Why I Don’t Request ARCs

15/07/2015 Blogging, Discussions, Reading 35

Why I Don't Request ARCsBack when I started book blogging I had no idea what an ARC was. I soon came to know that it was an ‘advanced reader copy’, or a copy of an as yet unpublished book sent out by publishers to bloggers to review.

Now this all sounds very exciting, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest perks of book blogging, but personally, I find that they hold little interest for me. That’s right: free books that haven’t even been released yet hold little interest to me. Yes, I strongly suspect I’m crazy too!

Whilst I love the sense of community in the book blogging world, this is one way in which I feel like I’m kind of a misfit. Things like ARC reviews, blog tours, book blitzes, memes, cover reveals and accepting review request seem like such vital aspects of the book blogging world, yet I have never yet participated in any of them. The question is, why? Well…

  • There are so many old books I want to read I don’t feel I need to look for new books.
    Most of the books I review on here are at least a year or so old, and some of them are even classics (so very old!). I think this is probably because my TBR list has been growing and growing for years, and there’s so many old books I want to read that I don’t really keep up to date with new releases unless they are new books in a series I’m already reading (for example, I am on the edge of my seat waiting for George R.R. Martin to release the latest A Song of Ice and Fire book!) or if there has been such a huge buzz about it it’s impossible to not know about it (eg. Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series). All the books I review on here are all books I’ve bought (mostly for 99p off Ebay admittedly!) or borrowed that have either been on my TBR list for ages, or simply caught my eye in a bookshop (and that always messes up my TBR list!).
  • I don’t keep up to date with new releases (yes, it’s pretty shocking for a book blogger!) so would have never heard of most of the ARCs anyway.
    As aforementioned, I don’t really keep up to date with new releases. When I do read newer books it’s usually because I have stumbled across them in a bookshop and liked the look of them. However, usually if they haven’t even been released yet then I won’t have any idea of what they are about, and probably won’t even read the reviews unless they are by an author I already know and love.
  • I don’t need my TBR pile getting any bigger.
    I already have such a huge list of books I want to read that I really don’t go out of my way to find more, so browsing sites like NetGalley and Edelweiss would only increase my already incredibly daunting list.
  • I don’t like reading ebooks.
    From what I hear, a lot of ARCs are e-copys of the book, and for some reason I have just never got into reading ebooks. I have had a Kindle for years, but sadly it rarely sees the light of day!
  • I don’t want to feel under pressure.
    From what I’ve seen in discussion posts on other blogs, there can be some dilemmas surrounding reviewing ARCs such as getting round to reading and reviewing them all, and what to do if you didn’t like them etc.. Therefore, I know that as a mood reader and extreme procrastinator, I would probably just end up slowly gathering a collection of unread ARCs and feeling horrible that I hadn’t read or reviewed them yet. Plus there seems to be a whole competitive side to ARCs, where only certain bloggers get certain ones, and people feel jealous etc., and I really can’t be bothered with all that!
  • I rarely read reviews of them on other blogs, so why post them on mine?
    I think the only ARC review I have ever read on another blog was for one of the very few new releases I knew about before it came out: A Court of Thorns and Roses, and I was only aware of that book because I was already a fan of the author. Because I don’t keep up with upcoming releases I never recognise any ARCs, and seen as I don’t tend to read reviews of books that I haven’t either read or are intending to read I never really read ARC reviews. Therefore it kind of doesn’t make sense for me to write ARC reviews when I don’t read them (although I might be more in the loop about new releases if I did request ARCs), and this is the same reason I don’t post book blitz, book tours, cover reveals or memes on my blog – I just don’t read them.

In some ways this lack of involvement in such a huge area of book blogging makes me feel like I’m missing out and less in touch with the blogging world than I would like to be, but at the same time my reasons make sense to me. So I’m interested to know, why do you or don’t you request ARCs, and in what ways do you think it positively or negatively impacts your blogging experience?

35 Responses to “Why I Don’t Request ARCs”

  1. nordie

    2 years after joining Netgalley, I still have a bit of a hangover regarding the egalleys I still have to read. The temptation was too great, and I now rarely request a book, because I still have so many to get through.

    One of the problems I found early on, was that the egalleys could have extreme formatting issues – too small print; wOrDs ThAt Had WeiRD CaPITAlisaTION; sentences that
    would
    break in the middle, sometimes ev
    en words th
    emselves;

    It seemed that publishers were still learning that egalleys were no different to paper galleys/arcs – formatting issues WILL be mentioned if it made the book difficult to read!

