In several discussion posts, I’ve addressed ARCs on a variety of issues. And I feel as if I need to discuss them further. Book Expo and BookCon have passed, and yet seeing ARCs being sold on eBay and other sites infuriates me. But it doesn’t surprise me.
At the starting price of $99 USD, Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, sold for $255.00 USD (roughly $350 CAD) on eBay. Yes, it’s signed. And yes, this particular seller routinely offers ARCs. Unfortunately, the author and publisher will never see that money.
As with all ARCs, this one also has a “Not for Sale” notification. But publishers and authors don’t necessarily have any legal ground to go after sellers. Many ARCs will be given out at conventions, signings, and other bookish events. Would a contract help prevent this? Not really. Think of the problem as second-hand book sales, which isn’t an issue at all. But this topic is highly contentious in the publishing industry.
And I believe publishers need to confront the issue. I’ve offered some solutions, but unless tougher, and ultimately more restrictive, laws come into play, they cannot do much, except blacklist bloggers and reviewers. It’s not as if you stole a hacked copy of the book, then offered it freely on the Internet. The publisher must accept the fact that this type of publicity will fuel the seedy side of publishing.
So how can we help support authors, publishers, and the book industry? These tips may be common sense, but they’re worth noting:
Never Stop Reporting
I cannot stress this tip enough. When you see an ARC on eBay, Amazon, or another website, do not hesitate to report the seller. Sure, legally, no one can prevent that person from doing so. However, making bad press for a multi-million dollar company will draw some eyes.
Sometimes though, reporting it to authors won’t help. They may be able to get the item flagged or reported, and several authors have brought the problem to their social media platforms. But most of the time, that company won’t care.
Don’t Confuse the Sale of an Old ARC with That of a New One
Sure, an older ARC copy won’t harm anyone in the industry. In fact, many collectors often look for ARCs, especially rares ones. So that sale isn’t affecting anyone. But a new copy, where the book hasn’t released yet, is. Perhaps that ARC will eventually get to the target audience or may receive a review, but do you honestly believe most readers will have the funds to afford such a price? Probably not. So it’s going to the wrong person.
Certainly, Don’t Buy One
Again, common sense, people. Sometimes, we lack it, but this advice is straightforward and won’t baffle you. When a book is coming out in six months, what’s the point in buying an ARC, when you can purchase the title at $15-25? It doesn’t increase your credibility as a blogger or reviewer. I strongly believe that if other people found out, you’ll lose that and more.
Have an Extra Copy of an ARC? Give It Away
I don’t expect many bloggers to do this. However, if you have some funds to do so, then start up a contest on your blog or send it to a deserving reader who doesn’t have access to one. Many international and poor readers will never receive the chance of owning an ARC.
Understand You’re Hurting the Online Community That You’re Apart of
Self-explanatory, right? In this society and environment, that description doesn’t last long. If publishers put their trust into you, then don’t destroy that. Or you may break it for every single reviewer and blogger. Just imagine if ARCs become harder to obtain. Or worse, authors start selling them, excluding readers who cannot afford them. Just think about the ramifications of the industry that depends on readers. Think about the consequences everyone will face. Yes, I support the sale of old ARCs, not new ones.