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PSA: Crossroad Reviews Called Out for Selling Arcs as a Business

Authors and publishers know that they often have to give away ARCs (advanced reader copies) of their books to bloggers, reviewers, and librarians in order to build the early buzz.

They also know that some bloggers exploit the situation and resell ARCs for personal gain. This problem actually predates the rise of book bloggers, and there’s really not much to be done other than cutting off the exploiter.

Crossroad Reviews is one book blog you might want to consider cutting off. That book blog is getting a lot of flack on Wednesday for a Facebook update they posted last week where CR was selling a large quantity of ARCs.

Correction: The following image is a composite, and not a single screenshot. The update on the left and the image on the right are from two different FB updates on the Crossroad Reviews FB account.

The update has since been removed, but not before someone snagged a screenshot:


CR claims to be charging only shipping costs, but in my experience it does not cost that much to ship a book (I’ve sold them on and Amazon).

Also, this is just my personal opinion but I cannot conceive of a legit reason for a book blogger to have that many copies of that many titles. That wall of books doesn’t look like a reviewer’s bookshelf to me; it looks like the store room for a commercial operation.

And I am not the only one to feel that way; that screenshot is causing a storm of protest on Twitter, with many sharing it and advising others to forward the screenshot to their publicist and to blacklist Crossroad Reviews.

It’s up to you to decide whether to follow the advice, but as for me I see Crossroad Reviews as being the type of book blogger which inspired this sign in the Macmillan booth at ALA 2016:

P.S. I’d like to thank Justin, Dararis C, Kathleen Folger, and Donalyn Miller for helping me with this post.

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Glen R Stansfield July 7, 2016 um 10:01 am

There is always somebody that thinks it is okay to make money off the back of the author. Then along comes someone who expects you to give your work away too. When will they understand the word 'work' is just that and it isn’t unreasonable to be paid for work you have done..

Dona July 8, 2016 um 9:52 am

The problem is its all a lie and no one wants to listen to the truth. Ive known Crossroad Reviews for years and they are so nice! And if people would take a real second to just listen then they would know that this is nothing but a group of people that are jealous of the site and have had it out for them for some time. As for those two pictures up there. I know where they are from. The first one is from the post Crossroads had on their Facebook page and its cut off/edited. The bottom stated that you also received bookish goodies and that the cost of those items was also added into the cost of the mystery boxes.

The other photo with all the books is from their trip to BEA and The Book Con. And is a collection of FOUR people’s haul not just one.

As you can see its a simple explanation.

And once all this started Crossroads changed the post to just the shipping costs. Which for flat rate which is what she uses because its easier for her to do in her limited capacity. Costs around 10 for a padded 15 for a medium box and then 20 for a large box. They take into account that tape and printing the labels at home also cost money.

I hope that this clears up some of the misunderstands that people are getting from this situation. If you have any other questions I would contact Crossroads and just ask. They have been very open about this entire thing and I see no reason why they wouldn’t talk to you.

An ETHICAL person in the book industry July 8, 2016 um 1:07 pm

No Dona, this is not a "witch hunt" of people that are "after" CR. This is because of their UNETHICAL practices. WE HAVE PROOF. And not just the screen shots of the so-called "edited" pic. We have video of her proclaiming to have grabbed ALL THE COPIES of one book at ALA, a convention that is for LIBRARIANS not bloggers. She flat-out LIED to Rachel Caine and claimed that she did not grab multiples at ALA yet in her ALA haul videos she proudly shows off over 300 books she grabbed AT A LIBRARIAN convention. She IS overcharging people for shipping and when called on it she changes her story. She blatantly says they "took what they were entitled to", NO ONE IS ENTITLED TO SHIT. The publishers and authors give these away to promote their books, they do not HAVE to give her a damn thing. She abused the system. She uses her children to do it. It’s disgusting. And if she wasn’t guilty, then why is she deleting said videos? Why is she deleting anyone’s comments that show PROOF. I commend you for standing by your "friend", but I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that the proof is out there, she has been caught redhanded, and it WILL NOT stand. She will not get away with this going forward.

Nate Hoffelder July 8, 2016 um 2:34 pm

Can you document those allegations?

My problem here is that I see a lot of claims being thrown around, but no links to back them up.

DD July 8, 2016 um 6:24 pm

Unless you can find pages that saved screenshots of her posts they have all been taken down/deleted by CR. If you like you can check out parajunkies blog, she has a post up with a few images that were removed.

DD July 8, 2016 um 10:13 am

The picture with them selling books was edited to state they were adding bookish things.
She was told media mail is much cheaper than flat rate and blocked people.
How can you talk when advice being given to help save a dollar or two is blocked/denied??

Retraction: Crossroad Reviews | The Digital Reader July 8, 2016 um 11:35 am

[…] this week I reported on a social media frenzy against Crossroad Reviews for the way they supposedly were selling […]

Maria (BearMountainBooks) July 8, 2016 um 2:06 pm

I don’t know truth from fiction for this story, but I do ship books all the time and 10 dollars as a flat rate it high even if not using media mail. For a hardback, it could come in near that rate shipped parcel post to some locations (it runs about 7.50). But putting a book in a padded envelope and shipping first class does not cost 10 dollars. If it did, Amazon wouldn’t have so many sellers willing to participate with 3.99 shipping (even though most use media mail). I don’t like to see reviewers resort to selling books, although it’s not the first time I’ve seen it. If they have regular copies, they can just become an Amazon seller and quietly sell the things on the side. If they have ARCs, however, those are specifically not meant for resale–in any form (And Amazon no longer allows it, although some might occasionally do it without getting caught.)

In the end, the truth is, there isn’t much money to be made, even if a few can be sold for 10 dollars. It’s hard enough for authors to sell books–signed, personalized, etc. *I* sell signed copies from my blog for 10 dollars total, shipped in the US. That only allows a "profit" of 1 to 2 dollars (depends on the book). (To be clear, my books are 9 x6 sizing so are heavier than a mass market paperback and lighter than a hardback). And, of course, if I didn’t have to pay for the printing and shipping to me in the first place, my profit would be higher, but still–selling books is not all that easy even with a decent inventory.

ladyreader July 8, 2016 um 10:38 pm

It’s actually much easier to sell a book when it’s from an author that’s pub’d with the Big 5.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) July 9, 2016 um 6:18 pm

Not really. I used to sell books on Amazon (big 5, used). Yes, it’s easier, but there’s still not a lot of money to be made. If you just need to get rid of a huge stack because it’s taking up room, you can make a buck or three here and there. But if you do the selling on Amazon, they do take a cut and the postman takes a cut and you have to run to the post office all the time. If her blog is big enough she may have enough traffic to sell a few copies, but over time, it’s still pretty hard to make much money. I supposed if she is getting three or four copies of currently hot-selling books by attending conventions, she may have a better inventory…!

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