Epigonism and Lack of Fair play Among Book Bloggers

I have never in 1 year and 5 months of book blogging felt the urge to remove someone from my bloggroll because they were not playing fair.

But there is a first time in everything and that’s why today I had to remove a blogger’s name from the roll.

Said blogger has been writing posts for a long time and should know about book blogging fairness.

If you see something on another persons blog and you like it… You say so. You may also spread the word. If you like it so much that you feel you have to copy it… You say so and give credit.

If you don’t, you don’t play fair.

The only consolation I have is the fact that epigonism is a very unattractive trait.

No matter how many visitors and hits you get at the end of the day you lose your integrity. There is a lack of generosity in this type of behaviour that is very off putting.

I cannot change other people but I can try to be different that’s why

I wish that

I may  never feel inspired by someone’s idea and copy it without giving proper credit

I may never review a book without revealing on whose blog I discovered it

I may never be non-supportive if someone does something out of the ordinary

I may never be jealous of another blogger’s achievement

And the most important thing of all is

I wish that

I may never forget why I blog – to connect


90 thoughts on “Epigonism and Lack of Fair play Among Book Bloggers

  1. Sorry to hear you underwent such a bad experience, Caroline. You’re one of the most generous bloggers I know, so I wish you happier times ahead with your blogging endeavors.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Richard.
      It isn’t a very nice experience but I’m sure it has happened to others too.
      I guess what is really important is to make sure to not fall into that trap as well.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about this as well Caroline. I am so happy to have connected with you and I hope you won’t have another experience like what happened. This post is also like a reminder on blog etiquette so thank you for that.

    • Thank you Skye, this is so nice of you.
      Fortunately I can say that most bloggers I know and visit regularly are very versed in blog etiquette and they value fairness as well.

  3. I’ve not been cited a couple of times, when I know I was the person who introduced someone to a book and I know too from other comments that they recall the fact, and once I had a post entirely plagiarised, but thankfully it’s not a common experience.

    Annoying though.

    I do occasionally worry that I’ll forget who introduced me to a book. I also worry slightly about the more likely scenario that where I’ve heard about a book at two or three blogs I’ll forget to credit one of them when writing my post. Still, if we try to be fair most often we’ll succeed, and when we fail at least we fail through error rather than indifference.

    • Max, I agree, with all the blogs we read and the tons of stuff that go on in our lives it can easily happen that we mix up something and do not know anymore who reviewed a certain book. That is only human. This case here is a copy cat act from someone who shouldn’t need to do it but did it anyway. It’s a lack of respect any which way I look at it.

      • I also worry sometimes that I am forgetting to give someone credit. If I do so, it is only because I have a bad memory (and I apologize to all if I have done this). But being a copy cat…that’s awful.

        • These are two different things altogether but i still felt I need to tell myself to not forget it. Sometimes we see a book and it takes a long while until we then read it and may have forgotten by then but that is something that can really happen.

  4. I am really sorry to hear about this. You are one of the kindest bloggers I’ve met and to know that someone treated you poorly is horrible. And good for you for speaking up. Connections are important in the blogging world and real world. I hope the other blogger learns that at some point, or she/he may have an unhappy life.

    • Thanks you so much, TBM, this is nice of you to say. I had to “say” something. Sometimes people dio something unintentionally and that can happen too but in this case it was conscious. It saddened me.

  5. So sorry to hear about this! It can be hard to remember where you saw a particular book, especially if it’s one that’s being read by so many bloggers, so I can excuse if someone forgets to mention who prompted them to read it. However, there is no excuse for copying someone’s idea or whatnot and not attributing it to them. That’s not a way to build community, even if the community has become so large that it’s difficult to keep up.

    • Thank you, Anna. I think it is particularly unfair coming form an “old” – as in having been around for a long time blogger. I think it is due to a certain smugness and thinking one is superior.
      The community is huge and there are circles and activities that run in parallel and it could happen people do something similar but this isn’t the case here.

