Using Blurbs From Bloggers: Do Publishers Need Your Permission to Reprint Reviews?

Bookish Discussions

This may have happened to you. You read a book and fall in love with it, write a rave review, put the review up on your blog, and months later you discover that a blurb from your review has made it into the author’s next book. It’s a pretty cool thing, and it’s only happened to me a couple of times (that I know of). But recently, fellow blogger Chiara tweeted me to let me know I had been blurbed in Rebel Nation by Shaunta Grimes. I was surprised, because I honestly don’t remember if anyone had asked me if they could reprint a part of my review.

Rebel quote
This is taken from the Amazon website, since I tried to buy Rebel Nation at my local Barnes & Noble but they didn’t have it.

Now in all fairness, it’s very possible that months and months ago, someone did ask me and I just don’t remember. I’m pretty busy and sometimes things like thatβ€”as cool as they are!β€”slip my mind after some time goes by. But this disturbs me for two reasons:

1. I’d really like to know if someone thought highly enough of a review of mine, so I can bask in the idea that my words are out there, published, in a book.

2. Although it’s a nice surprise to find out you’ve been blurbed in a book, it feels wrong somehow, not to have someone ask permission to do so.

The books in question.

Now, I’m not talking about someone linking directly to my reviews. Linking happens all the time, and it’s a pretty cool thing. I love when authors and publishers give me a shout-out on their websites, because they’ve read and enjoyed my reviews. I love when bloggers share posts from other bloggers that they enjoy. But actually taking words I wrote and printing them in a book or on Amazon without my knowledge just feels odd.

This post is just me throwing this out there for comments. I haven’t done any research on the matter, I haven’t tried to interview publishers about this. I honestly don’t know what the rules are for this particular occurrence! And even though I’ve written this post, which may seem as if I’m complaining, I’m very flattered that Berkley Trade or Shaunta Grimes thought enough of my review to include it in Rebel Nation. But I’d love to get your feedback: Has this ever happened to you? Do you think publishers and authors should ask permission before putting a blogger’s own words in print?

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Posted September 4, 2014 by Tammy in Bookish Discussions / 21 Comments

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21 responses to “Using Blurbs From Bloggers: Do Publishers Need Your Permission to Reprint Reviews?

  1. I think as an authors they should be first and foremost advocates of Intellectual Property law. Your words, though posted online, is still covered by that law and it is a must to ask you permission first. That’s awful. ~

  2. I had not thought of this prior to this post, but now I have many thoughts percolating. Perhaps it’s similar to using a quote anywhere else, as long as it’s documented properly, all is well.

  3. I have had several authors ask and use parts of my reviews to put in their book. If someone used mine without asking, I’m unaware of it. I would be flattered if they did, but I’m with you. Maybe they should ask first. It would be nice to know they liked it that much and I put a lot into writing my reviews.
    Either way, it is cool to see it.

  4. To be honest, I think it’s the equivalent of us quoting parts of books in our reviews. We don’t need permission to use quotes, because that falls under “fair use”. I think that also applies if they use a quote from your review. It would be a totally different matter if they tried to print the whole thing, but I think a quote would fall under “fair use” (meaning they don’t need permission).

    It’s pretty cool/flattering that your review was quoted!

    • I think you’re right, that makes sense about “fair use.” But still, it would be nice to be asked first, or at least notified so I can make sure I buy the book!

  5. If you take a look at my blog you will see I have a republication policy. If you don’t have one then I think up to a certain amount of words is “fair use”. Also if you go the book for review then there are guidelines (depending on where you got the book from on what they can/can’t take). However, having a republication policy allows you to set parameters around what can/can’t be used for those times you don’t have agreements with publishers.

  6. I have had this happened, but I was really excited to see my words in a book so it really didn’t bother me. But maybe the above commenter MichelleWilliams2013 is right about it being the same as any other quote.

  7. Nope they totally don’t have to ask if they are quoting. Because they are quoting and they are crediting you they are following all the proper procedures – the same way you don’t ask permission to quote from a book, or to quote in a college term paper from some other professional’s printed and archived research papers etc – as long as they are crediting back to you and they aren’t going over a certain amount of quoting (there is a limit to which they can quote before having to legally ask permission I believe I read that somewhere and I forget the amount) then they are doing what needs to be done.

    Yes it would be nice if they let you know or ask you – only cause hey I’d LOVE to know right. But I wouldn’t be offended or upset if they didn’t because heck they liked your review well enough to use it in the first place – also if they did that imagine how many emails they’d have to send out “asking”. Anyways kudos for your review blurb getting put in there!

  8. Agree with Tabs. Not sure they owe it to us at all, but if they told me I would totally buy the damn book. As far as I know I am not in any books, but hope to be someday!

  9. I don’t think blurbs are treated the same way as other intellectual properties, as they are quoting only a small part of the review and not the whole thing, and they are crediting it back to you. I agree that it would be nice to be notified though, like others said I would like to know so I can buy the book!

  10. Like others said, it’s like us quoting the book, so they can do it without asking or permission. I also have gotten the impression that it’s not uncommon to be blurbed and not know it. I know Fantasy Faction posted a thread asking people to let them know if they find blurbs from the site out in the wild πŸ™‚

    And congrats on the blurb! That is exciting πŸ™‚

  11. WOW that’s really flattering to have happen, I would want to know too! But I don’t think they need to ask permission really. Reviews are out in the public and as long as they don’t pass your words for someone elses, it’s pretty leggit.

  12. The only reason I would like to get an email to ask permission is because that informs me I will be in it. Who knows.. my name might be in a book somewhere, but I have no idea. It would be fun to be informed about it, because it’s quite an honor πŸ™‚

  13. I think it’s more about courtesy than anything else – like it would be nice if someone had in fact told you that your words were going to be in a PUBLISHED BOOK. Very cool. But legally I’m sure that they don’t need permission. Hopefully you can track down a print copy and put it in a place of honour!

  14. I’ve had quite a few blurbs used, and I don’t think I got a heads up on a single one them. I would LOVE to know when I’m quoted. I agree that it’s fair use and all, but it’s nice to know someone found value in my words.

    On a side note – how did I miss the release of Rebel Nation? I guess I’ve been under a rock. πŸ™‚

  15. I’ve posted about this, too! I think that authors/publishers don’t really NEED to ask permission since if a book was received by a blogger for review, I guess it’s okay to grab a quote from hat review since they provided the book. But I still think it would be nice to give a shout-out to the blogger in question.

    I’ve been quoted on a paperback, and the author asked me heaps of questions about it, which I thought was great (like if I wanted my name, my surname, etc). And then, of course, I went out and bout a few copies because WOW being quoted in paper is pretty much the best thing ever to happen to a blogger (in my books).

    It does feel a bit weird to think that I might be quoted somewhere and have no idea, but I just hope that someone I know might see it and let me know (which is why I tweeted you about Rebel Nation!). πŸ˜€