Let’s say this next discussion topic, in my Beyond the Blurb series, branches off from my previous post about the blogosphere fighting over ARCs. They are a controversial topic and a problem that many bloggers, readers, and reviewers deal with.
More and more, I see international bloggers struggle to request them. Even though I am Canadian, and there are several Canadian-based publishers in the country, I may very well be overlooked by American-based ones. Either North American laws prevent them from acknowledging me, or they don’t see the point. And don’t get me started on American giveaways and pre-order contests. However, at least I have some options nationally. But many international bloggers do not.
While I stated in my last post that some bloggers simply cannot ship out ARCs to other readers because the cost may be too high, I am beyond irate when I see booksgrammers and everyday bloggers hoard ARCs. I understand they may hold some financial value. A copy of George R. R. Martin’s next galley would be a goldmine to some collectors. However, other titles like Stephanie Garber’s Caraval or Jay Kristoff’s Lifel1k3 or DEV1AT3 shouldn’t cause mass panic in the book community.
Sure, we can all be a little ARC envy. But over the last year or so, Twitter and Instagram have gotten worse. All I see is ARC trades with extreme demands, bookstagram photos with three or more ARC copies, or sales of ARCs.
ARCs are meant to be read, not sold or hoarded. Now, sometimes I witness a blogger/reader who simply wants to give up said copy for another upcoming title, any title without any demands. Kaleena from Reader Voracious founded Flapping Pages, an international ARC program, where you can donate your used or unused ARCs. I am ecstatic over this program. You don’t know how happy I am to see a blogger start this grand endeavour. But she shouldn’t have to though.
An advance reader copy’s sole purpose is to create buzz for a forthcoming novel. Publishers do not manufacture this expensive and extremely limited product just for greedy readers to collect. If you were in a position where you had no access to a physical ARC, you wouldn’t be thrilled to see this nonsense. But are these practices a necessary evil though? Are they simply a problem we have to deal with in order to have to ARCs? I’m not so sure.
So before you decide to hoard, sell, or trade your ARCs, just take a second before you do so. And think about the following choices:
Rethink Keeping or Accepting Another Copy of the Same ARC
What’s the point? Honestly, what is? I don’t understand what the logic is behind keeping several of them. Yes, I keep my ARCs, but I have only one copy, not multiples. And by the time I receive them, the book will be released shortly or has already been released. I also cannot always afford to ship out physical copies. With digital ones though, you need to be careful with international and national laws surrounding books.
If You Have the Option to Freely Give Your Other Copies, Go Ahead
You can always do a giveaway with the publisher and author. I would be thrilled to see more big-name bloggers work alongside publishers to publicize future titles. Giveaways not only benefit the author and publishing house but also the blogger who will have a bigger turnout blog-wise.
Don’t Take an Opportunity Away from Other Readers (Especially International Ones) Who May Lack Access to ARCs
You don’t know hard it is to see American readers easily get ARCs. Now, I shouldn’t complain entirely. Yes, I can get ARCs, and I do not request many of them. But the ones I’d love to request may be hard to get. But I can’t imagine how difficult it is for international bloggers to request them.
Don’t Destroy the System That You’re Using for Your Own Selfish Gains
I see more and more publishers and authors getting tough on ARC releases. Publishing is a delicate battle. Profit margins and publicity are hard to come by. But with hoarding, selling, and trading this marketing tool, you do not help the author or publishing house. You will hurt marginalized people who see reading as a privilege, not a right. You will make it harder for others to find the joy in getting their first ARC. You may even destroy a system that may no longer be viable. So think before you hoard, bloggers. Don’t turn this necessary evil into a permanent issue that forces publishing houses to rethink their ARC program.