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What do you do with random books?

When I first started blogging, I reviewed books from the library and books I had at home. Then slowly, authors and publishers started contacting me asking me if I was interested in reviewing a book. At first I felt like I should accept them all, but I quickly learned to politely say no to those books that didn't interest me.

Now that my blog has been around for a while, I've noticed something new-I've started getting random packages of books. These are books that I wasn't sent an inquiry about and just randomly were sent to me for review. Some of them come with a letter saying "I hope you will consider this book for review" and some don't have anything with them-just a package of books. I'm very excited to get these books, but I also find it overwhelming. I have a review schedule and a list of books to read and review this year and it's all organized by release date, when I got the book, how/why it was sent to me, etc. When I get these random packages, it adds to my already carefully planned review list. (I try not to take on more inquiries than I can handle-especially since I'm crazy busy outside of my blog!) I also find that often, they're not books I would typically be interested in reading.

I really want to review the books that I've been inquired about and accepted for review first. Sometimes I'll pass on these random books (especially if they're sequels to a book I have yet to read) to my teen library council at work. They love reading and reviewing books for me and I love getting their feedback. Other times I'll keep them in my review pile and try to get to them.
So I'm wondering-do you get random books and what do you with them? Do you add them to your regular review list or do you not review them? What are your thoughts on being sent random books-would you rather have an inquiry to go with it?

(P.S.-I hope this post doesn't sound like I'm ungrateful for receiving these books-I'm not! I'm just the type of person to have everything planned and scheduled and organized, so it throws me off when I get something that's unexpected.)


  1. Wow, that sounds so freaking amazing. Getting random packs of books in the mail. *sigh* wish that would happen to me.
    Haha but I'm new in the blogging world and I just wrote my first review yesterday.. so I cant say anything YET.
    Maybe hopefully in a few months. :)
    Keep up the amazing reviews!

  2. If I didn't agree to a review, request titles from a checklist, or speak with a publicist, I don't force myself to read or review the random books. If it's something that interests me or something I actually want to read, then sure...but I certainly don't feel obligated.

  3. That is a problem. I don't receive random boxes of books from strangers. I just buy more than I have any hope of reading before the next group arrives. I know how it is when something comes that disturbs a schedule.

    I think the idea of passing on the books to others is probably a good one. Can you arrange that they write the reviews and you post them on your blog from a guest reviewer?

    I am thinking about doing that with my massive TBR pile. I have friends who don't have blogs who borrow from my stack. Maybe I can make writing a quick review part of the deal. Hmm...I'll have to thing about that.

    Happy reading!

  4. ChickLitGirl-It is always fun to get books, but not so fun when I start to feel stressed about it!

    Amanda-That's the way I feel too-if I didn't request it from a librarian preview/conference or accept an inquiry, I don't feel obligated to read it.

    Kathy-I've been passing my books onto my library council and I'm hoping that I can start posting their reviews as a special guest post.

  5. Yeah I'm still trying to figure that out. Luckily a majority of them sound interesting but I agree I put the ones I've requested or agreed to accept first. There has to be more time in the day!

    I've actually just made myself a new way of keeping track of the books I have to review that includes color coding for how a book came to me.

  6. I only read them if they interest me, though I don't prioritise them. If I'm not interested I pass them onto my friends or save up a few and donate them to my local library. It seems to work for me!

  7. Alea-we must be thinking the same thing-I just started color coding my review list too!:)

    SMBSLT-I donate mine (if they're not ARCs) to my library as well. There's also a foster home where my parents live that is always looking for teen reads, so I'm planning on making a big donation to them as well.

  8. You've inspired me to get rid of some of the ones I don't think I'll read. I held onto them out of obligation but yeah, probably never going to read them! Going through some stacks now!

  9. Alea-YAY! I actually did this recently-partly prompted by the fact that we bought a house and husband doesn't want to move books that I'm never going to read. It really made me feel better about my TBR pile. I'm over feeling guilty about not reading a book!

  10. Ooh - I like the color coding idea! I am on a couple of publishers lists where it seems like they send me every book they publish unsolicited. Sometimes twice! I do go on to read and review some of them, and some of them are ones I definitely want to read at some point, but they aren't at the top of the pile just because I have so many other obligations. The ones I know I won't read I either give away on my blog or to friends/other bloggers.

