? I think that blogger that posted all those spoilers is quite a brat. An arrogant one at that. What’s the fun of spoiling the story?

    • Stephan van Velzen

      It’s like he’s showing off the fact that he’s got the book. He could just as well have mailed those that asked him back.

      Being given a review copy, especially of a book on embargo, is actually quite a bit honor. Abusing that honor is just… sad.

  2. Julina

    On the one hand, I can understand why the blogger posted those spoilers. Being the *only* one to do so is going to garner him/her lots of traffic and promote their site as everyone angrily links to it. As they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    On a personal level, I think it was a terrible thing to do. I like to think that there is some kind of reviewer/fan code that is generally respected. I want a review to tell me why to read the book, not to spoil the enjoyment of that book before I even open it. Knowing that link has spoilers in it, I won’t click on it, but I feel bad for those who started to read that review thinking they wouldn’t be spoiled.

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