What’s the Ethical Thing to Do?


I have a dilemma. Some time ago, an editor emailed me, asking if I would be willing to review one of their books. After some deliberation, I agreed and he sent me the book. The thing is, I don’t like it. I’m not mildly disinterested; I really hate the book.

But I’m not into trashing books, publishers, or authors on my site. What should I do?

I could write a vapid review that said not much of anything with a recommendation like this: “For readers who like aliens with two heads constantly arguing with each other, this books is for you.” Like that. It narrows the audience to the faithful few.

That’s what I’d planned to do, but is that the ethical thing to do?

On one hand, I’d like to help the author. It happens to be someone I’ve exchanged comments with in one of the many writing venues out there. I’d like to help the publisher, a fairly new (no, not Marcher Lord Press) independent just making a go of it. I’m sure they could use some good press in this economic climate.

But that’s my problem. If I give a worthless review, is that “good press”? And if I give a candid review … well, I can assure you, it would not reflect favorably on the company.

I guess in writing this, I’ve come to the decision not to post a review. It’s not like I have to warn readers off of the book because the theology is so bad. It is, but I’m doubtful that many readers will have found the book other than a small circle that won’t be influenced by my review, even if they read it.

Perhaps the ethical thing is for me to purchase the book since I’m not upholding my end of the bargain by posting a review. That just might be the best answer.

Tomorrow I’ll try to write about something more interesting and not just work out my dilemmas in writing! 😉

Published in: on February 12, 2009 at 5:06 pm  Comments (10)  
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