Serious Eats: Talk

Free Cookbooks for Review Purpose. Acceptable Practice?

I've heard of this happening before but never really thought about it too closely.

A few days ago I had to take a closer look, as the opportunity was offered to me.

A publishing company contacted me to ask if I would review their newly-released cookbooks on my blog, while offering advance copies to me for free for the purpose of doing so.

At no time was there any hint or insinuation given that the review would be expected to be "good".

But then again, the ethics of restaurant reviewing come to mind. Can one give a review free of bias if one is given something for free, even if it is a book?

I have a sense that this is done quite often - advance copies offered. It's a great way to get word of the new releases out into the marketplace without spending a lot of time or money in doing so.

What do you think? Is it an acceptable practice to accept free books for the purpose of review - even when no strings are mentioned as being attached?

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