March 15, 2013

Why I Love and Kinda Dislike ARCs All at the Same Time

Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

**PLEASE NOTE: This post was in no way written with any malicious intent towards anyone or anything in the publishing industry. I love ARCs. I do. They're wonderful, vital things that serve A GREAT PURPOSE. I just have feels and I want to share them on my blog. So please don't take it any other way.** 

To start his post off, I'd like to quickly explain what an ARC is to the non-bloggers out there. ARC stands for Advanced Reader's Copy. Most books (except for THE REALLY BIGS ONES of the JK Rowling caliber) are generally printed as proofs for publishers to distribute to bloggers, librarians, booksellers, authors, agents, etc. in order to create buzz about a book and, in the case of librarians and booksellers, allow for professionals to figure out how many books to order for their establishment. I'm sure there are a ton of other reasons for ARCs that I'm not aware of and a bunch of other bits and bobs (like the great expense to create these ARCs that are never ever meant to be sold ever under no circumstances so if you SEE THEM FOR SALE ANYWHERE, say something. It's not legal) that should be mentioned, but that's not the point of this post.

The point of this post is discuss why I both love and kinda dislike ARCS.

I know. You're all probably thinking: WHAT'S TO NOT ADORE?!?!?! If you're an experienced blogger, or happen to know an experienced blogger who is generous and will pass the book on to you, the less experienced blogger, or are lucky enough to a giveaway somewhere, ARCs are GREATGREATGREAT. You get to wrap your grabby hands around a book that's not been published yet and savor the words (that may or may not be slightly altered in the finished product) as early as a few months before the scheduled release. And let me tell you, as a girl who's been lucky enough to wrap HER grabby hands around an ARC or two due to the kindness of others and the winning of a contest or two, it's pretty glorious - even if that ARC has been published by the time it gets to you (if you're wondering how that happens, go check out the ARCycling website and love me for the referral, would you?).

So I do love ARCs. I DO. And I also know that they're a great marketing tool for publishers, agents and authors alike. They're brilliant for the book industry and, as a girl who wants to go into publishing, I am ALL. FOR. THAT. I would probably sell my soul to ensure the publication of MOAR BOOKS FOREVER AND EVER. 

I'm not sure if this is the right gif to use here, but I wanted to
use one and you can't really go wrong with Liz Lemon.

BUT. And there is a BUT, otherwise this post wouldn't exist, as with most things I love in this world, sometimes I can't help but dislike ARCs JUST A LITTLE BIT.

Maybe it's jealousy. Y'know: You WANT THAT BOOK SO MUCH and you know other people have read the heart-stopping words on the pretty pages weeks and months before you'll be able to and that green monster everyone wants to pretend doesn't live in the darkest place of their hearts roars to the front of everything and eats your insides for an afternoon snack. But it's more than jealousy for me, I think.   

There are two reasons I think I kinda dislike ARCS.

1. Sometimes ARC-getting can seem like a competition and since I'm pretty much always honest with you guys, I should probably disclose that I am NOT a very competitive person. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was born with a "fear of rabid competitiveness" gene instead of the standard "competitive" gene everyone else seems to have. I don't know if this is a bad thing, but I DO know it's definitely why Pottermore didn't sort me into Slytherin (Haters gonna hate: I'm a Hufflepuff).

That's not me. But it should have been.

And yeah, I know, competition is HEALTHY and:

This is basically The Whole World

But, honestly, when people get all:

I kind of get all SOMEBODY SAAAAAAVE ME (I tried to find a Smallville gif for this one. I failed. Picture Tom Welling instead). But I KNOW this world runs on competition and so I deal with it when it comes to the workplace and school and whatever else. I just wish it didn't have to take over my hobbies as well. Like, I book blog to talk books and make friends, not worry about stats and ARCs and I don't even know what else. That's not to say I don't want stats and ARCs and I don't even know what else, but I kind of wish it didn't have all of the competition attached.

2. My second reason is a similarly personal and emotional, like the first. And that is: I miss my life before ARCs - when a book I really wanted to read had a set publication date and, even though I probably really WOULD sell my soul to get my hands on one or two of them a bit earlier, that publication date was the bottom line. MAYBE your bookstore MIGHT put the book out a day or two early for a variety of reasons, but never weeks in advance. Never a month ahead of time.

Here's what would go down before ARCs, the experience I seem to miss so much:

  • You and your one or two other book-loving friends wait with baited breath until that Barnes and Noble (or Amazon or Book Depository or whatever) box appears on your doorstep. Or until the last bell rings and you're able to RUN OUT to the nearest bookstore and breathlessly ask a bewildered salesperson WHERE the newest book-by-your-favorite-author is because you need it NOWNOWNOW. 

  • Then you all sit down and RACE through the book, ignoring all of the real-world-stuff until it's all gone and your heart is once again full with the words from the great authors you love. 

