What Should We Do With ARCs?

Discussion Post Stars

Today Nick and Nereyda posted a number of Blogger Confessions that stirred up the blogging community (mostly in a good way, as people have been using the hashtage #bloggerconfessions to share very relateable blogging habits and fears).  However, the post also raise the perpetual question of ARCs: Should people tweet about their ARCs, should they review them all, should smaller bloggers get a chance, etc.

Now, most of the bloggers I personally follow are chill about ARCs and many are even trying to cut back on requesting them.  However, I think debates around ARCs perpetually arise because there are always new book bloggers joining us, wondering how to get them and how they’re “supposed” to react.  While I generally believe you can react however you want–including being mildly envious of others with ARCs, as long as you’re not rude about it–here are some of my thoughts.

Post Away on Social Media

I don’t see a lot of “bragging” about ARCs on social media. What I do see is bloggers expressing genuine excitement over the opportunity to read a book they were really looking forward to or thrilled to discover a great read they hadn’t known much about.  I also think posting pictures on social media is helpfully promotional for the book; people have to know about it and be familiar with the cover before they can go and buy it.  Sharing photos is a great way to express thanks to the publisher (or other source) for the book while offering some promotion–which is the entire reason the blogger was sent the ARC in the first place.

Read What You Can But Don’t Get Stressed

Generally, I think it’s most ethical to review the ARCs you are sent. (At least, the ones you actually requested. I know very popular blogger often just get boxes of books they never asked for.)  However, publishers know we’re all human. Sometimes real life comes up. Sometimes you’re just overwhelmed.  If you need to move on from a book, do it without regrets.  Maybe post a nice picture on Instagram to help promote the book in the small way you can.

Give It Away If You Want

I don’t think giveaways are publicity grabs, even ones that ask people to follow in return for entering.  If people are giving away their own property or using their own money for a prize, they can make the giveaway rules that they want.  You can’t sell ARCs anyway, so the only decent thing to do is give it to someone else, whether this means donating it to local women’s shelter or making it a prize on your blog.  Giveaways are also still great publicity for the book, and sending the ARC to someone else who will read it and maybe love it more than you did and write a gushing review could be more helpful to the publisher than having someone keep it unread on their beside table.

Remember ARCs are Promotional

Bloggers are sent ARCs to raise hype for the book. End of story.  So if bloggers do things that look “promotional” with them, they’re probably doing something right.  This doesn’t mean bloggers should be dishonest and ask as if they just love every ARC they receive, but it does mean it’s a bit silly to be aggrieved over someone posting pictures of an ARC or acting exciting about the upcoming book.

13 thoughts on “What Should We Do With ARCs?

  1. Lois says:

    I’m not one that dwells a lot on ARCs. I don’t really request a lot because I usually find that I already have an existing pile of book that I own that need to be read as it is. I think some people see ARCs as a way of validating their book blogger status and that’s why people can at times be competitive. I think everyone has experienced ARC envy and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. What I will draw the line at is when people take their anger and frustration out on the bloggers that receive the ARCs.

    Like you said, ARCs are a marketing tool and so it doesn’t surprise me that blogs that have a larger following receive them. What’s important is that they are honest in their reviews; both positive and negative and that they don’t feel obliged to give it a positive review just because they were lucky to get an early copy.


    • Briana says:

      I don’t request many ARCs either, except a few from Netgalley now and again. Otherwise any ARCs I get are just from Goodreads or other giveaways. So much of my life is on a schedule already that I guess I don’t really need my hobbies to be, as well. Plus, like you, there are so many books I own I need to read and so many I want from the library, etc. that I just don’t really need more books on my plate!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Geraldine @ Corralling Books says:

    I generally only get eARCs, never physical ARCSs, so I can’t give it away or anything! For me, the only thing I can really do is probably write a review on them…I don’t really feel too excited just because it’s an eARC, and it’s hard to take pictures of them and to show any excitement for them by tweeting. Idk that’s just what I think though! >.<


    • Briana says:

      Good point. I mostly get ARCs through Netgalley. For physical ARCs I mostly get lucky and win them in giveaways. I think there’s a little less pressure to review eARCs, though, since the publisher didn’t “lose” a book they sent you never reviewed. The only thing to worry about is keeping your feedback ration reasonable!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Tez Miller says:

    My problem is what to do with ARCs once we’re done with them, and we don’t want to keep them anymore. Obviously can’t re-sell them, libraries won’t accept book donations (in Australia, anyway), and have tried to list them on book swap places, but either people don’t have anything I want in return, or they’re not willing to pay for postage.

    I don’t have many, but I’m thinking I just may have to put them in the recycling bin.


    • Briana says:

      I didn’t know some libraries don’t take donations! I often donate mine to the library, but then usually THEY end up selling them at their booksales, which isn’t quite right either.

      I also donate mine to schools, women’s shelters, prisons, or other places that take books. Or do a giveaway, though that’s more annoying if you’re on a budget because you end up paying someone to take the book from you. 🙂


      • Krysta says:

        I think sometimes libraries give ARCs away as prizes if they have some sort of children or teen competition/event since they’re not supposed to sell them.

        Perhaps if you know any teachers you could ask if they need books for their classroom?


  4. Soudha Parsan says:

    I think putting pictures of ARCs on social media is actually a great idea. Because, just like you pointed out, the whole point of ARCs is to help promote a book. I also believe that it’s very important to give a genuine review, even if it’s a negative one. After all, some ARCs are not the finalized versions of the upcoming books and could use the feedback to change certain things before the book is published. The way I see it, ARCs are both promotional tools and an opportunity for feedback for the author and publisher.


    • Briana says:

      Yes! I’m always curious how many changes are made between ARCs and final copies, but it doesn’t seem to be something that publishers talk very much about.


  5. DoingDewey says:

    I agree with everything you have to say here 🙂 My library won’t accept ARCs either, but if I don’t give them away on my blog, I give them to friends or to charities. I definitely don’t feel like people are inappropriately bragging if they’re sharing excitement about an ARC they’ve received and while I find bookmail posts a little boring, I love seeing bookmail on IG or twitter.


    • Briana says:

      The first time I tried to donate ARCs to my library, I asked if they accepted them, and the librarian kind of shrugged and said she didn’t know–but she took them. I subsequently saw them selling them at the library book sale. I guess that’s technically against the “no selling ARCs” rule, but I also find it kind of hard to begrudge an increasingly underfunded library the 50 cents they charge per paperback at the sale.

      I also don’t really read bookmail posts. I’m more interested in what people think of books once they’ve read them than the fact that they happened to acquire some books, I guess.


      • Krysta says:

        Probably the library book sale is run by volunteers who might not even know what an ARC is, much less that they aren’t supposed to sell one. But if a library does sell one, it’s possible the publisher will still benefit–for example, if they sell an ARC that’s part of a series and then the buyer purchases the other books in the series. So there’s that, at least.


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