Free Books For Bloggers

Anyone who explores theo and biblio blogs will quickly notice that there is a growing trend among bloggers: the recieving and reviewing of free books. In my opinion, this is a great thing! Publishing companies have taken note of the usefulness and popularity of blogs and have become quite open to sending out complimentary copies for review. It's a two-way street: The company gets advertising and the blogger gets free literature. But there is more to it than meets they eye. So, if you are a blogger who wants to get some free books (actually, they're not exactly "free" because you do have to review them, but they do arrive cost free), here are some thoughts:

1. You should be keeping stats on your blog. What I mean is that you need to know how many readers per day, week, month and year you're getting. Providing this statistic to the publisher is, in my opinion, critical. Until you get a decent readership (I personally would consider 50 readers per day, decent), you might want to abstain from asking for free books. That said, it might be worth taking the risk and asking even if you're readership is less than this.

2. You should also inform the publishers of how long your blog has been active and how often you udpate your site. You can also mention, at this point, the purpose of your site and why you are choosing this publisher to ask for a review copy. (E.g. If the publisher is primarily affiliated with theology or NT studies and that is where your interests lie, you might share this with them).

3. Another stat you should provide when contacting the publishing companies is details about who your readers are. Is your blog geared towards Bible scholars, students, lay persons, theologians, philosohpers, archeologists, etc. You need to share who your audience is.

4. Another thing that will help you acquire a book is to have book reviews you've already done, posted as examples. This gives the publishing company the opportunity to see what kind of work you can do; this could be an important factor.

5. When asking for a book, you need to contact the marketing director/coordinator of the publishing company (or the equivalent) via email. You can usually find this at the publishing company's site on the contact page. Many publishing companies also have a portion of their site where you can "request a copy for review". If you can find this part of the site then use it, if not, revert to the email tactic I mentioned above.

6. Tell the publishers a little bit about yourself. Share your educational and ministerial background with them. This could help definitely help your chances of getting a book (or books).

7. If you do recieve a book from the company, make sure you thank them and give them some air time on your blog.

8. There are a number of ways to write the review itself. Some do a chapter-by-chapter analysis in each post. Others do rolling blog reviews. Personally, for shorter books I like to do a 750-800 word succinct review. For longer, more scholarly books, I find 1500 words suitable.

So, there is more to getting review copies than just being a blogger or blogging more often. Though the first is a "must" and the second definitely helps, as I've tried to show, there are a few other, very important factors and elements. Even so, I've found that most publishing companies are quite generous. Thanks again to those who have been so kind to me: Wipf & Stock, Fortress Press and WJK!


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Michael. Actually, I've shared much less information with publishers and received free review copies without a problem. I haven't even shared stats.

  2. Pat, you're welcome. I guess it depends on the publisher. Some have requested stats from me, others have requested nothing. Still others have even requested a formal letter/email with letterhead and all. In my estimation, I think one should provide the info. so that the publishing companies not least because it helps them get to know you as a blogger. You never know what kind of inroads this might make for yourself. Besides, it just makes you appear a bit more professional and that alone may increase your chances of getting a book. I know what you're saying, though, and I don't doubt at all that it works. Hope you're doing well, Pat. Be blessed and keep checking up and commenting on Pisteuomen.

  3. Pat shared your post with me and I thoroughly enjoyed it and I look forward to attempting to do this myself. This could save me some serious dough!

    Thanks again!

  4. Matthew,

    Glad I could help with the book reviews info.

    Also glad you found Pisteuomen. Be sure to become a regular, I always love engaging people on the site. I'll check your site more often too.

    Be blessed and be a blessing.