[DWJ] Any paid book reviewers out there?

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Thu Apr 5 03:01:14 EDT 2007


Dunno if experience in Israel is indicative of anything abroad, these types
of professions here usually count for less than they do abroad. I write
pretty regular reviews of children's books for a women's magazine in Israel,
and get the equivalent of about $70 for a 150 word review, of which they
want no more than one a week. Occasionally I will write longer reviews for a
newspaper or internet portal, and I've been payed about $100-$120 for these.
In addition, I get review copies of virtually all new children and youth
books that come out in Israel directly from the publishers (not as a favor
from the publications for which I write). All in all a pretty sweet deal,
from my perspective. I wouldn't be suprised if I'm considered one of the top
5 reviewers in Israel of books for young people, even though I write barely
one short review a week - there's simply not that much competition in this
niche.

I've been hoarding my review copies, even of the poor and mediocre books,
because I have a problem "getting rid" of books. But after nearly three
years reviewing, the piles are stacking up and I shall have to do something
soon. I did recently donate a boxload to a charity drive at my son's
kindergarten, but that's barely the tip of the iceberg. The good ones I keep
for obvious reasons, but even the not-good books I like to keep because one
never knows when they'll be useful as examples for lectures. For instance, I
sometimes lecture about translation of children's literature, and it is no
easy task to find examples of BAD translations in a library or bookstore.
The really shoddy books don't survive very long on shelves, that's why I
need to keep them...

I wouldn't consider selling my review copies, though I could probably make a
nice income by it, just feels wrong morally. What I did do for a while was
participate in a scheme that one woman in Israel had set up: books for
charity. Available books were advertised on a central website, and anyone
interested in a book could donate a certain sum to one of the charities
listed on the site, fax in the donation receipt, and have the book mailed to
them. I thought it was a lovely idea but it didn't work, perhaps because the
lady running the site was just a bit too picky. The list of charities was
limited only to charities aiding animals and wildlife in Israel, and the
books had to be gift-quality, that is, not only pristine but also lacking a
"reviewer's copy" stamp. On top of that she sniffed at some of the titles I
was willing to donate because they were too lowbrow for her taste, and
wouldn't advertise them on her site. So I resorted to advertising books for
charity on my own website, and did manage to give away several  second-hand
books (even copies I had listed as being in bad condition), but altogether
the traffic was not worth the effort of maintaining the list.

As for my qualifications and background, well, I've been posting to the DWJ
list since its inception, that's plenty of background, don't you think? ;-)

Gili





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