Armchair BEA: Ethics

Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads


For today’s Armchair BEA discussion on ethics, I’d like to share some thoughts on plagiarism. I know it’s naive to believe that plagiarism doesn’t exist in the book blogging community. We are such a supportive, friendly, and honest community! Unfortunately, I’ve seen a few Twitter exchanges to know that blatant plagiarism does occur. That aside, though, it is possible for plagiarism to unintentionally sneak in. An idea can stick in your head, and your mind can trick you into believing a clever thought is your own.

Once I was improvising a bit while working on an arrangement of a hymn tune. A lovely 16-measure section came forth… at first, I was excited about how beautiful it sounded. Then, to my horror, a realization: this section wasn’t my material at all. I had heard and performed it before! I ended up setting aside any work on that particular melody and coming back to it months later, after I’d given my mind’s ear some distance.

I’ve thought about that moment when it comes to writing reviews. And it is a huge reason why I try to avoid reading reviews on a book I’m reading (or know I will read soon) until after I’ve written my own review.

In cases where a review is what got me interested in the book (or I just couldn’t help myself), I cross-check my own review against the one(s) I read, just to make sure. Of course we often share conclusions or feelings about a book, especially with others who share our tastes in reading. I’m likely being a tad too cautious, but it makes me feel better if I take a quick peek for any accidental similarities.

By the way, you can run a check on your website for free on Plagiarism Detect to see if others on the web have lifted your material:

  • Oh I’ve never heard of plagiarism detect! Definitely seems like a great resource, thanks for sharing!

  • I also don’t read reviews or anything about a book until after I’ve written my review too – just in case! Thank you so much for pointing out Plagiarism Detector! I’m scared to check it, but it should be good practice to at least make sure everything’s cool out there….

  • Thanks for the link to Plagiarism Detect! I’d never seen that tool before.

  • Better to be a tad over cautious, methinks. And thanks from me too for the Plagiarism Detect :0)

  • Thanks for the link to the site (the university where I teach has something else for checking student work, but it never hurts to have another alternative).

  • I have some other plagiarism sites, but I’m running this one right now. Let’s see 🙂 I have the same thing when it comes to reading reviews. I’m very careful about reading reviews of books I’m currently reading/need to review.


  • I also avoid reading reviews before I’m written my own review of a book. Afterwards…no problem. But before is a no go. Great link about Plagiarism Detect! Thanks for that!

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

  • Thanks for sharing about plaigirism detector, lets hope we all come out clear! I still largely review library books that have been around for awhile or books where author/publicist contacted me directly and I don’t read too many reviews before I’ve written my own. Ethics is such a tough but important issue. I always worry that I am doing something wrong inadvertently. Here are my thoughts on ethics and useful links I’ve found to help decipher what I need to do. Hope you will stop by. Happy Friday and keep up the good work from your friendly ABEA cheerleader today!

  • In my opinion, all of the above are great free plagiarism checkers. The one you select will heavily depend on its user interface and other personal touches.

    That being said, it is tough to measure just how accurate these are when compared to one another. If you are unsure about any of them, I would alternatively suggest a premium Grammarly account, which appears to have a great reputation among publishers.

    And you can use something like my plagiarism checker online.