Before I dive into this blog post, I just want to say hello. It’s been a while, I know, I know. And I am really bummed about it too. Are we still friends? We still are right? We all go through slumps right? I will make a post soon about where have I been and what have I been doing (or not doing) lately. I promise. Now onto the topic at hand.
As I was almost hopelessly trying to catch up on all the post I have missed out on all my favorite blogs, I came across this issue and I can’t help but give my piece of the cake to it as well. I have read the discussions by Jess @ Princessica of Books and Claire @ Blankslaters Reads and if you want more thoughts on this, you can visit their posts here and here.
First off, I just want to put it out there, I think ARCs are wonderful and are great ways to promote books which are yet to be released. They are ways to get reader feedback early on, so minor changes can be made if need be. They help create awareness about a certain book or author, and sort of create a buzz about new stuff. Indirectly, I also think that they become ways for readers, publishers, and authors connect and have intelligent discussions about books – after of course the natural flailing and/or helpless weeping.So in general, ARCs are good.
During the months that I have been involved in the book community here on the internet (wonderful people by the way) I saw how ARCs became a) a status symbol and b) a currency. Across all the social media platforms, it seems like ARCs just exploded out of nowhere and have rained on, as some would say, a privileged few. This statement may be contested, but it is a matter of discussion I am willing to engage into (so comment down below *wink*).
I am not gonna lie, I have been sent ARCs before, and I am very grateful for that. To be honest, I was surprised to be even contacted by an author. For a neophyte, that is a huge deal! They were indie books, but hey, no discrimination of any sorts. And like I have said before, some indie books and authors deserve much more credit and hype than they are getting. Now, some (or most) would say that if your get ARCs most people do not get their hands on, or if you have tons of ARCs being sent to you, then you are a HUGE DEAL as a book blogger. In my opinion, this is essentially true. The purpose of ARCs is for promotion like I’ve said earlier, so of course, the first ones on their list as to who gets ARCs sent to them would be the bloggers with a relatively larger following and readership. If you look at it with this point of view, then yes, I guess ARCs can be status symbols. HOWEVER, I do not think they should breed discrimination. Take me for example! I got ARCs and I am not even near 500 followers!
Also, I want to point out that the ‘larger’ book blogs have been around for quite some time, so they have built loyal readership (that a word? whatever). They’ve got time in. One thing I have learned in this journey is patience and hard work pays off.
Now, during the last few weeks, I have been seeing reactions about people selling ARCs or trading their ARCs. For the latter, I am all for it, but with the selling, I disagree. With the posts linked to this one, they have discussed a certain ‘special case’ where they ‘could probably justify’ selling the ARCs that a person owns. And though I disagree with selling something you got FOR FREE, maybe humane considerations get the best of me. Maybe offering them at a distinctly lower price? That is the only thing I would say about it as I still haven’t made a firm stand on that one.
Trading ARCs, I think, is a good way of spreading the word about books. That is the point after all right? The more people to talk about it the better. However, demanding for arm and leg in exchange for ARCs you own is not on my okay book. Advance Readers Copies are not meant to be used as currencies to obtain a certain amount of books. Nope.
If you started blogging, or want to start blogging just to get free books and ARCs. Stop. You are on the wrong track my friend.
And while we are on the topic of free books, discussion threads have dealt on the issue of some bloggers allegedly getting “paid” to post certain (5-star) reviews for books and authors. Well. This is a tough one to address. First of all, I believe in absolute transparency when it comes to reviewing books. Having said that, I think that receiving free books in exchange for only honest reviews is the way to go. After all, I write book reviews and posts about books because I want to share my opinions with others in the community as well. It is in my hope that my honest thoughts may be of help to others. But, I cannot say that the same is true for other bloggers. I am not naming anyone, or do I know someone who does, or am I saying that this really happens. All I can say is that as it is, I cannot condemn this activity. I am aware that people need to survive and doing that maybe one way of earning a living. What others do with their blogs is completely up to them, but personally, “selling” reviews in favor of the book is not something I will support or do. Absolutely not. Unless maybe you get paid to post your honest review.
So.. that is my take on the ARC shenanigan.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Let’s chat about it. I am planning to request ARCs soon. Do you have any advice or tips for me?