The Federal Trade Commission and Book Bloggers--update from Kidlitcon 09

Kidlitcon 09 was absolutely wonderful--it was so great to meet so many wonderful fellow bloggers! It is so cool to have three-dimensional people in my mental map of the bloggosphere, as opposed to two-dimensional names. Pam (of Mother Reader) did a superb job organizing everything--thanks so much, Pam!

One of the most important things that happened was that a representative of the Federal Trade Commission came to speak to us. Here's the gist:

Book bloggers who don't get paid by publishers to act as shills for their books are independent reviewers, regardless of how many books they might get from publishers. Therefore, there is no material connection between us general book-receiving bloggers and the publishers, that our readers need to be made aware of. Therefore, we are not required by any law or regulation to disclose where we get the books we review (although I still think it is a good idea).

The FTC is still, however, a tad uncertain about Amazon and other book store links--still figuring out whether the consumer who clicks through our links can reasonably expect us to get a small commission, or whether this should be disclosed on every post where such links occur. The FTC representative seemed to think this might, in fact, be a reasonable expectation, in which case such links would not require disclosure, but this hasn't been decided yet.

In any case, the FTC would focus their attention on Amazon or the other book stores about this and not the bloggers.

The guidelines that the FTC just issued about disclosing material connections do not have the force of law. Therefore, all the talk about the $11,000 fine is irrelevant.

So all is well, as far as book blogging and the FTC are concerned.

Here's what other bloggers heard the FTC say: A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy, at GalleySmith, and WriterJenn.


    That was the best thing Pam could have done for us -- organized someone from the FTC to come out and clear up the BS. What an excellent use of Con time.

    I'm SO JEALOUS that you were there.
    Just sayin'.

  2. I'm with Tanita, best use of time and thanks for reporting back.

  3. Thanks for sharing the information. I am so glad someone has cleared this up.

  4. Thanks so much for the summary--I've been wondering!

  5. Charlotte, thanks so much for posting about this. I agree: what a great idea to have an FTC rep at the conference. Very smart.

    Meanwhile, who's taking care of the chickens? :)

  6. You all are welcome.

    Susan--I actually left chickens and boys all at home together, and I assume that everyone has been fed and watered... :)

  7. Good summary. So, I linked to it instead of writing my own. :-D It was great to meet and talk with you on Saturday, though!

  8. Thank you so much! Now I wont' have to mortgage my house or anything to cover a fine if I forget ;)

  9. Ah, thank you for sharing this!


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