Monday, July 09, 2012

The buzz about ARCs

There has been much talk around the book blogosphere lately about ARCs, as there usually is after BEA. Complaints about ARC-hoggers, who run around getting as many free books as they can, questions over who should receive ARCs, issues about what should happen to ARCs after the book is in publication (hint: not eBay, people!). I thought that Presenting Lenore's post was a good rational discussion.

My relationship with ARCs: I only request those that I really want to read, and should Holly and I ever make good on our pledge to go to BEA with On My Bookshelf business cards, I think I'd do the same thing there: prioritize my desperately wanted titles and try to snag advance copies of those. I also tend to stick to requests for the genres I commonly review: literary fiction, middle-grade and YA fantasy, mysteries. I am less likely to request a nonfiction title, since I think of myself primarily as a fiction blogger, but I have reviewed ARCs of nonfiction books that tell a good (but true) story. ARCs are a tool that publishers use for marketing/publicity. Different publishers see them slightly differently. Some keep ARCs close, handing them out only to media outlets (including bloggers) that have huge followings and rejecting requests from less-prominent bloggers. Others see them as a part of word-of-mouth marketing and happily distribute them to anyone who seems willing to post a review on Amazon. As far as when to post reviews, I follow the publisher's request, which is usually to hold reviews until the day of publication. I will blog/Facebook about the book as I read it, though. I copy my review on amazon, on Facebook, Twitter, goodreads, and LibraryThing.

I'm really not interested in debates over whether or not bloggers should get copies of ARCs: that's up to the publisher. Each publisher has a vision for where bloggers and ARCs fit into their marketing, and sometimes my requests are rejected. I end up buying the book (and posting a review) anyway, but I miss the chance to be a part of the early buzz (or even to be blurbed).

When I love an ARC, I will buy a finished copy of the book. Especially now that e-galleys are becoming very common, I want a hard copy for my library, to take to a signing, or to lend to friends. I tend to donate ARCs I wasn't as crazy about to library sales. I don't list them on eBay (so tacky).

How do you decide which ARCs to request? Any personal policies on dealing with ARCs?

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