Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Tell Me: Should I Review For Osprey?

A few weeks ago, Osprey advertised they are seeking bloggers and reviewers that wish to receive Osprey books to review.



I guess I would be qualified (by their not too demanding standards) because I already read lots of Ospreys and have published over a dozen reviews on this blog and commented on a bunch more on Goodreads.  What makes it an extremely tempting offer is that the coming months will see quite a few interesting volumes, from Malplaquet to Quatre Bras and Waterloo (not a very great distance in Euclidian space).

There might be a point of being forced to read books that I wouldn't read otherwise, but I think I could get over that.




The biggest issue is of course whether I can maintain my independent opinion in the face of receiving free books. I would be open about which books I have received for free, of course. But warning your audience is not always enough.

I have been quite critical of some Osprey publications, especially its anglocentrism and I think I would continue to be, but it might dull my edge. In fact, my critical approach might also be a reason for Osprey not to send me any books, but that would be a telling decision on what it seeks to achieve. For that reason, it would be interesting just to try.

But I'd like to know what you think. How do you approach reviews where you know the author has received a free copy? Would it also affect what you think of reviews that were written about books I paid for? And do you think I should let myself in with this at all?

26 comments:

  1. don't. Osprey is getting sillier and sillier, and often shamelessly repeating itself in various ways. If you want to sell your soul, do it the proper way, and become an Amazon associate.

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    1. While I agree that some new releases are more versions of older books (eg Quatre Bras and Waterloo now split in two), in many cases this means they are more detailed an better researched. I have no love for the zombie hunter guides or the wargame rules. What else do you see as silly and repetitive?

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    2. The Duel books seem silly, or to put it slightly more politely, catering tor another audience than me. Choices in making a book Warrior, MAA or Elite are not very obvious. Elite camouflaging? Come on.

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    3. Their choice to put all tactical stuff in the Elite series, well, that is just somewhere to put it. I'm not convinced by the Duel and Combat series

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  2. Hell yes you should do it! If you think you would enjoy it and would be able to contribute worthwhile comments of their books, then to hell with whether you are getting the books for free or not, That's my 2 cents.

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  3. Sure, you have nothing to lose other then no more free books if they don't like your opinion and that's only an if. You like discussing books so it seems like a nice opportunity to do so without you having to spend money.

    Christopher

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    1. Well, I could lose my credibility writing soft ball reviews.

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    2. I gave my opinion with the assumption you would not being doing that hence the " if they don't like your opinion" part of my remark.;-)

      Say exactly what your opinion is and enjoy the books as long as they keep coming.

      Christopher

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  4. I think you should do it. I think your opinion is worth hearing and if you're going to be upfront about getting review copies, that's fair enough. I don't believe you'd be shy of saying a book is rubbish if it it!

    Frankly, 'real' reviews (ie, in journals, newspapers, etc) all involve review copies. It doesn't change my opinion of the review (unless it's obviously a tit-for-tat effort). It's only what's expected.

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    1. Thanks Edwin, thanks for the encouragement!

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  5. It can be difficult to give a less than positive response to products by those you respect or like, and I always strive to be positive. How ever I would have no qualms being negative about a book I was given to review for free as I would make the supplier aware it would be an unswayed view.

    Ian

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    1. You mean I should do a hatchet job once every so often just to prove that I'm legit? ;-)

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  6. I'm considering this myself. I think you should give it a go.

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    1. Cheers! And good luck to you too!

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  7. Do it. Free is free after all and if they don´t like the Reviews and stop sending them ...so what :-D

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    1. cheers. I think you guys have got me across the line ;-)

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  8. I think receiving a free copy allows for a more even review. I could imagine reviewing a bought copy could either see you
    a) trying to justify your reasons for buying it or
    b) become overly critical if you think you've been sold a pup.

    Always nice to read a proper independent review and not one where the reviewers are friends of the supplier.

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    1. cheers! I'll try to live up to that

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  9. Jur, of course you should do it.....I just hope that you meant Ramillies and not Malplaquet...seriously though if it means that the title gets an honest and constructive review then why not. Just a quick one for Jan, there are Osprey series that I don't read but I wouldn't condemn them because of that, that's a similar attitude to those who complain that Osprey are "...centric" towards certain periods, at the end of the day it's a business, and so if they commission a dozen titles that I have no interest in in order that they are solvent enough to commission ones that I am interested in, then tahat is fine by me....

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    1. Cheers, Mike! I guess I mixed up Ramillies and Malplaquet there, although I hope that you will follow up with a few more on the WSS (maybe even a few of the Spanish ones as well/ Nice holiday ;-) )

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  10. Jur, it's all go at the moment - Once Ramillies is finalised, will be aiming to finish the manuscript on Cromwell's war with Spain, and then as long as it/they get commissioned will be looking at eiether Oudenaarde/Dettingen/Fontenoy ofr the "Big O" whilst punting away on my research for the history of the Irish Brigade (well, the French one) from 1689 to 1745.....Then I might take a rest.....Almanza would be good as would Aughrim but thing is - as I mentioned in the last - they need to sell......Take Care !

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  11. BTW Seán's plates for Ramillies are cracking ! Trust me !!

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  12. I'd do it. When you don't trust yourself on the content, you can always give good feedback on the reading experience which is as important as content in Ospreys.

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  13. And what I would not have given to review that Zombie book before publication.....

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I appreciate comments. Let me know what you think!