    Thankfully these have long since disappeared and the quality is much better. I rarely request a book now and it’s usually the next book in a series when I do.

    • Laura

      I imagine if I started using egalleys I would request more than I could read, which is why I’m probably best just staying away from them. It would especially drive me mad though if there was any major formatting issues, so it’s good that they seem to have sorted that out now.

  2. Silvara

    I request ARCs, but only the ones I think I will like. So basically, I request anything by my favorite authors. And I request if the blurbs sound interesting. I’ve found a lot of books I may never have bought if I hadn’t gotten the ARC.

    However I try not to request too many because like you, my TBR pile is crazy-size. The physical one isn’t too bad, it’s finally down to the 20-25 book range. But my TBR pile on my Kindle is more like the 490-500 range.

    I didn’t read as often on my Kindle until I got my RL job last year. I’m allowed to read at work if it’s slow and my other work is done. And it’s easier to set down my Kindle when the phone rings than to bookmark and put down a physical book. Especially as I have to answer the phone before the 3rd ring!

    But I also don’t keep track of new releases unless it’s an author I’m already addicted to. If I see a lot of friends recommending a particular book, it may get added to one of my TBR piles. But it also may be forgotten about.

    • Laura

      That sounds like a good way of requesting ARCs. I’d like to think I’d only request ones I really wanted if I started getting them, but I’d probably get overexcited and request everything going, so I’d best steer away from them!
      I’d love to get more into reading on my Kindle as it would be so much more convenient, but for some reason I just can’t seem to.

  3. Marina

    I’m still new to book blogging so requesting ARCs seems both terribly presumptuous of me, and horribly terrifying, so I don’t, but it does seem to be essential to a book blogger and I don’t know where I stand exactly. While it seems like a good opportunity to get free books, the ebook aspect really puts me off too. I don’t like reading ebooks, and I’m not good at it. There’s just something not as gripping when you’re staring at words on a screen.

    • Laura

      I think at first I didn’t request ARCs because it seemed scary and because I didn’t know how it worked, but I just never ended up doing it at all, and now I’m perfectly happy just reading the books that are already on my TBR list. The ebook thing is definitely one of the major reasons why I don’t request them though, and I definitely get what you mean about it seeming less gripping on a screen. I always find I forget what I’ve read more on an ereader for some reason.

  4. Renee

    I only started my blog after discovering NetGalley. I do have to admit that I don’t often read many book review/blog tour etc posts either, but I do post them on my blog. I am currently posting everyday, and reading a lot, so they help fill the days that I don’t have anything in particular to say. I have maintained my 80% reviews on NetGalley, but put a self imposed ban on recently until I catch up on all the other books I have lined up. I have started taking requests. When I take on a request, I tell the author that I am a mood reader, and I’m not sure exactly when I will get to their book, because I will most likely give a more positive review if I feel like reading that book. Blogging is a hobby for me, I don’t want it to feel like hard work.

    • Laura

      Posting every day is pretty impressive, so I’d imagine those kinds of posts help fill out days. I’m definitely a mood reader too, which is part of the reason I don’t accept review requests or request ARCs, but telling the author that you are a mood reader seems like a pretty good solution to that problem!

  5. Francesca

    I’ve only requested a few advanced copies off Netgalley and have already decided im probably not going to use it anymore. Like you I just don’t really care about reading new release books, unless im waiting for a sequel to come out. Ditto on cover reveals and I’ve only ever done one blog tour because I knew who the author was. It does kind of make me feel like an outsider in the book blogging community too since these are very popular things but I figure my blog is predominantly stuff I want to read so I try not to care too much!

    • Laura

      I try not to care too much about feeling like an outsider too, because at the end of the day it’s my blog and I’m posting what I want, and I’m not all that interested in new releases and ARCs. It’s good to know other people feel the same way though!

  6. tonyalee

    “I rarely read reviews of them on other blogs, so why post them on mine?” — I love this point you made. I have always been a firm believer that you should post things that you like (duh) but also things you like to SEE on other blogs. If you are not interested in certain types of post, why post them yourself!?

    I think pressure is a result in over requesting. There are many bloggers that get unsolicited books in the mail and there is no obligation to read/review them. I do feel that if you request a book, then you should read/review it, but it’s okay if you don’t. As long as you are open with the publisher about it.

