ARCs Discussion (and Appreciation): What Do You Do with Them?

April 9, 2015 26 Comments

G’morning, readers! This week the blog has been rather quiet to say the least. I’m not entirely sure why expect perhaps I am running low on ideas for content (thank goodness for random blog tags and archived reviews!). An aim for this blog was to write more conversation-starters, but said writings stay in a folder on one of my many USB drives. This is where I 1.) either don’t
think it’s good enough to share (we are so our own worst critic) or b.) I freak out when it comes time to hit “Publish.” Earlier
this week, I had a question and after talking with Cassie on Twitter about our ARC (Advanced Reader Copies) books, it seemed a good place to start. After all, she too had the same ARCs discussion curiosity as I do.  

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ARCs Discussion (and Appreciation): What Do You Do with Them? Chatting about ARCs and the question of: WHAT TO DO WITH THEM!?? Text © Rissi JC
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We all know there are hosts of blogger programs that will generously send out (finished) copies of books to bloggers in exchange for an honest review published on retailer sites as well as our blogs. What we don’t always realize is behind those programs there are publicists who put in much work to accommodate as many bloggers as they have books available. I’ve had the chance to “work
with” some of these publicists thanks to INSPYs and also thanks to the reviews I write here. Nearly all of them are friendly and willing to work with you, and if possible, accommodate a blogger’s request. This seems uniform across the board from publishers like Bloomsbury to inspirational Christian houses like Bethany House or Zondervan. Sometimes a publicist will even kindly offer to
send out an ARC for a novel you request depending on your past history blogging, stats, and the like. Or sometimes it’s because an author has generously reached out asking if you’d like to review an ARC copy of the book. This brings me to today’s topic.

What do you do with your ARCs?

I keep mine proudly sitting on my shelf (especially those I loved) since they are not to be sold nor can you donate them to a library or other such cause. Recently I’ve bought a few finished copies of some of the books I owned as ARCs, which has left me with dual copies not to mention shelf space I could use otherwise. The question boils down to this: what does everyone do with their ARCs? I have seen them offered for giveaways before. Inquiring minds want to know, what’s the best option?

On that track, do authors or publishers have a preference? Or bloggers who have received copious amounts of ARCs, what is your go-to ARC policy?  

While talking about publicists I do want to give them a shout-out here as well. They kindly read our emails, consider our requests and often see to it that a book is mailed out. I am beyond appreciative of what they do to help put the books their publishing houses publish into bloggers hands. When I learn I will be receiving an ARC, I confess to doing a little bookish celebratory dance (figuratively speaking, because literally would be awkward) and am always grateful for a chance to have the book read, reviewed and ready to publish in correlation with its release. Their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and I am grateful for every opportunity to review author’s novels.


That’s the topic of today. What do YOU have to say about this ARCs discussion? Any helpful suggestions or tips about ARC copies? Comment below with any thoughts you have.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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26 Comments

  • Abbi Hart April 9, 2015 at 11:30 am

    It depends on the book! If I liked/loved a book then I keep the ARC on my shelf. I always keep an eye out for cheap finished copies but I don't actively search them out, especially when a lot of the ARCs look almost identical to the finished copy. If I replace the ARC then I pass them onto my sister who loves to read as much as I do. And if I didn't like the book I usually give it to my little sister who likes to do blackout poetry. If she doesn't want them then I occasionally hold onto them to do giveaways but usually just end up tossing them.

    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Those are some excellent suggestions, Abbi. Trouble is, aside from my mom, I don't know a lot of people who have the same reading tastes as I do. My aunt will borrow books from me, but she likes a "darker," grittier read than I do – or certainly one with more details. (The ARCs I seek out are either YA or contemporary fiction.) Giveaways might be my best option.

      I don't necessarily seek out finished copies, but I had two preordered and another I had on a birthday list. For example I had Susan May Warren's Take a Chance on Me in a finished copy and that series is so pretty, I wanted the rest in a similar form. The last one I had preordered so I went ahead and let it ship instead of cancelling the order.

  • Kristin April 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    It looks like your transition to a custom domain name went smoothly, too! :)

    I don't get tons of review books, but the ones I do get come from Bethany House and BookLook Bloggers, and they always send out final copies (in my experience). The only ARC I currently have is Natalie Lloyd's A Snicker of Magic, and I'm keeping that one because it's personalized and signed (I also bought a hardback copy of the book, though). I won an ARC on Goodreads once, but I didn't love the book so I think I donated it to one of the Little Free Libraries in our town.

    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      It did indeed. Thank goodness for small blessings! It was a total whim, "let's-get-this-over-with" kind of project, but I'm glad I did. :)

      If the ARCs are personalized, you'd better believe they aren't leaving my shelf! Alas, I don't have any like that. ;) Some books totally are worth keeping multiple copies of though and I don't blame you for purchasing a final copy of Natalie's as well. I know you so enjoyed her novel. :)

  • Grace M April 9, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I have kept most of my physical ARC's (since the one's on Netgalley disappear with a POOF! after so many days). I admit that they aren't the prettiest thing on my shelf, since the spine is so plain, but it doesn't bother me much. I still keep my ARC of Lisa. T. Bergren's first book of her "Remnants" series on my shelf, even though I also have the finished copy. I think I'll keep it there until I run out of room, which looks to be soon. But that's only because I have the actual copy. The others will probably stay unless I get their finished versions and there's no room for them on my shelf. Not sure where I'd put them, because I don't want to throw them away. That's an option I cringe at.

