Thursday Thoughts: Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs)

thursday-thoughts-bannerThursday Thoughts is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Ashley of Ok, Let’s Read! Head over to her site to check out her post and click through the links to other blogs participating in the discussion.

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This week’s topic is Advanced Reader Copies – aka ARCs. These are the copies (both print and e-versions) of books that publishers distribute to readers ahead of the actual publishing time in order to get response to the book even before the general public can buy it in the stores.

This is done mostly in the hope of creating enough hype for a book that the title and author will become known to people, thus generating better sales and making the book a bestseller, hopefully. Most book bloggers accept ARCs from publishers in exchange for an honest (and free) review. They are not obliged to rate the book with a better grade because they’ve received it free of charge – in fact, such false behaviour would be severely frowned upon by the book blogging community.

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There, those are the basics of ARCs, I think. But what about my personal experience with them?

I’m a new blogger. I started this blog in May 2014 and I do approximately 2-3 posts a week. I also live in Slovenia, which doesn’t exactly have a huge market for English language literature, though in all honesty, I don’t think I’ve got a single Slovenian reader apart from my husband.

But my (currently) limited reach means I haven’t really been all that successful in acquiring ARCs, which can sometimes lead to feelings of disappointment and failure. It also means that I get ARCs that aren’t all that popular to begin with, resulting in frustration about reading and reviewing plainly average (or even downright bad) books that I’d never read if I didn’t feel obliged to give some feedback to the publisher who was kind enough to take a chance on me and my fledgeling blog.

So I did some rethinking. I won’t request ARCs that I don’t really want to read just for the sake of having some on my blog. Once/If I reach a certain number of readers, which might or might not happen in the near future, I’ll rethink my policy again, requesting more advance e-copies or perhaps even plucking up the courage to write directly to the publishers and ask for hard copies.

In the meantime, though, I’ll try not to be jealous of bloggers who do get all the lovely, shiny new books ahead of time. :) I like reading ARC reviews on other blogs, especially if I was thinking about buying the book anyway. If I trust a certain blogger, I’ll respect their opinion on the book and proceed accordingly – but that goes for all reviews, not just ARCs. I have some authors that I auto-buy, of course, but for unknown ones, I’ll check whether my favourite bloggers have written a review about their books before buying them (and Goodreads as well).

So… I find the blogs which feature ARC reviews just as interesting as those who don’t. I know some of the bloggers have a hard time keeping up with their ARC schedules – I clearly don’t share that problem! :) I’ve got a couple of ARC reviews coming up in the next few weeks – some I’ve liked and some I haven’t. There’s really no way to tell in advance whether you’ll like the book you’re requesting, especially if it’s from a debut author. So I actually prefer reading and reviewing books that have been out there for a while and have gotten their fair share of reviews, ratings and criticism, so I know in advance what I’m getting into. Maybe I’m not adventurous enough, but there you have it.

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What are your thoughts on ARCs? Do you request them, if you’re a blogger? Do you like reading ARC reviews?

Share your thoughts (and links to your TT posts if you have them) below! 

 

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  • Hiya! I stumbled across your blog from Emily, and I am *SO* on your wave length about this post – I only started my blog around April, and then I was absent on it for about two months in the summer and don’t have that many readers yet (but I’ve met some awesome people so far! :)) I’ve only just applied for my first ARCS yesterday, because well… I just want to try it! I know I won’t get any coveted ones, but I really enjoy reading ARCS from my favourite blogs and of course Goodreads (I could spend hours on there). I’m sure after I read a few bad ones I’ll have the same policy as you xD Anyways, I’m glad to have found your blog and count me as one of your new readers! :D

    • Kaja

      Hi, Anna, thanks so much for stopping by! :) I really like Emily’s blog as well, it’s nice of her to have mentioned me.
      Yeah, at the beginning, new bloggers get the less-anticipated ARCs, but sometimes there’s a gem among those, too – I’ve got just such a review coming up next week!
      Good luck with your ARC requesting!