    • Laura

      I’m glad you agree 🙂 I always find looking at the kind of things I like to read on other blogs helps me when I’m thinking of what to post on my own blog, and is usually a good indication of the kind of thing I’ll enjoy writing.
      There definitely should be no obligation for bloggers to read unsolicited books, but I know if I requested a book I would feel under pressure to read and review it. At the end of the day though, blogging for most people is a hobby, and you shouldn’t have to feel any kind of obligation just because you’ve requested a book.

  7. Krystianna

    I definitely understand where you’re coming from! I still request ARCs, though only if it’s more of an anticipated release, rather than if I just think it sounds good. When I first joined Netgalley, I requested many that I thought just sounded good, and I’m still trying to get those reviewed. I tend to only request books in the summer too, because during the school year I don’t really have time to read review books. I’ve gotten to the point where I really just want to read books on my shelf though! Great post; I’m a new follower.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    • Laura

      Just requesting the ones you have been anticipating sounds like a good system, and it seems like a good idea to only request them when you’re going to have more time to read them. The time aspect is another reason why requesting ARCs isn’t really for me – I’m kind of a slow reader and I work weird hours, so it can take me ages to read a book, and even longer to getting round to reviewing it.
      Thanks so much for following! 🙂

  8. Heather

    I don’t request arcs either. I’m on the mailing list for a few blog tour companies but I only do a few a year. I might prefer reading books from the library. I agree that the furor over arcs makes you feel like you are missing out if you don’t partake.

    • Laura

      So it isn’t just me! 🙂 It does make you feel a little as if you are missing out, but I like that I just get to read what I like with no obligation. I should really start going to the library more myself though. That’s as good a way as any of getting free books, even if you do have to give them back!

  9. Bryan G. Robinson

    I’ve been blogging on and off for about 10 years and in that time, I think I’ve received maybe three ARCs in that time. My reasons are similar to yours for not reading ARCs, but mostly because I read older titles and rarely have an interest in new books. I’d rather catch up on books from years gone by.

    • Laura

      I’m glad it’s not just me. It seems like ARCs are everywhere in the book blogging world, but I definitely prefer to catch up on those books I’ve been wanting to read for ages, as opposed to looking for more new ones.

  10. Serena

    I used to request new books and accept ARCs all the time when I started but after 8 yrs, I have tapered off. I still accept books from time to time and its nice that some of my favorite authors and poets will send me their books free! But it was too overwhelming and when books sounded good in the blurb but were duds, it was so sad. I also prefer reading more poetry than publishers seem interested in pitching, which is why I started a blog tour business for poets! They get short shrift and I wanted to do something about it.

    • Laura

      That’s another reason I don’t request ARCs – I’d have no idea what to do if they were duds!
      It’s great that you decide to start your blog tour business for poets though. I don’t see much poetry being published these days and it’s definitely a shame, so it’s good you’re helping to promote poets’ work.

  11. Bookfool, aka Nancy

    I’ve been reviewing ARCs since *before* I became a blogger so I knew what they were when I began blogging, although I certainly never expected to be offered anything for review. I totally got sucked into reviewing for publishers and authors for several years. Books piled up; I was stressed and felt guilty because I am a very moody reader so even if they appealed to me I might dip in, not get anywhere, and then not return to a book for a year . . . way beyond what a publisher is hoping for. Finally, I started to pare back. I missed that “Every day is Christmas!” sensation of having parcels dropped off at my door almost daily, for a while, but then I realized I was definitely feeling a weight lifted. Now, I will only read ARCs if they sound absolutely fabulous. And, even then I have a review policy that says I reserve the right to say nothing at all if a book doesn’t click for me. It works. But, you’re not missing anything by reading backlist books. Like Serena, I found a lot of the books I was being offered were duds and eventually began to wonder if they were pushing the books that were not selling. That would make sense.

    • Laura

      I feel like I would end up doing that too if I started requesting ARCs, and I’d just get stressed and feel guilty for not being able to read or review them all.
      It does seem likely that publishers are pushing the books that aren’t selling that well, and you don’t really know until you start reading them if they’re any good, and then you’ve wasted your time. Your policy stating that you have the right to say nothing if you didn’t like it seems like a really good idea though. Part of my problem with ARCs is that I wouldn’t know what to do if I ended up not liking the book, so that would definitely solve that problem.

