Dedication, passion, and enthusiam are things all bloggers have. If they didn't, they wouldn't spend countless hours reading, reviewing, blogging, and talking up books. We give up our spare time to promote the publishing industry, the wonderful books it puts out, and the authors who are at the heart of it all.
We're committed. But we aren't ruled by the publishing industry.
Supporting publishing and feeling obligated to it are two entirely different things. I, like most bloggers I know, support publishing because I love books. I know it's a tough business, and I want to see authors and the industry as a whole succeed and flourish.
I don't have any specific commitments to the publishing industry just because I blog. A statement that bloggers did have an obligation to the industry got me thinking, so I asked around and the response was unanimous. We don't have an obligation to the industry. The only obligation we have is maintaining the integrity of our blogs.
To say bloggers have an industry commitment, defined as "an obligation, promise, etc. that restricts one's freedom of action", goes directly against that.
I don't get paid to run my blog, and I don't know any bloggers who do. It's a labor of love. ARCs and swag are fantastic perks that all bloggers appreciate, but they don't hold sway over of us. In fact, most of the bloggers I talked to about this said that ARCs don't even take priority in their TBR. Many read a mix of the review copies they receive and the books they buy.
As a blogger I know said, "If you are so committed to the publishing industry that you can't read what you want, it's possible you may have lost focus."
I mean, does reading books they bought instead of ARCs mean they are less devoted to blogging or that they support publishing less? Hell no!
I'd dare say that they are more commited because they are buying books and putting money into publishing instead of relying on publishers to send them review copies. And the blogger will likely review the book to boot. After all, there's absolutely nothing wrong with spreading the word about a book that's been on the shelf a while to renew the buzz.
The bottom line is that we have to blog our way. We can't cater to the needs and wants of the industry because they don't always mesh with our own views. The only thing I feel like I owe the publishing industry is thanks for printing the books we and readers across the world love.