Controversial opinion: My thoughts on ARCs.

So Harper Voyager dropped a UK Arc of DarkDawn recently and it got me thinking about ARC’s. I wanted to come at this purely from a Book Blogger perspective as obviously I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes in publishing. I can only see what publishers, authors, booksellers etc openly tweet about so this is definitely more an opinion piece than a factual look at the situation.

Arcs are pretty coveted commodity within the book community and I think we all know this. ARC’s in theory have two purposes – marketing for the book through giveaways, photos, unboxings etc and increasing awareness through reviews and word of mouth recommendation.

ARC’s also act as payment. Bookbloggers get literally nothing for their time but the book they are being asked to market/review. Sometimes this is a finished copy and sometimes this is an ARC. An entire community of free marketers, publicists and consumers that exists around books and the only thing we get for the hours of reading, writing and photography is the book itself. It’s nice to get something tangible to keep for all those hours.

I think the black market that has sprung up around ARC’s changed the game. People didn’t just want ARC’s to read, but also to collect or trade and even sell. I don’t think it’s wrong for people to trade ARC’s (I’ve done it myself) but something that was already pretty sought after has become a hugely valuable commodity and now even more difficult to get.

I think now there is bad feeling and in-fighting within the book community over who gets ARC’s, why and what they end up doing with them. People hate people who request ARC’s to trade them later. People don’t like it when others use their status to get access to ARC’s to trade whilst people with less followers who would love the book are getting ignored. No one likes seeing bigger accounts getting thrown ARC’s everyday and when you know they can’t read them all.

I think something needs to change.

With the amount of ARC’s that end up for sale on ebay, it is pretty clear that more care needs to be taken when choosing who gets a copy. Huge bookstagram accounts and bloggers with massive followings shouldn’t be just getting thrown ARC’s of books they didn’t even know existed.

I can definitely understand some book bloggers frustration with the situation.

For example with the DarkDawn UK ARC, that is a hugely anticipated release and you know people will be dying to get their hands on it for whatever reason. TO BE CLEAR I love Harper Voyager. I’ve been dying to get on their blogger list for years, they pretty much publish all my favourite books. However I didn’t think it was fair to post a photo of a hugely sought after ARC and follow up immediately with “Proofs are rarer than Hen’s teeth. So don’t even try it”. If they aren’t publicly available then don’t publicly announce it? It also didn’t help seeing someone who works for Harper Voyager ask for one and immediately get told it’s on it’s way. I’m not saying this person shouldn’t get one but maybe do it in a less public way?

Situations like this can be a bit of a slap in the face. From a blogger’s perspective the ONE thing we get as some sort of payment/reward whatever for our work is the very book we talk about. No one likes to feel under valued and it feels like book bloggers are at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to getting ARC’s.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

P.S I obviously can’t speak for all bloggers and I don’t think I’m trying to, so if you’re opinion is different that’s totally cool. Arcs aren’t hugely important to me, I’ve requested a fair few and received a few and I don’t really collect them unless the cover is gorgeous. I read what I can when I can and I always make sure to take a photo for the gram.

17 thoughts on “Controversial opinion: My thoughts on ARCs.”

  1. Not controversial at all imo! It’s so hurtful to see some accounts get showered with books, some of which you would’ve given your right arm for, and they seem to be … indifferent… about having received it. And may then go to swap it for so called “unicorns”. I get the purpose is to market the book, and bigger accounts have a bigger reach, but surely a smaller account who will sing the books praises from the rooftops is going to have more impact on individuals reading the post?
    I love receiving arcs, it’s like a little thank you for reading it/ writing the review/ and positing photos and I feel so proud each time on turns up on the post. But as I mentioned, just disheartening when there’s one you would love dangled in front of you and you know there is no hope of you ever getting it, whereas others need only glance in its general direction.

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  2. I definitely agree with you! I hate it when I see big name book bloggers (not going to name names) get sent ARCs or even signed/special/limited edition copies of books and then post it all over Instagram and say “I don’t like this author or this series and I’m not going to read this book, but look at my beautiful ARC that I got six months in advance to the book’s release.”

    There was a time when I saw a post like that and it felt like a giant slap in the face because it happened to be a book by my favorite author. It felt like the blogger didn’t appreciate the wonderful gift they had been given.