            • They don’t sound nice at all. By the way, I loved the classification of book blog mafia 🙂

              I have been intimidated by some of the book bloggers out there. I’m fairly new to this game so I don’t know all the ins and outs and some of them made me feel very unwelcome. But then there are others who have been around for years who are really friendly. Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings comes to mind.

              • They really are mafia like. But, as you just said, there are others. When you are new to it you are enthusiastic and maybe a bit clumsy and insecure. I think it is interesting that blog have an atmosphere just like someone’s home and there are “places ” in which I feel welcome and otheres where I will not feel welcome. Blogging is far more tha just writing posts about books. At least it is for me. If I didn’t enjoy the exchange and the contact I wouldn’t do it. It would feel utterly pointless as much as I love books and writing about them .

  6. I feel as Anna does. I don’t think there is any excuse for copying without citation, but I often lose all my little notes of which blog I found what book on, and sometimes, I only pick a book after seeing it on numerous blogs, not being sure who tipped me over the edge. But your remarks do inspire me to be better about note-keeping for the coming year. It definitely is goal-worthy!

    • If someone had seen a book or so on my blog and not gven proper credit I wouldn’t have felt the urge to write something, one has to see it in the right perspective, things can happen unintentionally.
      I just always think, if something bothers me in someone else, I will scrutinize myself and see if I do not maybe alos do things I shouldn’t do and that’s why I added all this. I’m pretty sure I’m guilty of the one or the other accidental omission but it isn’t nice.

  7. Sorry to hear this Caroline…I know how it feels when someone copied our writing without giving credit.I have been in that situation before. Fortunately the blog who copied my post was from blogger, I contact the admin and had it removed. I don’t know which blog causing this problem to you but maybe you can report it.

    Wish you all the best and may this never happen to you again. You’re one of the kindness bloggers I know and hope this matter doesn’t make you disappear like someone I know before.

    • Thank you Novia. I believe that people notice things like that and in the end it doesn’t give that blogger much credit.
      No, it will not make me disappear but I could imagine that under certain circumstances oit could make people stop. I noticed a few bloggers who disappeared recently, someone you know as well (life with fourcats) and another one, a “young” blogger whom I liked very much.

    • Thank you, Jackie, I appreciate your comment. It is true it can be a bit of an up and down experience but I must say I was very spoilt so far, I haven’t experienced a lot of bad things and was sometimes astinished when others wrote about things that happened to them.
      Overall it is a community that is very nice but there are always competitive people who will only think of themselves.

  8. I am sorry to hear about this, Caroline. As Richard and others have mentioned, you are one of the most gracious and kind bloggers I know of. I always try and mention the blogs that introduced me to a book. That said, I sometimes forget so I’ve started keeping a list and that helps.

    Sending holiday wishes to you and yours…

    • This is very nice of you Gavin, thanks a lot. I start to blush a bit behind the screen, so many kind words from everyone…
      I think it is a lack of generosity to feel offended too easily, I think I’m not like that but this special incident upset me a lot.
      Thanks for the wishes, the same to you and yours as well.

    • Guy, that does happen to all of us, it isn’t that bad after all, it was and it is excusable. It shouldn’t happen too often but when it does, well, it does. I think one cannot ask for being given credit for every single recommendation, that would be excessive.

      • Yeas, sometimes there’s a time lag between picking up the recommendation, buying the book and actually reading it.

        Howard’s End (the rock allusion) is one of my favourite books.

        • That’s a problem I have as well. I see something, greedily buy it right away but do not read it for a year or so. It seems bloggers generally only refer to their source when it is recent, a few weeks, a couple of months and not “Three years ago I saw such and such a book….”
          E.M.Forster is one of my favourite authors. I love that book and pretty much everything he has written and I remember this stuck with me and I thought of it today, it seemed so fitting.
          I still need to read A Passage to India. I kept it for later it because he hasn’t written a lot.