  11. In the UK we very rarely get inquiries, which I don't personally mind. I love getting book surprises!

    I'm the type of reader who will try any book/author, so I do try and read everything I receive. But if it really isn't something I will read, or I don't want to keep it/didn't like it.have a duplicate etc... I give it to friends, schools or libraries. :)

  12. I don't have a blog so don't get them. Perhaps some blogger friends & you could pass them to each other if someone else wants to read them.

    Or pass them on through a book giveaway.

  13. Well, as far as books I don't feel up to reading, I offer them to other people on Twitter. Then if no one wants it, I put it on the free table at work. They always get snatched up, which is nice knowing people I work with enjoy books!

  14. Your blog must have a higher visibility than mine because I don't get mystery book packages. I've only received one ARC since I've started my blog, and that was one I signed up for in the very beginning before I even knew what an ARC was! Recently, I've gotten two or three press releases for upcoming books emailed to me, but the publicists must not know my blog too well because the books they tell me about aren't anything I would read.

  15. Yes, I totally know what you mean...this has been happening quite a bit to me lately but my new solution is more student reviews...I received like 20 books in one week a few weeks ago and I was REALLY freaked out and stressed because like you I feel they were sent for a reason and I need to review them! Well, I figure publicist send them to me for exposure on my blog...if students review them even better! I have some avid readers who are pretty good reviewers...and I may even ask another teacher now and then!

  16. 1. You are so much more organized than I am!

    2. My priority reading is titles that I have specifically requested from the publisher. After that are books that authors or publishers offered to me and I agreed to accept. (I don't guarantee a review - I agree to consider the title for review.) After that are books that are sent randomly to me.

    3. However, since I am not organized and since I don't want for my blog to become "work", I will switch it up if a book comes through the looks really good or that I've been looking forward to, etc. But I, of course, don't feel obligated to review. (I do, however, participate in In My Mailbox, so these random books at least get a mention on my blog unless they are ridiculously off the mark of what I will accept for review.)

    4. I give away most of my books to the kids and teens at my library. We use them as prizes and what doesn't go them goes to our Friends of the Library for their book sale.

  17. I have this problem a lot. I get books from no one sometimes. No return address nothing to indicate that it was a publisher and no letter enclosed to tell me what's up.

    I keep most of the books. I always post them on my IMM post. But unless they seem awesome I put them way at the end of my review list.

    I'd love to give them away at work but I'm still unemployed but that's a great idea. :)

  18. Interesting situation. I only request limited number of books that will fit my schedule and haven't received un-requested ones. What throws me off is when i win books. Am I obliged to write reviews on them in a timely manner or just read them when I get to them? I do try to pace myself as I don't like that overwhelmed feeling. I like you idea of asking your friends to write guest reviews. I think that is specially fair for books you didn't ask for.

  19. Weird. I get LOTS of books in the mail, but never randomly. If you didn't agree to review them, you're not obligated. I'd donate them if you're not interested, read and review if you are.

    I'm amazed at your organization! I don't have any kind of system - I just read whatever looks interesting at the moment. It all depends on my mood, my week, time of the year, time of the month, phases of the moon ...

  20. Lenore-Since I know it's happening to other bloggers and you don't feel obligated to review them, I don't feel as guilty about not getting to them!

    ProphecyGirl-I'll try most anything too, but if I can't get inot a book, I won't finish it-and if I don't finish it, I won't review it. My teens are always up for trying something new which is good.

    Natalie-I have used some for giveaways-at work and on my blog!

    April-Posting them up for grabs on Twitter is a great idea!:)

    Dani-I get those e-mails too-and I hate the ones that are for books I don't read (especially self-published books)

    LLL-I think I'm going to start posting student reviews too-that way they get read and reviewed and I don't feel so stressed!

    Abby-I've only recently become this organized because I had to!:) I'll mix it up a bit, but I try to read in order-but sometimes one will come across that I just can't pass up right then!

    Jess-That's really odd-at least I know where mine come from!

    Heather-I'm glad you think it's fair! I'm loving all this input because it makes me not feel so bad!:)

    Susan-haha-I try to be organized but it doesn't always work. But I just had too much going on and books for various things I had to come up with something!


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