    • Gidget Girls Reading April 10, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      If you download the netgalleys onto a kindle reader they never disappear. Not sure why.

    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Throwing away books isn't something I've been able to do either, Grace. Most of the ARCs I get are nice looking (though as you say are plainer), but unless I feel compelled to, I don't really see a need in keeping an ARC and finished copy. Some books I don't own finished copies for, so I still have the ARCs. How fun that you still have Lisa's! I know so many of you ladies loved Lisa's earlier series and are now enjoying this new one, which makes it neat that you've kept it. :)

  • Bluerose April 9, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Nursing homes and assisted living places typically LOVE getting Christian books or ones for an older audience. I'm guessing children's foster type homes would love the YA/middle grade ones, but I don't have one close by.

    I keep the ones I loved and sometimes do a giveaway. Unfortunately, the place I get most of my arcs from has a strict rule that I have to keep them for 6 months, and then either keep them or throw them away. I throw away a ton of books, which really hurts. :S (though I do understand why they have that rule)

    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      That's an idea as well, Tammy! Thanks. My aunt does work at a nursing home/assisted living place, so perhaps I should ask her about that.

      Most publishers/authors are okay with ARC giveaways (I think) since I do see that quite frequently. I guess I just assume most readers aren't interested in an ARC since publishers usually ask a blogger to wait to review the ARC book until closer to its release date. But sometimes if someone hasn't had a chance to read the book, they might appreciate a copy – ARC or no. :)

  • serena April 9, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    I usually get digital ARCs because that's often what is being offered, but I've kept the few hard copies I have. One alternative to throwing them in the garbage is recycling them, either by putting them out with the paper recycling or by donating them to a place like Booksavers (http://thrift.mcc.org/booksavers).

    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      I have gotten a few digital ARCs as well, Serena, however my tablet doesn't format them nicely. I'm not sure if it's NetGalley (i.e. the publisher's) or my tablet. Either way, it's distracting because the paragraph breaks aren't properly aligned or a sentence will stop and pick up again three or four sentences down the page. Yeah, it's annoying.

      Thanks for the link and recycling tip! I'll have to look into that. :)

  • Heidi Robbins April 9, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Most of the physical copies I receive are final copies, not ARC's so if I liked the book but probably wouldn't re-read it I'll do a giveaway on my blog. The ones I keep are loaned out to friends and eventually read again by myself. The ones I don't care for are donated. Most of the ARC's I read are digital copies though, which is why I love my new kindle paperwhite!

    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      Most of my books are finished copies as well, Heidi. But I have a small stack of ARCs (maybe 5 or 6 right now) that I recently replaced with finished copies and 3-4 that I didn't care for. Needless to say, I don't quite know what to do with them since I don't feel I have "need" of them right now. That being said, if I don't offer them to other readers, I'll probably either wind up putting them in some darker corner or they'll sit in a box for years without being touched. I brought two or three boxes of books to our local resale shop a while back, but since ARCs cannot be sold that option is out of the question.

      Yay! I'm glad you enjoy digital copies with your Kindle. I cannot enjoy ARCs on my reader, because of its horrible formatting, but I do like that there is that option for bloggers. :)

  • Hannah Barta April 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    I've only ever gotten a few ARCs before, and after I reviewed them all, I hosted a giveaway for them. Except, of course, I wouldn't do that for books I loved — like Rachel Coker's Interrupted and Chasing Jupiter. I also really liked Merlin's Blade by Robert Treskillard even though I was going to give that away till the winner told me she had already won it elsewhere. I might look into getting the finished copy somewhere . . . I guess I never considered the fact that the ARC and the finished copy could be pretty different.

    Dance A Real: Fashion & Lifestyle
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    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Excellent idea, Hannah. I am thinking I'll either give a Twitter shout-out (someday) offering the ARCs or host a giveaway. That way, they aren't being moved from place to place in my house and maybe someone can enjoy them. If someone wanted to try an author, an ARC would be an excellent way to do that.

      I don't know that ARCs vs. finished copies are terribly different. It's probably more "surface" differences than the story changing (i.e., cover design, pretty spines). For example, I own the first book in Susan May Warren's latest series (finished copy) so would like to collect the rest of the series in finished copies. Plus I sort of see buying a finished copy of a novel as a way to support my favorite authors (if I can) when a publicist/publisher has so generously sent me a copy.

      Great thoughts! :)

  • Anonymous April 10, 2015 at 3:49 am

    Girl, I have the same question. I never know what to do with my ARCs. If it's a favorite or signed, I will keep it forever. But, if I buy a finished copy of one of favorites, I don't need two copies.

