THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION voted 4-0 on Monday to require bloggers to clearly disclose any payments or freebies they receive for reviewing products. Many bloggers routinely review books that are sent to them by publishers. Apparently, under this new rule (81 pages of legal twaddle), these reviewers will need to disclose that they have received a free book in order to comply with the new rule, as if the reader wouldn’t know that if you want your book reviewed you need to provide a copy to the reviewer.
Oddly, if the reviewer returns the book, the new rules don’t apply. The rule seems to be aimed more at bloggers who review such products as computers or toys and who are allowed to keep the product reviewed. Most traditional journalism outlets either pay for the product or return it after it is tested.
There is no formula how the disclosure must be made other than it must be "clear and conspicuous."
What effect this might have on book reviews remains to be seen. I’ve reviewed some books on this site but they have all been purchased from regular retail outlets. However, if anyone would like to give me something I’d be happy to review it and, of course, make the proper disclosure.