  • The best part?: The ONLY thing that dictates who's read the entirety of the book first is how fast a person can read, not what connections or skills or job or blog stats they've achieved through their awesomeness (because everyone I know who gets ARCs from publishers IS TRULY AMAZING AND THIS POST IS IN NO WAY MEANT TO INDICATE OTHERWISE). 

You guys are all Sailor Moon Awesome,
which is basically as high as the Awesome Scale goes

I dunno. Call me a romantic Hufflepuff, read me a fairy tale bedtime story and wish me goodnight at this point, I guess. Because, it could just be jealousy, or perhaps I'm just a non-competitive baby child or MAYBE it's nostalgia for a time when I didn't know lots of people read books before Book Birthdays, but every now and again I just want to pretend like ARCs don't exist (EVEN THOUGH I KNOW WE NEED THEM. Please. Don't think I'm saying we should get rid of the ARCS. They are absolutely necessary. I know this).

And so I turn the floor to you, my darlings. Do you ever wish for a simpler time? Or is it all ARCs, all the way? Talk to me, lovelies, tell me all of YOUR feels in the comments below!



    I'm obviously kidding!

    Great post though! I think I could do without the competition aspect of it. For some people it does seem like a reason to brag. But not all of them do this, and others are just trying to get you interested. It's all about tone, people.

    You know... I was never that into new releases that I would stake out the bookstore for a new book. Is this shocking? Harry Potter was the only time I preordered ANYTHING, and I like that now I know (like music/dvds) new books come out on Tuesday. It's a nice treat to go to the store and see all the shiny new covers.

    I was always the kind of person to hang out in the new release section or the "new writers" and pick something fun off the tables. But now it's a different kind of ball game.

    One thing I've sort of gained in the ARC reading game is that I preorder way more and more than likely, it's for a friend who I think has to read this now. Or the title also gets added to my "shopping list" for future holidays. So in that way it is nice.

    The non-competitive thing makes me laugh because I am somewhat competitive but not like let's step on all the little people. I like things to happen to good people, and also the people who most deserve it. Maybe that's sometime my issue too? Not sure.

    Anyway, great post! Was this a long comment or what?


      Also, a lot of the reason for my multiple I DON'T WANT TO OFFEND ANYONES is because I feel like a lot of the times people take things the wrong way and I never want anyone getting anyone getting angrypants on my blog when that's just not necessary, y'know?

      As for not pre-ordering or stalking new releases, I'd say that's normal in real life. I only did it for the BIG AUTHORS I loved whose new books were in the emails BN loves to send me. For the smaller-time authors I like, it's more like: *walks into store* *browses YA section* *spots new book by lovely author I love* *is surprised* *grabby hands grab* *jumps up and down* *runs to check out*.

      I dunno. I obviously think big time reviewers DESERVE arcs, I just think it changes the reading game and I'm not sure I always love that. It's like technology. I kind of like the idea of a life without it, but obviously I want it otherwise I wouldn't be here. So yeah.

      Thanks for stopping by!!! ^_^

  2. I can actually completely agree with your views on ARCs, as I truly believe there's are good things and not-so-good things about them, especially in the world of book blogging.

    I love that ARCs give us the opportunity to read a book (especially one we're anticipating!) before it gets published. It helps spread the buzz about the book before it's released, and it also makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to be given the amazing privilege of an ARC in my hands. I appreciate the fact that I get to have this one of a kind experience in my life.

    But I do kind of miss the sweet anticipation of waiting for that book I've been waiting on forever to be released at a bookstore! It used to be that I couldn't wait to get my hands on something, and would camp out at my local bookstore just to get my hands on it. Apart from the books I was waiting on, my method of choice for picking new books was always random - I'd go to a bookstore, pick out a new title and go home to devour it. Sure it meant I'd spend money on some duds, but more often than not, I'd get the sweet surprise of a new one to love!

    I know that this comment might not be making any sense, but overall, I can say that I appreciate ARCs, but I appreciate finished books even more ;)

    1. Girl, I get you. It's HARD to find the balance, like with anything in life. And let's be real, if publishers start sending me ARCs, I WILL LIKE IT. But yeah. Balance. Find it? >.<

      Also: we can still camp out at bookstores together, if you want! ^_^

  3. I like ARCs in the way that I like that I can read reviews for a book before it's out so that by the time it's released, I'll know for sure whether I want to read it or not.

    I don't get too many ARCs, but that's mostly by choice. Yeah, it's neat to help spread the buzz to others, but I like to read a book when a majority of the public is so that I can squee with everyone. It's hard being one of the few who have read the book and not able to talk about it. I do sometimes feel behind because I'll be reading books that my other friends have already read and blogged about, but it doesn't really matter to me because I enjoy the way I do things.