    My only thought is to swap ARCs with other bloggers, in the hopes that those bloggers we were to swap with would also post a review on their blogs and promote the book. Otherwise, as hard as it is, I guess we should just toss them.

    Great discussion topic! And I love the new site & url!

    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      There are some great suggestions happening here and I'm grateful everyone is joining in! I didn't know that the topic would have anyone interested, but I thought, "why not!?"

      If it's signed I would keep it forever too, no question. But I do believe any signed books I have (which are few) are all finished copies. A swap would work too! I don't ever think that way because I always feel like I don't "need" more books to obligate myself to reading, you know? I do that to myself without any help from others. A lot. ;) But I see that idea as being a great one – and I think Rosie (Writings of Rosie) has hosted a book swap a time or two, though I don't think it's specifically catered to ARCs.

      Thanks! Getting this URL together was a total "on a whim" project earlier this week, but thanks to coupon codes, the price was good. I took a deep breath, hoped I wouldn't delete everything and went for it! :)

  • Kaylee April 10, 2015 at 4:10 am

    Since I am terrible about picking up on grammar and spelling mistakes ARCs don't tend to bother me nor do I mind that the cover is just so so. Plus some of mine have been signed by the author so that's cool. Rarely will I order myself a book if I own some copy of it. BUT if I loved it, I will buy copies for my friends and family for birthday, Christmas, Easter, etc gifts.

    So far I have yet to seriously straighten up my library but that may have to change if I move. Books are heavy.

    Loving the conversation starter, keep it up it looks good so far. :)

    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      I wouldn't say I'm bothered by ARCs either, Kaylee, but some series I heart that much and would like to collect them all in their shiny prettiness. For example (which is what I keep using here!), I owned the first novel in Susan May Warren's current series and would like to eventually own them all as finished copies. I have three of the four, and they look so nice together. None of my ARCs are author signed since I think all of them came from the publisher, but I totally get saving them in they are! I wouldn't part with that either.

      I hear you. Books are heavy. After every INSPYs season, I do a serious "unhaul" kind of book spring cleaning and wind up with 2-3 boxes afterwards. The books from last year are still cluttering up my office because I haven't gotten rid of them yet. I cannot wait to do another book sorting this May – it's long overdue. :)

      Me too! I'm so glad you all joined in and are sharing your thoughts! Keep it up as long as you like.

    • Kaylee April 12, 2015 at 12:12 am

      That's funny that you say that you want to collect Susan May Warren's current series, I was just regretting that I only own them on Kindle. After each installment I read I find myself loving the series more and more and wishing that I had all of them in print. I might just have to order the next one in paperback rather in ebook.

      All my signed ARCs are from various BEAs, some from authors that I made sure I tracked down (Like Kiera Cass) and others from authors had no idea that I would love so much at the time (Like Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon). Although all of those copies that I bought for others I do admit to admiring them for a while before I wrap them.

    • Rissi April 14, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      I totally would! I have my favorites in the series, but do love them all. Certainly far and away well enough to own then in print. I think I have one or two in Kindle as well that I picked up on "free" Kindle deal. But hey, these are worth having TWO copies. :)

      Aw, that's cool! I've heard BEA is fun, but it's not practical to attend for me just now. However I love the idea of meeting authors and having them sign books. I'd probably be dumbfounded. But it'd still be fun. :D

  • Hayden April 10, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of ARCS…while I love getting the book early, I like the look and feel of the final books better, so I'm always disappointed when I get an ARC of a book I really like, because I'd rather have the final copy. And then, of course, if I didn't care for the book….I have no idea what to do with it.

    Right now I just keep them in a small stack under my bed. I don't have a whole lot, though, because only one of the publishers I review for actual gives out ARCs (with the exception of netgalley ebooks, which have expiration dates anyway)

    hmmm…maybe instead of throwing them away I could cut them up for those book-page projects I'm always seeing on Pinterest….

    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      I am grateful anytime I receive an ARC, though mostly it's ones I request or am looking forward too. That being said, if a publicist does kindly send out an ARC, if I can, I don't mind buying a copy because it's a small way of helping to support the author. That's just one of the reasons I host giveaways for a lot of the books I like too. I also appreciate the chance to have a book read/reviewed early (even if it can't be published yet) because I tend to be horribly behind in reading habits, so it helps to have some things ready to publish when they should be.

      As for Pinterest projects, what a grand idea, Hayden! Some of those bookish ideas are really neat, but cutting up one of my finished pretties is never an idea I can fathom. ARCs however… they just might do the trick. :)

  • Jamie Lapeyrolerie April 10, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    What a great discussion! I don't get a ton of ARCs, but usually I just keep them. I got an ARC for the final Dotta novel and since I wanted me collection to look the same, I bought the finished version and gave the ARC away. :)

    • Rissi April 11, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      I'm loving all the great comments and suggestions, Jamie. So fun to know what everyone thinks. I keep mine too until or unless I obtain a finished copy in which case, I feel like it'd be nice to pass the ARCs onto someone who might enjoy the chance to read the book. But I was curious as to what everyone else did with their ARC copies. Thus this was published. :)

      Thanks for sharing!

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