The Federal Trade Commission has just flexed their muscles to make bloggers who review things disclose whether or not they received it for free or were compensated for their review. This will include books! If you picked up an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) at a book festival for free, you'll have to disclose that! If the author sent you their book because you're a friend or 'reader', you'll have to disclose that! It is the FTC's intention to give the consumer a clearer picture of whether or not the review may be biased.
I get what they're trying to do. This works on say, diet pills. But not so much on books! Yet books get lumped into the mix with everything else. Lawsuits and fines can be involved, though I doubt we'll see much of that in the book industry. But in a sue-happy nation, one cannot count it out. There is a bit of a clause that may or may not help out bloggers who review arc's they picked up at a festival. It says a blogger who receives a freebie without the advertiser knowing won't be in violation of the FTC rules. Sounds like a gray area to me. Gray areas are never good.
I don't think the FTC's intention is to target book reviewers but any time a blanket clause is put into affect it tends to effect the wrong people. So be informed and beware! Leave me a comment, I'd love to see what you all think about this.