          • I really should make a list–nothing too concrete–but says something along the lines of ‘read one novel by ** that I haven’t read so far.’ Here we are at the end of the year and looking back I feel as though I became distracted by newer books.

            • Me too. I made some sort of list for December.
              I read “You Deserve Nothing” btw and horror on horror forgot about your review. I saw it reviewed by Jackie, commented, bought it, started reading and realized “Oops… Guy wrote a review as well”. Sounds dorky, I admit but the two reviews are so different. At least I realized it when I started reading, now I will give double credit if I ever manage to review it. I liked it a lot. But what makes it difficult to review is what I found out later on Jackie’s blog…. The story is true, that sheds another light. More when I get to the review.

                • I find a balance between spontaneous or more plannedreading isn’t a bad thing. But I would never, unless it’s a readalong and others sort of depend on me, force myself to reading something.
                  But I was so in the mood to read a lot of calssics in December that I noted those and the new books. It’s odd when I read a classic it doesn’t feel old but the books that came out in 2011 will feel terribly old next year.

  9. How awful. The fun of blogging is the discussion books generate and often I will respond to another blogger’s post and certainly I get many good reading ideas from others, but I can’t imagine not giving credit to another blogger when I’m inspired by what they wrote. Plagiarism is just wrong. Hopefully it hasn’t turned the experience sour for you! It’s such a huge community and there isn’t any need for competition–it seems there is room for everyone and many, many different styles of talking about books.

    • It’s a bit of a downer.
      I think too, that there is a lot of room. But some feel they are more professional or experienced as others and that may allow them to just do anything. I have seen a few instances of misbehaviour mentioned and it was in one case one person from that group that I call blog mafia.
      Maybe people think that when someone visits another blogger, they will not visit them anymore but I think that doesn’t happen. We may move away from someone’s blog but that is certainly not because we now decide to rather visit somene else.
      In any case, I will always remember, as you are my first blogging acquaintance, how very welcome you made me feel and your encouragement. Tomorrow I will have forgotten the copy cat but will still remember you and all the other nice bloggers.

  10. I don’t get worried about people reading books that I recommend and not credit it back to me. Who am I to assume it was my review that prompted them to pick it up?

    And, to my knowledge, I’ve only been copied once but that was a post so obviously written by myself that it didn’t worry me either. I took it as a compliment. But thinking about it, if I did find something on these lines that did upset me, I’d be likely to leave a comment and a link to myoriginal post just to ensure that everyone who read the copied content knew the source.

    As for book blogger mafia, I’m really, really intrigued …..

  11. I’ve just seen your comment exchange with Max and am really looking forward to your thoughts on You Deserve Nothing. Now you know it’s true everything is different, but I hope you still enjoyed it. I’m impressed that you’ve read it so quickly – I’m one of those who impulse buys and then finally gets round to it three years later!

    I also agree about your point about not noticing the book is the same one you’ve already seen on another blog. I think it is especially hard when the covers (or even the titles) are different in different countries. On a handful of occasions I’ve actually bought the book twice because I didn’t connect the two until I tried reading the second copy. Giving credit to the recommender is always hard, but I think most of us try our best.

    • While reading your review, especially the comparison with Notes on a Scandal, it got me off track, it’s only when I started reading that I thought it felt very familiar. I liked it a lot that’s why it’s already read. I just think different about Will.
      I garee, most of us try our best.

  12. I am terrible at remembering where I get book recommendations from and then I feel bad. So, I joined Pinterest and when I see a book I want to read, I pin it. It won’t do much for the books that have been on my wish list for a while, but I am hoping it will help with newer interests.

    As to copying, I am not entirely sure if I have ever been copied. If I have I never knew about it or might have entirely forgotten about it now. And, yes, there are some bloggers that I believe the term ‘book blogger Mafia’ fits very well. I am not sure if they are the same people, but I am going to predict that some of them probably are…

    • From all the comments and reactions I have seen in the past and some on this thread, there is some sort of mafia but there could also be two. It is after all, as Anna pointed out, a huge community by now. I’m pretty sure we are copied more often than we know. I think I got it right so far with giving credit but I know there are now books on my pile that I bought over a year ago and it starts to get blurred.
      I wonder really, for how long do we indicate where we saw the book? It’s odd to add a very old review, no?

