ARCS, What Are They and What Do You Do With Them?

8 Jul

ARCs have been discussed on Twitter over the past few days because a blogger grabbed an over-abundance of ARCs at a conference (multiple copies of each title) and are now trying to send them to people for $20 and up.  The cost to send books through media mail is under $5 and supplies definitely do not cost $15, so they are clearly making a profit.  This is not right and not legal – these books are illegal to sell and blogger’s who pick up ARCs to sell are creating a bad environment for bloggers, librarians, and parents who are promoting these books to kids they know who will absolutely love these books.

What are ARCs?

I’ve mentioned ARCs, here on my blog a number of times.  ARCs, or Advanced Reader Copies, (also known as galleys) are books that have been pre-published as a part of a marketing campaign to promote the title, author and publisher.  ARCs can be physical books or available as an eBook through Netgalley and Edelweiss.  ARCs are also considered uncorrected proofs, which means that many times they have editorial mistakes (spelling punctuation), sometimes they’re missing illustrations, and sometimes they’re missing chapters or pages, depending on the book.  But, usually the books are complete and only have minor mistakes.

Where do you find them?

ARCs are usually found at large conference and conventions – American Library Association conferences, Book Expo America, through the publishers directly and as I said before online through Netgalley and Edelweiss.

What do you do with ARCs?

I pick up ARCs at conferences to read (obviously).  It’s a great way for librarians and bloggers to read and promote authors’ works.  I usually read a book and then know instantly a kid who needs to read the story.  I also try and review the new books coming out to promote them to other librarians and parents through my blog and on Twitter.

What do you do after you finish reading them?

Here’s the most important thing to know: you CAN’T sell these books.  (It says so write on the book cover) I keep a stock pile at my desk for the kids looking for something specific to read and I happen to have an extra copy or for the kids who needs a book at home.  We use them for prizes and drawing at the library too.  What we don’t do is sell them in our used book sale – it’s illegal!

You can also donate these books to classroom teachers, school libraries (for prizes), shelters, prisons or even laundromats or doctor’s offices where there are often kids sitting and waiting.

The Dos and Don’ts of ARCs:

  • Don’t sell them!
  • Don’t grab 8 copies of your favorite author’s book at a conference or expo (it’s rude).
  • Try hard not to take too many ARCs (especially if you aren’t going to do anything with them!)
  • Talk with publishers – they love to hear what you’ve liked that they published recently and what you’re looking forward to.  If you strike up a conversation, a lot of times they’ll go the extra mile to find something that they are excited to share with you!
  • Review those ARCs – they cost money to publish and send to you, personally or to conferences, so make it worth the publishers’ while.
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