Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why I Never Liked ARCs- and you shouldn't either!

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that the ARC is the Holy Grail of the book blogging world.

I can't escape it- I go to other blogs, I see giveaways for ARCs with 2000 entries. I go to YouTube, I see people asking Kristi at the Story Siren how she gets so many review books. I go to Twitter, I see some talk about ARCs arriving at other people's doorsteps.

See, I didn't start blogging specifically for ARCs, as some book bloggers aren't afraid to admit. I don't give a crap about ARCs in general. I really do not mind waiting in queue on a book in the library to read a book that's just come out. My library is very nice, and they almost always preorder new releases, so I can be sure to get in line early, which I like. And I sincerely do not hesitate to shell out ten dollars for a book I know that I will enjoy. I am not poor. I have a job. I can easily buy things.

Here's a pic of the book I bought. I couldn't return it or anything.
I will be honest and say that I didn't even know about ARCs until I went to a used book sale and accidentally got one. Then I looked up "uncorrected proof"- and I found out about them.

Maybe I'm egotistical, and you think that I'm just bluffing when I say this, but I'm not.

No, I'm going to be honest here, and I'm going to put it in all caps: ARCS ARE NOT EFFECTIVE WHEN GIVEN TO BOOK BLOGGERS.



When given ARCs:

  1. Bloggers feel the need to write positive reviews, which doesn't always equate to sales, because people don't look at positive reviews in the first place. What people look for are reccomendations, when they are actively seeking books. That's why ARCs should go to librarians and booksellers.
  2. Bloggers are really only promoting to other bloggers, who more than likely will not care if it's not an ARC anymore. Some bloggers are only in it for the freeness of exclusivity of ARCs, not to go out and actually actively promote the book. (In rare cases, though, we see bloggers who genuinely work to make a book known, which I love. Take the folks over at Cuddlebuggery for example. They've hyped up Stormdancer a lot, which is great for a first in the series.)

There are so many networking sites out there, and too many to keep up.
Because who the hell in the world reads a book blog other than another book blogger? It's all a vicious circle of "Hey, I'm gonna network with another blogger so they'll be friends with me and hopefully check out my blog." And don't even lie, you know that's what it started out as. Hopefully, it didn't end up that way, and now you've made some good friends online.

Also, another reason is because people forget things. They see a book that's scheduled to come out in two months time. Okay, that's cool. Are you going remember when the book comes out? More likely not than yes.

What makes people want to read a book is when they see it everywhere. I've been seeing My Life Next Door everywhere, so I actually want to kind of read it, even though I have no idea what it's about, or if it's even out yet. But I do know it was featured on a lot of blogs, meaning that a lot of ARCs were given out, just so a few small bloggers like me could find out about it.

When ARCs are given out as favors from authors or publishers, you feel the need to write a positive review. Do you think it's a coincidence that Kristi from the Story Siren magically likes any arc she gets for review and never leaves star reviews?

I'm not banging on Kristi. I think she's a nice person and runs a very successful blog. (I mean, look at my blog. It's like, 2 months old. In fact, if you're reading this, you probably got directed here from some spoon fetish site or something.)

They're actually really good.
Publishers NEED to understand that people buy things on a whim a lot of the time. Like, if I see a commercial for a McFlurry, I'm not going to say, "HEY! I SHALL BUY A MCFLURRY WHEN IT COMES OUT TWO MONTHS LATER!" No, I'm going to expect the McFlurry to be at McDonalds when I get there, point blank.

So if I see a book that I sounds interesting, I'm going to add it to
  1. things to pick up next time I visit the book store
  2. things to order at the library 
I'm going to wrap up this post with a few thoughts:

I've never actively looked out for galleys on NetGalley or the like, and I've never even dreamed of emailing publishers to request print ARCs. The fact that I'm a new blog aside, it's because I don't want the obligation to review a book nicely (and I KNOW it's not an obligation, but I feel awful if I don't) and because I don't think that ARC reviews are all that effective. I want to let people know if a book is good or not, and then let them be able to try it out immediately.

Reviewing books that I don't want to read sort of raises my blood pressure. I know, I know, you don't have to review something that you don't want to. But what does that say about you as a blogger?

I am not going to lose my dignity over a 10 dollar book. I'm not.

Maybe none of my points actually were justifiable, but that's just my opinion. I like to do this for fun, not to be on quoted on the cover of a book.