    Great post by the way! Love the gif of Tina Fey.

    1. I kind of wish BIG BOOKS didn't have ARCs. Like, smaller time than Harry Potter but bigger time than... I dunno... something most everyone hasn't heard of? So like, all the big dystopian trilogies would be out and whatever else. Because publishers know people are going to read those, right? And getting those ARCs is kind of a huge race. But I think ARCs are great for lesser known books or debut authors or standalones etc. because those are the books that NEED the hype.

      I don't know. Maybe that's just crazy talk. But I'm glad you like the Tina Fey gif! ^_^

  4. You're right. You can't go wrong with Liz Lemon.

    I like getting ARCs, I'm not going to lie. I have major grabby hands and I wants them allllll! However, this is typically only for books that I probably wouldn't read under normal circumstances. If it's a book I really want to read, I don't care about the ARC because hey, I'm GOING to read it anyway!

    I do like sharing them though. Like if I have one and I know someone who wants to read it or would really like it, I like passing it along (or vice versa). That's what they're there for, to generate buzz. But am I going to fight someone for it? Or write epic posts about getting all the ARCs? No... I may tweet about it if I it's one I'm super excited about... but that's it.

    Since I really try to be frugal when it comes to new books and buying them, I limit myself to buying books. But there is really no greater feeling in the WORLD than seeing a package on your doorstep and KNOWING it's a book that you ordered and it finally came in! The equivalent would be buying the book at your favorite bookstore and running home to read it. That is a true joy that no ARC can bring.

    Love this post! Glad you shared your thoughts on it!

    1. SHARING ARCS IS THE BEST IDEA EVER. I like it. If I ever get any, I will DO THAT. Also YES to getting books that you bought. The beeeesssstttt. But getting packages in any way shape or form is always the best. It's like OOOH WHAT'S IN THIS BOX?!?

      Thanks for loving the post. And commenting!! ^_^

  5. OhMyGosh this this this this THIS!!! I mean, I LOVE the *idea* of ARCs and all, but when I considered myself "accepting" them they made blogging SUPER stressful for me. I would read about all the ARCs everyone else was getting and go all *sadface* "nobody likes me, I didn't get that one!" OR I would be so desperate to get my hands on that one ARC that I would completely forget about the 10 other books I'd borrowed from the library. OR, even worse, an ARC would create so. much. DRAMA that I suddenly wouldn't want to read it even though the blurb made it sound so epic (and I try my very hardest not to judge a book by anything other than THE BOOK, you know?) So, I've effectively banned myself from ARCs. I know, it's not for everyone. But it makes my blogging life SO MUCH EASIER! My library is very good about getting me whatever I want (through Inter-library-loan if necessary) so I rarely have to wait more than a few days after a book comes out to get it, and it's still JUST AS GOOD as if I'd read it a week before. I have hundreds of books on my TBR list as it is - why complicate matters by adding books that haven't even been published yet, right?

    1. RIGHT?! DON'T COMPLICATE THE TBR LIST! I also feel like ARCs makes it hard for me to read books pubbed before this year. I want to read the oldies too, y'know? (hilarious that I'm thinking of 2011 as old, but at the speed YA books are being put out, IT IS!).

      I'm IMPRESSED that you've banned yourself from ARCs. I don't know if I could be that strong. But so far I haven't requested any. Just borrowed and received at blogging events. So we'll see how it goes! I know that if I do ever request it'll be in MODERATION. I have too many books I hate the idea of taking on more than I can handle/neglecting what's already on my nightstand.

  6. Oh I love this post so much! I've only recently read a few books for review, and those were all from NetGalley. I just created my account about a month ago, even though I've been blogging for a while. I don't know, I'm just not really that interested in reading ARCs. And that makes one of the weirdos of the blogging world. Almost every single book I've reviewed on my blog has been gifted to me for holidays/birthdays, purchased by me or from my library. I'm not sure why it is that I don't really want to read ARCs. I *think* it's because I don't want to change so much as a reader. I read pretty eclectically, and I know that ARCs would probably change that. But I still know what you mean about that feeling where you look at someone's book pile post and think, "WAHHH! I want all the books, too." Haha!

    AND OMG ANOTHER NOT REALLY COMPETITIVE PERSON! Can we just hug and agree to be not like everyone else? Seriously, it's why I couldn't play group sports. I didn't care enough about losing to fight to win. OOPS! Sorry I'm not sorry, Hahaha!

    1. I think my issue is that sometimes, when I play games (mostly of the board variety), I DO get competitive. But I don't really like the way that makes me feel or behave. I'm fairly mellow and that's a lot of anxiety and anticipation and >.< I don't like it. I much prefer to share and laugh and eat cookies.

      But I'm trying to be like you, I think - as in, I'm trying to be less interested in ARCs. We'll see how it goes. >.>


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