Bookshop slams influencers requesting free books in return for ‘exposure’

Influencers on sites like TikTok and Instagram are known for taking brand deals in which they advertise a product sent to them by a company – but some cheeky people take things a step too far when they contact brands asking for free stuff.

And after receiving multiple emails from social media stars, one bookstore has taken to Twitter to put the influencers on blast.

A New Chapter, an online children’s bookstore, has claimed they get around five emails a week from influencers who claim they can give the shop “exposure” if they review books on their platforms – despite the fact that giving away books for free is bad for business.

The bookstore posted two photos on Twitter which showed an email they had received recently alongside their standard response.

The email they received read: “Hi there! I’m emailing you as I absolutely love the ethos of your bookstore and all the work you’ve been doing with schools and teachers.

“I’d love to be able to read more diverse books and hoped we could reach an agreement – I have a good following on Instagram and TikTok and if you were to send me some books I would review these for you for free. I think when you see the exposure, which small businesses always need, you’d be more than happy to take that as payment!

“Can’t wait to hear from you and see what you send me!”

And in response, A New Chapter said sending out free books won’t pay their bills, as well as insisting they already have plenty of exposure.

They wrote: “First of all, thanks for your kind words about the work we’re doing.

“I’m afraid we won’t be able to send you free books. Whilst ‘exposure’ might seem like valid payment to you, it isn’t going to be much use when it comes to paying the gas and electricity, which small businesses always need.

“I’d also point out that you found our site, found our contact details and emailed us, so I’d argue we’re fairly well exposed given your relative ease in doing so?

“Unfortunately, the only thing I’ll be sending you is this email. Unless you want to buy some books. We’ve got loads and they’re good.”

In the tweet accompanying the pictures, the shop said asking for free stuff from small businesses in exchange for exposure isn’t “noble” or “amazing”.

They added: “Please stop asking small businesses to send you stuff for free? It isn’t the noble and amazing gesture you think it is. Get about five of these a week. If you want a book, pay for it, otherwise, we won’t exist anymore.”

The post received hundreds of retweets and thousands of likes, with commenters shocked at the “audacity” of the influencer.

One wrote: “The audacity to include their address as if they just assume you’ll do it!”

And another person said: “They tried the ‘I’ll pay you with exposure’ trick. Ew, I want to throw up. Super cheeky and disrespectful.”