Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Discussions (6): The ARC

For this week's discussion, I want to talk about the elusive ARC. A lot of people have already written about it but I'd like to give my opinion and then hear what you all have to say!

When I first started blogging, I had no idea what ARC stood for (Advanced Reader Copy) or what a Reviewer Copy even was. I found out after some research that they are essentially unproofed bond copies of a manuscript and are used to promote an upcoming novel. I thought this was really awesome.

I learned my info from The Story Siren's Dear Publisher Edition.

Now that I'm a bit more established, I've started receiving ARCs from publishers and couldn't be more excited. Then I ran across a debate going on around the web. Do ARCs work and who should get them?

Some people believe that bloggers shouldn't get ARCs and feel really strongly against giving them away. Some people believe the exact opposite. So here's my thinking:

If I receive a copy of an ARC chances are I have requested it from publisher. If I love the book (3.5 stars or more) then you can bet your bottom I'm going to go out and buy myself a finished copy. Most people are against bloggers having ARC because they believe the book lose sales because it. In some cases, this maybe true but it usually isn't the case here. Generally speaking, I either buy the book for myself or I host a giveaway on my blog for a finished version of the book. Why? Because if I loved the ARC that much, I WANT to own a finished copy and help the author sell novels. I started my blog to express my opinions on books and to network as an aspiring writer. I want to help the world I'm trying to break into, not hinder it.

Another arugement is that some people believe "regular" folk shouldn't be collecting ARC and that it's more for prestige than for actually reviewing. Do I like seeing a review copy on my shelf: Heck yeah I do! I love seeing them side by side with the novel I enjoyed reading. I'm not quite sure what's wrong with that. It's the same as hunting down a first edition signed copy of a novel you love. It's not like I've got an ARC on my shelf to say hey world, I'm better than you. I've got it because I loved the book and want to keep it. Sort of like a souvenir from a trip (because hey, that's really what books are, mini-vacations from the world).

Some of the same people who say this also condemn bloggers who give away ARCs on their blog instead of giving away real copies. I can understand this a little bit more. In one sense, I'm sure the publisher wants the ARC to go as far as it can because it's a marketing tool. The more hands they get into, the more buzz. But it also likely means that this could hurt the sales. Not everyone buys the ARCs they get. So I'm a little funny about giving away ARCs. I'd rather give away a finished version of a book.

The ironic part about this is I've just received a second ARC of a very anticipated novel and am planning to give it away next week. My stipulation will be that whoever enters must have a blog or place to review it as I want it to be used as it was intended to be used.

My closing thoughts: I think book bloggers are a good source to give away ARCs to because they can help spread buzz. There have been numerous books I've added to my list because trusted bloggers have told me they are good. I'm a little funny about giving away ARCs because I'd rather support the author with a sale of their finished copies.

Here are some books I've purchased after reviewing the ARC (most of these are numerous copies since I've given them away and recommended them early to my friends):

I want to take this last bit of time to sincerely thank all the wonderful people who have been kind enough to send me ARCs to review on my blog. I couldn't feel more blessed to be able to receive and read novels I'm incredibly excited about early and spread the joy!

So please, I'd love to hear your thoughts on ARCs!

And next week I'll be talking about: Do book bloggers help sell novels?


  1. I think that ARC's are a good thing. Not only cause I love getting them, but because I really do believe that they help the sales of a book overall. I know that there have been loads of books that had lots of great reviews because of ARCs and I went out and bought the book right away cause I couldn't wait to reat the book.

    And I don't believe that giving away ARC's is a bad thing. If people want the sales of books to go up, then they would also have to shut down libraries and also crack down on illegal downloading of ebooks. Those also stop people from actually going out and buying books.

  2. I completely agree with you on the ARC issue! I know that I have gone out and bought many finished copies of books because I loved the ARC so much. ARCs work well for getting buzz around the book and I know I have bought many a copy of a book because of a fellow book bloggers review.

  3. I totally 100% see your point and agree.
    I think bloggers should get. If they are bloggers who help spreading the word. And thats the same as you said :P
    And I get the whole thing about buying the original. I would probably do the same :P Because If I like something I buy a original and often a good one. And maybe more then one if there are different kinds xD Or giveaway to others as you also suggested.