  1. DANG I never knew there were so many social networking sites. And as for ARCS, I don't stress about them because I do have a Netgalley account and plus ARCS are expensive for publishers to produce & I'd rather wait to get the book at the library or get a finished review copy. I do agree with you, yes, that there is too much hype about ARCS. Like you, I read for fun. It's the way to go.

    1. Totally agree. Can't we all just love reading?

  2. I wouldn't say that bloggers are promoting only to other bloggers (although I'm assuming that you mean "book bloggers" that than "any people who blog"), but it wouldn't surprise me if that's who comprises the largest segment of their audience.

    But I agree with your stance, for the most part. I can get really excited about a book when I see people reviewing the ARC...but it just gets added to my TBR list on Goodreads. And then, by the time I can get it because of long wait time at the library and/or forgetting about it, it can lose its appeal. Sometimes I've read similar things in the meantime so the novelty is lost. Sometimes it's been long enough that the book doesn't appeal to me anymore. And sometimes, I just get really, really sick of hearing everyone go on and on about the same freaking books, especially when they're not available to *me*.

    1. Dude.... can I add that argument to my thesis? That was very well thought out.

    2. Oh, thanks! Go ahead, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.

  3. Hi Guys,
    I'm a book blogger and I've discovered Netgalley 3 months ago. I'm an avid reader and enjoyed around 22 books plus some mangas per month.

    So I read a lot and I've started a blog about books because when I don't find any inspiration with my librarian or bookseller (sometimes it happens), I like checking internet and reading reviews to find new materials. So, after discovering some great stories via books reviewing blogs, I've decided to share my thoughts too.
    I'm doing this for fun! No pressure. Just to entertain myself, to meet people that share the same interests and help me pratice on my English...

    Because I'm an obsessed reader I have a list of books I'm really waiting for with a release date to be sure not to forget about them. Another list is for the books that catched up my eyes and an other for the books I've heard about and want to try.

    To be really honest, sometimes I read 4 or 5 books at the same times and it's always books that I have choosen to read.

    As for decided to read Arc and review them, I'm still a young blogger so I've been denied some requests. If my pride was bruised, the book I actually wanted to request was not penalised.
    If I can't have an ARC, I will buy the book (I can afford to do that too) when it will be release.
    Idem for an Arc, I've really enjoyed...I will buy it to add to my real bibliotheque. I like to be surrounded by paper too and not only virtual books.

    But I can't deny that an Arc copy is convenient. As is watching a Us series or Japanese animes on streaming because it will not be air on France until...a very very long time.

    When I request an ARC, I don't feel obliged to be nice at all. I request something and believe me I take some times to read the synopsis and to choose something I will really want to discover.
    If it's a different genre, it's because I've decided to try something out of my confort zone to be surprised or challenged.

    But ARC or not, I will never say that a book is bad. It's not for my taste or there are some clichés, some length, the story was not for me...but I have some respect for the book and the writer.

    It's difficult to please everybody and even the great great authors receive bad critics.
    So I try to be honest. I explain what I like in the book, what didn't work for me. And it has nothing to do with an Arc copy or not. I do the same with books I've bought...

    I'm an apprentice writer and I know the difficulty of putting your thoughts on paper. So I will always finish a book even if it costs me and I have to read it in diagonal because of that. There is a person behind the book and if she wants to write even if her work will never win a award...Who cares ?

    Reader and author share a special bond by turning the pages. As a reader, you take a trip in somebody universe. As a writer, you want to publish a story that will help the people to escape their routine and be touched my your words.
    When the magie operated it's wonderful... But there is so many great authors who are not known yet and who needs bloggers to help them to be discovered...

    And the first time, I have felt some pressure it was when an author I've enjoyed asked me to read a sequel soon to be released. It was not the demand, it was the pressure of the book itself. The first one was so great, I was petrified to start and discovering that the magic has disapeared. After the first few sentences, I was put at ease.
    Idem when, it's somebody you personaly know. You can't be as detached as you are with a total stranger.

    So I don't think that Arc copy books corrupt me. But I have been pleased to give you my point of you and share yours.

    One of your new follower,


    1. Lucie,

      That was a very well thought out and impressive argument. While I can see eye to eye with all you above books, I cannot say I would do them myself. (For instance, like buying the books on a set list or not having a bruised pride.)

      I've sent you a twitter message about this. Feel free to continue the conversation there!



    2. Hi Isabelle,
      I'll be happy! Just tell me what you're expected and how we can interact...

      After I left your blog yesterday, I was still thinking about this conversation. Maybe posting one myself about the arc copies to understand how bloggers come up with the idea of requesting Arc and why.