      • I know. I tend to only credit books I heard about recently. With books that have been on my wish list or even TBR pile for a while I don’t always remember how they came to be there. And, I might be reading them at this point in time for a completely different reason than what lead me to pick them up in the first place.

        • I think that is OK. I have a tendency of reading some books less than a month after I heard about them and it would feel bad not to credit it but after a few months…
          But I take it very seriously when someone makes me discover an event or challenge or an idea for a post. Not to mention where I saw it would feel wrong as usually you react quite soon. I think I only forgot once to mention where I saw a challenge mentioned and felt bad afterwards.

          • It is rather interesting you posted this on this particular week. Tomorrow is my 6th year blogiversary and I was planning to write a post about the changes to blogging. I previously wrote a post about it in 2009 and thought it was time for another one. I will probably be mentioning this conversation in it, but don’t worry, I will link! It is more the things in the comments than your original post that bothers me… I am writing the post right now, but I am having a hard time with my wording, so decided to see if you said anything more. 🙂

            • I’m very interested to read your post.
              I think it’s amazing how many people responded and the huge amount of hits. It was clicked non-stop yesterday. I never write this type of post although I wanted to a few times.
              I find the reactions to the term blog mafia, one could alos say blog establishment, which would hit the nail on the head as well but would sound less provocative. I’ve deleopped a theory by now but I will observe things a bit longer and then write maybe another post. It has clearly something to do with thinking one is a more “professional blogger” than others.

              • Caroline, I have to confess to having returned to this post over and over again both to check the comments (I always forget to subscribe) and to see if anybody said anything more about the so-called “blog mafias” that have been mentioned (such an attention-grabbing topic). Oddly enough, a blogger wrote a piece for a major U.S. newspaper recently and referred to another blogger as one of the “leaders” of book blogs or something like that–by which I think she meant that her friend had a popular blog. There are tons of blogs and bloggers I enjoy and admire, of course, but I had to laugh when I saw the “leader” description since a) I’ve never been interested in the blog in question’s normal choice of books and so would never consider her a leader by any criteria; b) the blogger in question is one of these people who seems more interested in marketing her blog than in writing interesting posts; and c) I don’t think there’s any book blog movement to be a leader of anyway. This might not really fit in with your blog mafia comment all that well, but as much as I like connecting with individual bloggers over books and movies and such, I am very suspicious of bloggers who heavily advertise on their blogs or brag about how many Twitter followers they have or hits their posts receive. That kind of commercialism and competitiveness is just lame to me even if I don’t actually think of those sorts of bloggers as mafiosi or anything like that. 😀

                • Richard, the person I removed from the blog roll does exactly that. On the blog you find a statistic of visists and hits and various directory positions etc. and where the blog was mentioned etc. To me the blog looks more like product placement. There is a post almost every day with a rating of the book. I read a few posts carefully, although I found a few books on that blog I never thought the writing was interesting. It could be a back cover of a book. I’m sure it’s well written in the sense of being grammatically correct but who cares when there is no voice?
                  I have a theory by now but I know if I post about that, that will generate hundreds of hits and I don’t want to have visitors coming for sensations.
                  I wrote my post because I was upset and wanted to formulate in my mind what I think is important. I didn’t even think there would be much interest. I’m very touched by all the kind words and the nice reactions.
                  It will be interesting to read the reactions on Kailana’s post of today as she mentions the term blog mafia.
                  I was surprised a few times when some book blogger or other was called an “authority”…Of what? Some people have, for various reasons, just a lot more time than others and can read a book per day… I highly doubt that this naturally leads to insightful posts but you will have more attention if you provide quantity.

