An ARC is an Advance Reader's Copy. I've sometimes seen it called an Advance Reading Copy, an Advance Reader's/Reading Edition, or a Digital Review Copy (which is an e-galley from sites like NetGalley and Edelweiss). It's an uncorrected proof of a book, a marketing tool used by publishers to promote an upcoming book. They give them to booksellers, librarians, reviewers, bloggers, and sometimes just readers in order to build buzz about a forthcoming title. They're not for sale and are not to be sold by their recipients, since they cost a publisher more than a final book (mostly since they don't gain a profit for that specific copy). For a bookworm, they're a great way to get your hands on a book months before it releases and you get to help build the hype for titles you particularly love. ARCs sound very awesome in concept - free books that you get to read long before it's published! I've already addressed why they aren't free for the publisher, but they're also not technically free for the recipient either. Although, bloggers don't have to review every title they receive, they are expected to review or give feedback on a good majority of them. But you're still getting a (hopefully) good book in exchange for your feedback, which I think is awesome. I'm happy to share my thoughts on books and recommend them to my friends and then share the book love by passing them around my friend circle.
I've received both physical and digital ARCs for about nine months at this point. Around the same time Arlene at Read Between the Lynes offered to let me review some of the YA ARCs they receive, I joined NetGalley. I also just joined Edelweiss a couple months ago. Here are the pros and cons of each type of galley.
E-galley Pros and Cons
- Pro- Publishers have more of these to share because they're less expensive to make, so you're more likely to be approved to review a title.
- Pro- You, as the recipient, are less likely to make a profit off of them, which is definitely a good thing (although people still pirate e-galleys, which is downright awful).
- Con- I've found it's harder to remember parts of the story and details that I'd want to mention in my review.
- Pro- They can be archived by the publisher by a certain date, therefore helping to prevent piracy to some extent.
- Con- Sometimes, the ARCs are archived a month or more before their date of publication, so it can totally screw up a reviewer's reading schedule.
Physical ARC Pros and Cons
- Pro- For me, I much prefer having a physical book in my hands. It makes it easier to flip back and reread something or flip through quickly to find something I wanted to remember for a review.
- Pro- Physical ARCs are much easier to share (not sell) with other book bloggers and fellow readers, which helps spread the word.
- Con- Unfortunately, physical copies are easier to sell illegally.
- Con- Once the publishing date has been reached, you're stuck with an ARC you may no longer need/want. (Side note: thankfully, there are programs like ARCycling and some libraries or schools will take ARCs for their shelves.)
- Pro- Most ARCs have the finished cover, so you can see it better than you do on a screen.
- Con- Physical ARCs take up a lot more space. My ARC shelf has stayed consistently low, but there have been a couple times where it's reached capacity and I've had to start stacking books.
Do you have any pros and cons to add to either type of galley? What are your thoughts on ARCs in general?