      As for me, it was totally unexpected. For more than 9 months, I was writting my review based on books I've bought, shared with friends or co-workers or some free giveaways from amazon.

      Sure, I've noticed by browsing on others blogs that were having new releases and I was wondering how it was possible. I was curious but wasn't confortable enough to ask for more informations.

      I thougt that if your blog was good, you will naturally be contact by editors or authors. Yes, yes sometimes I'm a little bit naive!
      Maybe it's why when I've been accepted by Netgalley, I was proud. I've taken this as a great opportunity to connect and share with others about awesome books. And to be honest, every time my request is accepted I'm still excited like a child at Christmas...


  4. I've gotten both electronic and physical ARCs, some have been awesome, some mediocre and some just plain bad and I review them as such. Honestly, there are some that I just could not finish and I've given them to other bloggers who would enjoy them more than me because I know ARCs are expensive.

    I do understand your point and if you feel pressured or stessed to do it, then it's best to not review ARCs at all. The way I see it, if a publisher does not want to give me another ARC because I posted a less than positive review, then so be it. There are so many great books out there to read, I'll just move on and read something else.

    I do keep my reviews professional, even for the books I don't like. I try to point out both the positives and negatives of a book, keeping in mind that the thing that I did not like about the book may not bother someone else.

    I also get on the list at my library for the new releases (my library is the best!) and I buy books as well.

    Great post and I'm a new follower!
    Truly Bookish

    1. Hey,

      First off, thanks for following us!

      Second, I really love your attitude toward ARCs. I would agree with the "don't review it" thing if I wasn't so much of a pushover, haha! But I agree, there are too many good books out there to read to be hung up on one ARC.

      I used to think my library was good as well, which it is, but they don't have a lot of new releases, which is sad, so mostly I just pay for them. Alas, THAT would be where an ARC would come in handy!


  5. Interesting article. I started blogging back in nov 2010 but I reviewing before I was contacted via facebook from authors and publishers and it took off from there. I have never once felt pressure to read arcs and most importantly never felt like I need to give good reviews. Authors and publishers I work with want honest reviews even if its bad. I never went into blogging for free books and those who do should be ashamed! I do get a lot of arcs and finished books for review but do still buy alot well not so much right now as Im jobless lol. I think arcs are great they are put out to create a buzz about books before they are released to the general public. But there is a lot of jealously in book blogger communiy over arcs. And it can turn nasty.

    1. Nastiness seems to be chronic among the book blogging world.

      And you're lucky to be working with publishers who don't care. Some authors and publishers... *shudder*. I don't even want to think about that.

  6. Nice post! It's interesting to see your thoughts on this. :)

    I'm still a new blogger so I've only gotten a few ARCs and they were all through Netgalley. I don't feel like I'm pressured to write positive reviews because I'm never in direct contact with the publishers. Where I DO feel pressured, is when an author e-mails me asking for a review. I like reviewing books for authors, but since I'm in direct communication with them, I do feel pressured to like their book more. It just breaks my heart a little if I don't like the book and have to e-mail the author telling them that.

    I definitely do see your point though and I'm sure there are loads of people who feel pressured to post positive reviews for all the ARCs they get.

    But when it's all said and done, I actually prefer finished copies to ARCs because I'm a hardback girl and all ARCs are paperback. And I guess that leads me to my next point..

    I'm a bit of a book collector. So one thing I do like about getting e-ARCs is being able to test out a book before I buy it. I get a chance to find out if I love the book before I run out and buy it. I know that's not really the point of ARCs but I kind of like it for the sake of my wallet. For example, I got Pushing the Limits as an e-ARC and I ABSOLUTELY ADORED IT! So I immediately went and preordered a hardcopy for myself. Then, on another occasion, I preordered Innocent Darkness because I thought it sounded good. About two weeks later, I got it as an e-ARC and gave it a read. I ended up really *not* liking it so I canceled my preorder. It's just nice to be able to get a heads up on how much I like a book before I buy it.

    I feel like I'm rambling now :P

    Anyway! Really interesting post. :)

    1. I love all the points you presented Ashley!

      I've not yet requested anything through NetGalley (I'm really scared to) but I agree with you. Personally, I don't like the stuff they add to ARCs like "released 9/12" or NOT FOR SALE in giant letters. It makes the book look ugly.

      But yes! I'd much rather buy a finished copy if I really liked the eARC. I did that with some ebooks, too. :)

      And AHH! I really want to read Pushing the Limits now. Everyone's raving. I must read it!