My Truth About ARCs

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For those who are new to the endless acronyms that come with the bookish world, ARC stands for Advanced Reader’s Copy. These are free copies of books sent out for pictures, reviews etc. by the Publisher to create hype around books in advance of publication. You can also get e-ARCs on sites like Netgalley or Edelweiss or even through an email from an author or agent etc.

While some people collect these, they are not for sale and are illegal to sell despite some listing them on websites like ebay. Don’t sell ARCs. Don’t buy ARCs. You can trade them with other readers, in fact, we support this.

We all have a different relationship with ARCs.

I remember when I first started blogging and it felt like I couldn’t get an advanced copy to save my life. I thought if only I could get some free early copies I could make it in the book blogging world. I’m here to tell you, they will come. Be patient.

They get very overwhelming

Flat out, I over-request and it has caused slumps. Window shopping on  Netgalley or Edelweiss is a serious problem. Once they start rolling in, they don’t always stop. If you don’t believe me, go over-request on Netgalley and then work for 6 months reading the automatic downloads to raise your score back up. I need the flexibility to mood read and ARCs kind of screw that up for me.

Edelweiss is my best friend

I’m listed as (Independent/Freelance) not Media. Make sure you have a bio that says Excellent by it. You will see this when you go to make a request. Honestly, i’m not sure the reasons for requesting matter, but I try to be funny and short. They don’t want to know your entire life when they are reading hundreds of requests. TLDR.

I don’t like the NetGalley ratio system

I understand the desire to give publishers a baseline of reliability. I don’t think that DNFs should count against you. It encourages reviewers to fake reviews to keep up their score. We need the ability to DNF without penalty because it’s not fair to reviewers or to authors to get 1 star reviews or fake ones.

I forget to request physical ARCs.

I don’t even have a good excuse for this. I just forget to send the emails and because of that, I don’t get as many physical books. It takes a lot more time than clicking on the sites for digital ARCs.

I prefer E-ARCs a lot of the time.

They are more portable and they cost less to publishers, which theoretically should bring down overall cost. I’m not great at bookstagram so the pictures aren’t a huge factor for me.

I think eARCs should be available worldwide.

I can understand shipping costs to restrict a publisher. Is it fair? No, but they have overhead to deal with. It’s a business. I don’t know enough about licensing, but a download is a download and eARCs should be accessible to everyone with internet access.

A poorly formatted eARC is probably going to get a lower rating.

Not only is it rude to ask us to try to read that nonsense, it lowers our enjoyment dramatically. It’s not fair to authors to send out a crappy ARC. I have DNF’d multiple books for poor formatting that I may have otherwise loved. This is not helping publicity and it’s not helpful to the authors.

I buy a hardback of the ones I love.

If you love an ARC, support the author and buy that book. Request it at the library. Buy a copy for a friend. Any of these are helpful. Yes, we can get free copies, it’s awesome. But we can’t expect awesome sequels if we don’t support the author.

What truths about ARCs do you have? Let me know in the comments!


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34 thoughts on “My Truth About ARCs

  1. Agree about poor formatting. I have had it happen twice with books from Harlequin, and I was majorly disappointed since they are meant to be a large publisher of romance. You’d think they’d make the effort to send out decent eARCs. 🙃😒