    So yeah.. pretty much the same as you said :D

  4. ARCs are this weird thing that people go really crazy over. I think for the most part bloggers have the same thoughts as you. Must of us are blogging because we love books so much, and we always want to support the authors. It's only the "bad seeds" (lol) that make people look down on bloggers and get all hyper about bloggers and ARCs. My blog is fairly small and I'm in Canada, so I've only ever received one physical ARC, but I've read tons of eARCs, which I think is basically just as awesome. I know that since I've been blogging I've bought way more books than I did in the past, and I know of a few books that I've bought because I read an early copy and loved it so much. I never would have pre-ordered Delirium if I hadn't read it off Netgalley. But I did, and I loved it so much that I pre-ordered it. I think this is the case for most people, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that other people's reviews had convinced me to purchase a book (never would have pre-ordered 'Anna and the French Kiss' without all kinds of blogger hype) or get it from the library. I think ARCs are a powerful tool when they're in the hands of the right people, and I think that even if bloggers are only selling books to each other that's still a heck of a lot of sales.

  5. I'm definitely for bloggers receiving ARCs, as well...I mean, I receive them so I'd be a hypocrite if I said I didn't want anyone else to. lol I think it all comes down to marketing, and let's face it - the Internet is probably the best place to market these days. It's also the cheapest. It can be really difficult to get a legitimate "book reviewer" in a magazine or some other periodical to review a book. Bloggers are much more receptive to reviewing, as they don't have to work on deadlines and aren't constantly harrassed by superiors or anything like that.

    In regards to giving away ARCs, I can see the point of some people being a little wary of it, but I feel like it's an investment in a book's future. The more people get their hands on a book, the more people will hear about the novel. And say the book is part of a series. The person who wins the ARC will be much more likely to get the other books in the series now because they've read this one. And the ARC has already been published. Why not let other people read it and add to the hype instead of allowing it to sit on a shelf collecting dust? IMHO...

  6. I often buy finished copies of books I read as ARCs, though I also participate in a lot of ARC tours. I do give a lot of ARCs away after I buy the finished copy, because I obviously don't need two copies of the same book-- my shelves are full as it is! I think ARCs are a great thing, especially when ARC reviews are uploaded to places like Goodreads where people can read reviews prior to the book's release-- that really does help sell books.

    Love what you said about books being mini-vacations from around the world! Every book I own brings back memories-- of the story, the characters, the setting, of where I was when I read it. This is one of the most remarkable things about books. :)

  7. I also think ARCs are a wonderful marketing tool. Whenever I receive ARCs from friends, and end up liking the book, I buy the finished copy whenever it's available. Isn't that the whole point?

    Anyways, great post! New follower here, and I'm loving your layout. :)

  8. GREAT post! And I completely agree! Since I started blogging, I buy more books than ever (as opposed to checking out from the library) and, just like you, if I get an ARC that I LOVE, I most definitely buy a finished copy. I feel like it's an investment in that author and I hope that my purchase will help keep them writing. I much prefer to give away finished copies of books and have started doing contests where I let the winner pick the book then I buy it for them through the Book Depository. That way I can support even more authors, including those that I may not be aware of (I made a recent purchase for a girl in Portugal--new author for me!).

    As for the ARCs? After reading and reviewing, I book talk them to my students and put them on my classroom library shelves. That way, they're directly in the hands of the target audience.

  9. As an internationnal blogger I used to very rarely receive ARCs, I was receiving finished copies for review which is freaking awesome hehe. Now I've started receiving ARCs and I really prefer having finished copies, so if I like a book I buy a finished copy. Or, what I've been doing lately is trade my ARC with a friend for finished copy. See my friend is a blogger, but doesn't have the chance to receive that many ARCs and prefers them to the finished copy (mostly because they are trade paperback), so she buys finished copies, and trade them for my ARCs lol. Everyone is happy!

  10. I agree with you Amber. ARC's are to be treasured, but don't replace the real book for me if I loved it. I always but the real thing. And I do giveaways of the real thing, too. I try to promote books and authors as much as possible. That's what I use my blog for along with reviews. If I get an ARC, I'm flattered. It makes me want to promote the book even more, not buy the book less. I don't understand the complaints about us receiving ARC's. We spread the word-just look at your sidebar. Look at Twitter.



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