  12. Marcia

    I myself am over the Arcs, tours, author requests and such. I mean at first I felt bad when I stopped accepting them but I never really liked doing the Arc thing in the first place. I read a lot like most book lovers and I feel like I have a stopwatch on my back when I read Arcs for my blog, plus I am just not about that life. I want to do what I like with my space. Now if an Arc comes out that I want to read then, I will read it. I guess I am saying, I want to do me without the pressure of Arc, blitz and tour rules.

    • Laura

      It sounds like you’re just like me! This blog is my space and I like to just write about the books that I want to write about, and not feel like i’m under any kind of obligation or schedule. I can definitely do without the pressure of ARCs, book blitzes and tours too 🙂

  13. Caspette

    I usually use ARCs as an opportunity to read genres I normally wouldn’t. This has been hit and miss in the past.

    But essentially I am also a mood reader and quite busy with two young kids so being locked into a deadline does frustrate me. Especially as this is not my job, I do it for fun.
    I also feel a bit out of the community for not completely embracing the ARC thing. I look on netgalley but honestly nine times out of ten I won’t request anything because I just can’t commit.

    • Laura

      ARCs do probably provide a great opportunity to read something outside your usual genres, but I guess that does increase the likelihood that you won’t like it.
      ARCS do seem like quite a commitment though, so I can see why that might be a problem when you are so busy (as I’d imagine you are with two kids!). I blog purely for fun too, and I know it would start to feel a lot less fun with deadlines hanging over my head.

  14. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    You clearly know what’s important and what works for you, so there’s no reason to read ARCs if you don’t want to. For me, I enjoy being able to contribute in my small way to “buzz” for books I really like — but that means being VERY selective about which ones I request. I also have so many older books on my list that I would not want to be bombarded by new releases. I use Netgalley, but very sparingly, as I prefer to request physical copies from publishers who still provide them. One thing that bugs me about Netgalley is that you can’t tell before requesting it what format the book is in. A lot of them turn out to be PDFs and that doesn’t work with my e-reader, so in the beginning when I was over-enthusiastic in my requests I ended up with a lot of books I couldn’t even read. If I do get ARCs, I want to make sure I’m actually going to read them.

    • Laura

      Being really selective about the ARCs you request sounds like the best way of going about it, and I can see why being part of the buzz surrounding a book you really love or are really excited about would be good. Maybe one day if there is a new release I really want to read I’ll go for it! 🙂
      I didn’t know that about some ARCs being PDFs, so that is good to know if I ever do start requesting them. I have a really old e-reader which I rarely use, but I wouldn’t imagine I’d be able to read PDF documents on there.

  15. Jaina

    My blog is new-ish (about nine months old), and I’ve only been getting ARCs for a few months. I’ve reviewed a grand total of one eARC, and that was only because it was the only way I could read a book by one of my favorite authors. Other than that, I’ve reviewed maybe a dozen or so ARCs. I really only request books I think I’ll love, most of the time because they’re by authors I adore, and half the time because they’re later books in series I’m already waiting for anyway. It’s been great, and I really haven’t had any difficulty reading/reviewing on time, because I request few enough that I can enjoy each book at my own pace.

    • Laura

      It sounds like you have a good system for requesting ARCs, and it’s great that you get to read books by authors you love through them – especially if you’re getting to read later books in series because it can be so annoying having to wait for them when you just want to know what happens next! 🙂

  16. C.J. @ebookclassics

    You make a lot of good points. I keep telling myself not to take on any more ARCs, but I can’t seem to resist free books. So my plan right now is to try to read a mix of both ARCs and old books. Do you participate in any read-alongs or similar events? I find that gives me some motivation to older books that on my TBR.

    • Laura

      It’s a wonder I’m not all over ARCs seen as they’re free books, but somehow I’ve managed to steer myself away from them.
      I have never yet participated in a read-along, but I have been looking out for one to join in with, because they look like a lot of fun!

  17. Sarah H

    When I started blogging I really excited about ARC’s, and I even registered on Netgalley. But…I have already so many books on my TBR list! To be honest, because of the size of my TBR list I kind of forgot about ARC’s. Besides, I was really busy this year, so I didn’t want to have the pressure of deadlines for reviews and what not.

    • Laura

      My TBR list is really huge too, and so I don’t need it to get any longer with ARCs either.
      ARCs would definitely be a pain too if you’re busy and have other deadlines, because you don’t want to feel under pressure over something that’s essentially a hobby. It’s meant to be fun! 🙂

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