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “A poorly formatted eARC is probably going to get a lower rating.” TRUTH. It is so disappointing to receive an ARC from a well-established publisher and not have proper paragraphs, indents, etc. It makes the book much harder to read and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this. The first point is true. I went through the same. I remember wanting an ARC so bad and thinking that would be the key to a world of endless possibilities. * sigh *. The ARC wave doesn´t hit you right away but when it does you get easily overwhelmed- as you´ve pointed out in your second point. Edelweiss? TBH- Haven´t spent much time there. I was a Negalley person and that pissed me off so bad for years until I gave up. I agree that eARCs should be available worldwide. It´s idiotic that they aren´t. It´s understandable that physical paperbacks are country restricted ( it´s also aggravating ) but eARCs? Laughable. Ha! You know what? Before I leave a Tolstoy comment here and clutter up your comment box I´ll just say that your post is so spot on. ❤ Definitely something book bloggers ( especially the newer ones ) need to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great post! I have also given bad ratings to a netgalley book previously purely based on the quality of the digital copy that had been provided. And I specifically mentioned that in my review as well. But I absolutely agree, that ARCs can get over whelming. Now I just borrow or buy the books I want to read and request for books that I want to read on netgalley.
    By the way, how does one request for a physical copy of a book from the author/publisher?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can send an email to the publisher. Usually on an author’s website they will have a bit listed on who to request the ARC from OR on the publisher’s website (those are harder to find). Generally they are marketing or publicity departments and you just send a quick email on what book you would like and why. Always include your blog and social media statistics and your physical address. Sometime they don’t respond and then a few months later a book magically shows up!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great hearing your thoughts on this topic!
    I agree with you about formatting issues in e-ARCs and other books. It is a real shame when something as troublesome as formatting interrupts the flow of a book and negatively impacts your experience of it. I once read an e-ARC where graphics were included in the passage, but were unfortunately covering up chunks of the paragraph. An image intended to highlight a passage of writing literally obscured it. Regardless of any potential issues we may face, I always find its special reading and reviewing ARCs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes!! I agree with so much of this. I actually tend to use Netgalley more than Edelweiss because the interface is easier for me to use, but I completely agree with using more e-ARCs than physical ones. At the same time, I can get really frustrated when the ARC isn’t formatted well! It definitely hinders the overall reading experience~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Net galley is definitely more user-friendly. I think I just find more books that I love on Edelweiss so I put in a lot of time setting up searches and widgets.
      We need e-ARCs available worldwide and formatted properly!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So interesting!! I’m an exclusive hard-copy reader – I don’t even own a device to read an ebook, I don’t think? Unless I could do it on my phone, I guess? I just prefer paper and ink, it’s a better reading experience for me, and it suits my aesthetic of how I photograph/share the books on socials. Of course, that does mean that my access is limited; most publishers seem more than willing to send electronic copies, but balk at the expense/investment of sending out a hard copy. That’s okay, it stops me getting overwhelmed with review commitments (as you described), and it means that when I do get one, I can be sure that the publisher thinks it will be a good fit for me and my readers.


  8. “If you don’t believe me, go over-request on Netgalley and then work for 6 months reading the automatic downloads to raise your score back up.”

    *snerk* So true. I think we’ve all been there! I also tend to forget to email for print copies. Most of my print copies lately are either offered to me or come randomly in the mail because I’m too lazy to send emails or I forget altogether. *shrug* It is what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a great post, Jess! I definitely have been suffering with my giant pile, it causes me so much pain the pressure I put myself under. Which is stupid.

    I definitely make a point to buy finished copies of the arcs I enjoyed! I need to be better about not blindly buying FCs when I haven’t read the arc tho… my shelves are out of control and it is embarrassing. They (likely) aren’t going out of print, I need to learn some chill


  10. This is a great post and I agree with your points! Lately, I prefer to read e-book so e-ARC is way more convenient to me. However, bad formatting is just a big no no. Fortunately, I asked netgalley to fix this issue and they sent me a new fixed format.

    But sometimes, I get overwhelmed. When I don’t like the book, I still feel like I have to give the book a good review you know? I feel like I owe the author and I have to give a positive feedback…even if the book is problematic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand the obligation to give a good review, but all that you are responsible for is an honest review. Sometimes less than ideal reviews are a better selling point than a fantastic one. Also, if you find something problematic, that may help others avoid triggers or just bring notice to an author.
      Never feel bad about a less than 5 star review because realistically, no book is perfect for every person. I can think of at least one book that readers found problematic which was pulled and edited and is now coming out. That author took reviews to heart and has a better book for it. Now those same readers are excited to read her books because they feel heard.


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