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    1. What annoys me is when these ARCs are being sold on eBay for £200! Share the love around people. Trade it. Give it away. Don’t make profit in something you got for free, not when some of us are willing to sell our souls to read it early 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s definitely not controversial and it’s so great that you’ve actually come out to say something about it. The whole Darkdawn ARC fiasco was really in poor taste and how it’s being handled. And I agree about bigger bloggers getting ARCs and not appreciating them. Too many times I see on bookstagram that they get ARCs but hardly any of them are actually read and these bookstagrammers have admitted that they receive too many books to read them all. And we who have to request for ARCs don’t get granted them when we are selective of the ARCs that we receive.

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    1. So glad you think so. I wasn’t sure if it would come across entitled? Like people would mis-read this post as why not me kinda thing? I think the Darkdawn stuff both UK and USA has highlighted issues with ARCs in general. I definitely agree more care gets taken. It just makes so sense when some people are getting too many and others none at all.

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      1. Definitely not entitled! People might find issue with it because it’s such an entrenched tradition to take all these at face value but these are the problems we reviewers face. /: And it’s worse for international readers because we barely get physical ARCs!! I do think that the publishers are only doing their jobs and frankly, the bigger the blogger, the more reach the books get especially in a community that is this small.

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    1. Thank you ♥️♥️ 100% I have a few I’ve kept cos I know I’m gonna read. A few I don’t think I’ll get around to reading so I’ve traded for something that I’m more interested in and a few sent from publishers unsolicited. The unicorn situation is getting out of hand though.

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  4. This is a really good point. There’s a lot of issues within the way that ARCs are distributed and who they’re given to. I personally feel really irritated about how many people sell their ARCs; you got a book for free and now you’re making a profit on a proof that you don’t own. It’s not a good look and there’s people out there who probably would have read and enjoyed the book or had something to say on it.

    I think another issus is there’s definitely an oversaturation of larger book bloggers/vloggers/Instagramers who are able to just accumulate books. On one hand, I don’t begrudge anyone the hard work that they’ve put in that gains them the ability to have publishers going to them for reviews. On the other… I think publishers should look at more than just numbers. A problem I’ve seen coming from this ARC collecting/distributing issue is that at times, books get handed to people they’re not intended for because a person has numbers, not an interest in the book (consider the numbers of books given to bloggers/vloggers that are own voices books, for example, but that reader isn’t of that particular group and those readers who are are passed over because they have a smaller following.)

    I’m not sure there’s a definite quick fix, but it would be nice to see publisers doing more work to reach out to a more diverse group of readers, especially readers that actually read the books and want them over people who just want to collect ARCs.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly with your point about bloggers/vloggers/bookstagrammers getting books that they have no interest in reading, particularly own voices book. I requested an ARC of Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf on Netgalley and wasn’t granted one despite being from Malaysia (the book the country is set in) and the sociopolitical setting of the book was one that Malaysians would be able to relate to. So many international bloggers misinterpreted the book as a fantasy when it was nothing but!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s incredibly disappointing. I noticed that it seemed a lot of the reviewers for the ARC copies weren’t Malaysian readers. Anyone can read a book, but it does say a lot, in my opinion. I’ve spoken about this regarding ARCs written by black authors about black characters/black experiences getting largely white ARC readership and the narratives around those books ending up being very white-centric. At the end of the day, anyone can read and enjoy any book, but publishers should be more aware of their implications in how they handle ARCs.

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      2. On bookstagram tours, I did not see a Malaysian who was sent a copy as well, making me wonder what the marketing strategy was. It broke my heart cause this book is so impactful and meaningful for Malaysians and our history. Agreed about ARCs with black/POC characters! Reviews become very whitewashed with no nuance at all! I see marketing value in sending it to the top bloggers but I also find that so many of them do not read/review the books themselves.

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  5. I completely agree with you, buuuut I had a look at that thread and I saw that the chick who asked for a proof apparently designed the cover, so I can excuse that because she was directly involved in the book rather than being a random staffer. I do think it was a bad look to dangle temptation in front of everyone, say that there’s no chance in hell you can have a copy and then shoot one off straight away, but I can see why.

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