                  • Very interesting, Caroline, and I agree that the “authority” description is comical for any number of reasons. Although I’d certainly love to hear more from you on the topic someday should you ever change your mind, I’m mostly just happy that your bad experience has led to an outpouring of kind words and support for you that is certainly well deserved. Until later, bon week-end, mon amie!

  13. Dear Caroline

    Sorry to hear about this. It hurts a lot when someone takes credit for your hardwork. I have had a very good experience with book blogging till date except for the occasional ‘you ask a question, the other doesn’t bother to reply’ – kind of thing.

    Try forgetting this bad experience and move on. Looking forward to your plans for the read(s)-a-long.

    • Thank you so much, Neer. It is fortunately an exception. Some bloggers are not very communicative, that puzzles me as well because one can disable comments altogether. I’ve seen a few blogs who do that. I think that is OK but never answer when someone says something isn’t very nice.
      All your heartfelt and supportive comments make it easy to move on.

  14. Oh dear 😦 I hope the guilty party feels suitably chastised!

    I’m not even sure I’d be aware if anyone plagiarised me – I must check that out one day…

    Still, I hope all the sympathetic comments have made you feel that the blogging world, on the whole, is a nice place really 🙂

    • Thank you, Tony, it does indeed make me feel better to see all the nice comments I’m quite touched.
      There are a few baddies but they are a minority.
      Judging from the comments many have experienced something similar. I’m pretty sure it happens more often than we are aware of.

  15. Sad to read about this experience Caroline. As a non-blogging persistent commenter, I’ve found all the blogs I frequent to be run in good faith and marked by openness – how could they not, given the curiosity and willingness to discuss that makes them worthwhile?

    Hopefully the support & respect for you shown in this thread will turn your thoughts back to the positives in reading & blogging.

  16. Hi Caroline,
    61 comments so far and interesting to read the reactions.
    Now you’re proving Litlove is right: non-review posts are more attractive. It makes me think.

    PS: I don’t mind if someone forgets to say they discovered the book on my blog. I only care about the book and that it gets read. What would really make me angry is plagiarism but I don’t think it likely to happen.

    • I have a few book reviews with as many or more comments but as a general rule, yes, it seems more attractive when the topic offers itself for discussion. To discuss a book you must have read it or be interested in a topic. When people discuss on a book review it is certianly because I mentioned something personal, had a strong reaction or mention an interesting theme. Non-fiction generates far more comments, I think.
      Not being given credit on a book can annoy me, but it depends. When it is something I have discovered and someone else comments on my blog and then reviews it right after I find it a bit stange but never as offesnive as plagiarism.

  17. Oh dear! What a shame. I confess I rushed to your blogroll to check my blog was still on it as I live in dread of failing to credit another blogger as I am so bad at remembering where book recommendations came from. And memes sometimes, too. I’m most intrigued by your concept of a book blog mafia, though, as I’m not sure I know any bloggers who’d qualify. But then I am useless at spotting that sort of thing. I’m really sorry, though, that you were upset and I hope now that you’ve taken action you’ll feel much better about the whole thing. Blogging is generally such a nice thing that it’s easy to forget that there are all sorts of trolls out there. Anonymity can make people do very strange things.

    • Oh my…Poor Litlove. I don’t think such a thing would happen to you. I would never remove someone just for having taken a meme or a book. I might, in some cases, feel a bit bad but that’s it. It was something quite different but I think, the thing is OK for me now. The person isn’t on my blogroll anymore and that’s it.
      I just hope people who were maybe not on it yet may think I have removed them but in general I’m pretty sure people know when they have done something wrong.

  18. Like so many of the other commenters said, I’m so sorry something like this happened to someone as kind and gracious as you, Caroline. Your post actually reminded me of something that happened to me once, but on the bright side it was a single occasion in almost five years of blogging, which hopefully means this sort of behaviour is the exception and not the rule. I loved what you said about connecting – it’s why I blog too.

