Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Of course! W.Boudville reviews ARCs.

Here it is from the horse's mouth:
Another gripe has to do with the low resolution screen captures. Text is hard to read. Also, when the figures are graphs, there are often 2 or more curves. There is a legend at the bottom that indicates what each curve means. But the curves are often hard to distinguish. This is in my copy of the book, which is an Advance Reading Copy. Perhaps in the final version that you read, this will be different.
But did anyone ever believe that W.Boudville reviews books he buys for reading? Of course he get ARCs from the publisher he's shilling for.


Deborah Hern said...

You know, I get what you're saying, and I agree that this guy is a fraud and highly annoying. And about as real a 'reviewer' as our dear HK.

But I have to object to assuming that someone who gets ARCs is therefore "shilling" for whichever publisher.

I get ARCs all the time. Because I'm a reviewer, and that's how it works. A publisher, or author, or publicist with a book coming out in, say, Sept, would like a posted review available as close to the pub date as possible. If they don't send ARCs, that's just not going to happen. (For everyone but HK, there's actual READING TIME involved!)

Getting an ARC doesn't mean I automatically give a glowing review. Sometimes it doesn't mean I give a review at all, because often there are more books than there are days, and I am not HK.

And.... the most stupid part of WB's comment is his complaint that the legends are not real legible in his ARC. Yeah, that's because the ARCs are uncorrected and not in "in print" format. He's lucky he got graphics at all! Usually, you get a blank page with "tk" on it. But, I guess if he was really a reviewer who read, he'd know that. So surprise there.

Malleus said...

Oh yeah, I agree with you, I didn't mean that the very fact that a reviewer works off of an ARC necessarily implies a lack of good faith on his behalf, I guess I didn't make it clear -- it is only interesting in the case of someone like W.Boudville, since it's pretty much obvious that he doesn't read what he reviews: just as another telling nuance. Btw, in a general case, I think it'd be nice if a reviewer using an ARC would mention it in his review (but that's beside the point in this particular case).

Deborah Hern said...

Thanks for that. After I posted, I thought I was probably taking it a little too personally!

Just curious - why mention that you've got an ARC? Just so people reading the review know that you didn't go spend your own money on the book you're reviewing? I guess I can see some value to that, although I still think it implies a kind of bias.

W.Boudville may have shot himself in the foot with the mention of the illegible legends. It's really kind of a slap at the publisher who sent him the ARC. It says, right on the ARC that it's not a finished product and that you shouldn't quote from it; you should wait for the final version or check with the publicist/editor.

For instance, I wouldn't mention that there was a grammar or punctuation mistake in an ARC, because it's all before editing. I wouldn't complain that there are no maps or the dedication page isn't included. Because they're often not included in an ARC. He's just showing how unprofessional he really is.

Malleus said...

Well, I think there's a difference between a reviewer who reviews for a publisher (likely from ARCs), and a regular guy who buys (or gets somehow, from a library, say, but not as a freebie from an interested party such as the publisher) books with the intent of reading them, not reviewing (even if he ends up reviewing a book now and then).

For the latter there's nothing to be said (he can have no interest in misrepresenting the book), it's the figure that pretty much everyone pictures when reading reviews; in the in case of the former, however, conflict of interest may be present: such a reviewer may be somehow "motivated" by the publisher to write overly good reviews (in some form, not necessarily in cash, though this too may be). And, imo, whenever there's a conflict of interest (and sometimes it's unavoidable), it has at least to be disclosed, so that the reader would be forewarned, as it were.

Deborah Hern said...

Once again, I manage to miss your (very good) point.

I think Amazon reviewers *should* disclose that they're reading publisher-provided copies. Not because it makes them dishonest, per se, but because Amazon's reviews are supposed to be CUSTOMER reviews.

In that light, it makes total sense to me. If you're a customer and think you're reading comments from other customers, but you're not... that could be misleading*. Some review places do identify themselves on Amazon, but HK still gets to pose as a simple customer. Which is clearly not true. Bringing us back to HK as a special case. In so many ways.

*Just to clarify, in case anyone cares, I do review from publisher-provided books. No one from the publisher has ever said a word to me about posting a not-good review. It's not a personal thing for them. There's no backlash, no retriubtion, and the books keep coming. For every book I didn't like, there will be someone (often HK, sadly) who professes to love it. The publishers cull their cover quotes and pr materials from the 'loved it' reviews, no harm done. For reviewers like me, there's just no motivation to lie about what we thought about a book, either way.

Malleus said...

That's precisely it, you've said it better than me.