    • Thank you so much for your words, nymeth. It does seem as if many of us had to experience something similar sooner or later but it does at the same time really not seem as if it was the rule. I was very upset but after seeing so many supportive cooments I feel much better.
      I value the connection a lot, maybe more than anything else. And the discussions and am glad that there are others like you who think like this as well.

  19. I don’t know if there’s a book blog mafia (that term reminds me of the big YA mafia thing that happened!) but I do think the opportunity to make a career or money from blogging related activities has changed the landscape a lot. Everyone is in it for something different you know? I’ve definitely been burned, multiple times, and this year I found myself retreating from book blogging. It was just something I needed to do for myself. But I’m slowly coming back.

    btw, I’ve subscribed to your blog for a long time, but rarely comment. I saw this post but if not for Kailana’s post I would have missed the very interesting discussion in comments!

    • Hello Amy, thanks for stopping by, yes, the money aspect comes into it. The said blogger tries to make a living from blogging. I’m sorry to hear negative things happened to you as well and that made you slow down blogging.
      I start to have a feeling that when you are very well known, like that blogger you think you deserve all the attention in the world and when you steal some “little” bloggers idea, it’s no biggie.
      The discussion is quite interesting, I didn’t expect it at all.
      I’ve been on your blog as well without commenting, sometimes I feel insecure when I see there is a whole community commenting and I don’t know anyone.

  20. I’m so sorry to hear this has happened to you, Caroline. I think you’re one of the kindest, most thoughtful bloggers out there and I’m so glad I found your site. All of the wonderful comments here are further proof of that.
    I’ve heard of people copying others’ posts word for word (!) and thought it was so sad. I hope it never happens to you again.

    • This is so nice of you Carole, thanks a lot.
      It’s a bad experience but it seems similar things have happened to others.
      To a certain degree, I could understand a new blogger, but not someone who has been around for at least 7 or 8 years.

  21. I once discovered that every post of mine was being replicated, word for word, on another blog. This other blog was full of advertising and the purpose of the plagiarism was simply to attract click-throughs. I found it very distressing as if you googled my book titles sometimes this other blog would come up just underneath mine. I emailed the owner pointing out my copyright on the articles and was amazed to find that he stopped doing it.

    • That is probably the worst I’ve heard so far… Seems as if the perosn thought he/she might just get away with it. I’m glad you could resolve it.
      I don’t even have a copyright thing on my blog…

  22. Sorry to hear that Caroline. Being copied without being given as the source is very upsetting.

    I want to chime in on the use of google photos. Using covers is considered fair use as far as I know, so I wouldn’t worry about that (I usually get mine from GR, though). With everything else on google I would be very careful (not sure you use any other kind of photo). Just because an image is on google does not mean it isn’t copyrighted. To be sure I would always use images in the public domain or creative commons licensed images. Or ask the permission of the copyright owner.

    • Thanks, Rikki and also for the explanation on copyright. I use mostly book or DVD covers but I have added the odd photo here and there and was occasioanlly unsure whether it was OK. Mostly it was already froma blog who had taken it from google too and not added its source. I shouldn’t do it.
      😦

  23. I am sorry to know about this, Caroline. I can’t believe that someone actually copied your post / idea and didn’t give credit! It is really sad. But it is nice to see so many wonderful comments to your post and so many thoughts and experiences being expressed. Hope you are feeling better about this now. I learnt a new word because of your post – ‘epigonism’ 🙂 Your mention of the blog mafia also made me smile 🙂 It also made me think. When I think about it, it does look like there is a blog mafia out there. But it is nice that there are more good and nice book bloggers out there than these mafioso types.

    • Thanks for your words, Vishy. I feel much better, I didn’t expect so much response and so many nice comments. The majority of the book bloggers I met are extremely nice. It’s a certain type who belongs to what I called “the mafia”. Fortunately I had a lot of very positive experiences with book blogging… Let’s not dwell on the negative…

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