10 Ways not to be a douchebag with your ARCs

21 June, 2012 Musing Musers, Uncategorized 40 comments

Shannon Messenger did a blog post yesterday about people selling their BEA ARCs on ebay.  Selling ARCs on ebay is nothing new but it pisses me off every time I hear about it being done.

After all, ARCs specifically say on them–SEVERAL TIMES–that they are “NOT FOR SALE.”  They’re a marketing tool the publishers produce–at a HIGHER cost per book than finished hardcovers–so that they can get the ARC in the hands of reviewers and hopefully generate some buzz and excitement for the book’s release. Authors also receive no money from the unauthorized sale of an ARC, so anyone who sells them is *technically* stealing from us.

When you sell ARCs on ebay it makes all book bloggers look shitty.  Like all we’re out to do is take.  I’m not saying my soul purpose in life is to be fairy dust on author promotions or anything ridiculous like that.  But I blog about books because I love them.  Because books fill me with an unholy passion that I must either unleash upon the world or repress until it creates its own black hole and sucks you all down into the cavity where my heart used to exist in order to force you to feel as I do.

And if you’re selling ARCs on ebay then you, my friend, are shitting in the face of those authors, and their publishing team, and the publishers.  If you’re giving away the galleys you get from Netgalley and Edelweiss to your friends and seeding it on sharing sites then you might as well go slap them in the face.  Go ahead.  Slap all of them in the face*.

I was emailing with an author today about an ARC of her book and she was sending it to me without DRM.  Her comment was, “Please don’t share it online.”

What has this come to when someone actually has to ask that of a book blogger?!  “Please don’t trash my house, murder my children and beat my husband with a pipe.  Please.”  This should go without saying!  If you don’t love books, if you’re not trying to spread the love, shake your fist at the hate, wanting to see your favourite authors flourish and get more book deals then what the hell are you doing?  Why are you a book blogger?

We get trusted with this stuff so that we can give our honest opinions and talk about the books.  For most of us it’s gotten to the point that actually buying a book after release date is a freakin’ tragedy.  “I love this author so much!  FAAAARRKKK!! I didn’t get approved for their book.  DAMN YOU HARCOURT!!!!!  Now I actually have to pay money for this!  Damn it!  What did I ever do to you?!”

There are a lot of book bloggers out there doing the right thing.  But here are ten useful things you can do with your ARCs – just in case you didn’t know that selling your ARCs on ebay was a giant, dickwad of a thing to do and that by doing so I curse you with the itch of a thousand louse and hope your children become fans of Justin Beiber.

10 Ways not to be a douchebag with your ARCs

1. Send your ARC on a book tour for other, less fortunate, bloggers to read.

2. Donate to a librarian or book seller.

3. Give the ARC away on your blog.

4. Return it to the author or publisher.

5. Tell people the book contains a genie who will give out wishes if it’s read at midnight, under a full moon, when the stars align and the book is then passed along.

6. Send it around the world having its picture taken at famous monuments and blog about it.

7. Offer it up as a sacrifice to a literacy god and BLOG ABOUT IT.

8. Fill the pages with notes of everything you loved and then leave it on the author’s doorstep as a launching pad to even more disturbing stalking methods.

9. Try to use it to solve an elaborate crime – forcing an entire police division to read it in the hopes that it contains clues to the murderer – then BLOG ABOUT IT.

10. Trick a religious sect into believing the book is evil by reading out several pages of the ARC, waggling your eyebrows every now and again to indicate there is some kind of nefarious innuendo.   Encourage them to buy lots of copies but before they burn them, recant and explain it was all a mistake and to prove it, they should read the books for themselves.

So there you have it.  Ten ways to not be a douchebag with your ARCs.  Remember, being a book blogger is a fantastic, amazing blessing and if you really love books, love authors and love publishing then you won’t abuse the system.

*Don’t really slap anyone in the face, please.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

40 Responses to “10 Ways not to be a douchebag with your ARCs”

  1. Alyssa Susanna

    Some of us aren’t lucky enough to go to events like BEA, or sometimes some of us get turnd down for ARC requests. It’s not fair to those people that want an ARC for the right reason and can’t get one. It’s not fair to the authors and publishing teams that spent so much time and money into the books.
    *shakes head*

  2. Ashleigh

    I’ve seen some of the ARCs that go up on eBay and it just drives me batty. I would beat up Smurfs to get some of those books and they’re just selling them for usually-outrageous prices?! I’ll try and get an ARC myself or wait until it comes out, thank you very much. I’ll drool over an ARC, but I won’t beg someone to send me their e-gallley of it. If they’re willing to trade a print ARC for another one that I have, then that’s okay.

    A few weeks ago, one blogger emailed me multiple times begging me to send her the galley of What’s Left of Me I got through Edelweiss. I kept telling her I couldn’t because that’s wrong and I would be in a lot of trouble, but she kept emailing. After I refused to reply to any of her emails, she stopped emailing me.
    Ashleigh recently posted…The Truth About Forever by Sarah DessenMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      @Ashleigh: I can’t stand people who beg to have galleys sent to them. What so I’m supposed to break the DRM and illegally release a galley and possibly ruin my reputation and betray the publishers/authors who send me these galleys so that YOU can get a free read?

      I don’t think so, buddy.

  3. Meg K.

    Great post, Kat. I’ve actually never seen any ARCs up on sale on eBay before (not that I go on eBay often, for that matter), but I agree that it’s a fucked-up thing to do. All those bloggers are just giving the innocent ones a bad name, and I don’t think it’s fair. They’re being selfish, honestly.

    And also–that list is heavenly. I live all the way over in Asia, so I don’t get to go to book signings and book expos (*sigh* everyone was tweeting about BEA, and it turned me into a huge cauldron of bubbling jealousy. I’m still jealous. And now there’s the ALA coming up. God help me. D:), and it’d really make my day if someone… you know… sent ARCs to me… But shipping’s expensive, dude, so there’s virtually zero chance of that happening. 🙁

    Thanks for sharing this!
    Meg K. recently posted…Cover Reveals: Blood-Kissed Sky & EverboundMy Profile

  4. Tatiana (The Readventurer)

    The fact that ARCs are BOUGHT is quite telling though. It means that some people are willing to pay serious money to read a book early. This a business avenue publishers should explore, if they think that the money they are losing because of such transactions are of real significance. Jane talked about it on Dear Author here:


    I think she is making some great points in regards to it.
    Tatiana (The Readventurer) recently posted…Book vs. Movie: Courtney Summers On The Woman In BlackMy Profile

  5. ashelynn hetland

    I had an author send me a review copy and asking not to share it online. It made me really sad, that she thought I would do that, or thought that she had to state that. 🙁

    great post! I keep my leftover ARCs in a box for giveaways on my blog, but I like the idea of sending it on a ARC tour for other bloggers. A way to share the book love. 😀
    ashelynn hetland recently posted…review: A Want So Wicked by Suzanne YoungMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      @ashelynn hetland: Yes. We usually giveaway all our ARCs that we don’t intend to keep. The only ARCs I usually keep are ones that are personally signed for me or personalized by the author. Those are insanely special and I hold them dear.

  6. Lexxie

    It never ceases to amaze me the lengths some people will go to in order to earn money. My love for books is so much bigger than my love for money!

    I am lucky that I can get e-galleys with my small blog that I just started, but it would never enter my mind to share those galleys with anyone!

    I love your list – especially number 10 😀
    Lexxie recently posted…At Last (Lucky Harbor #5) – Jill ShalvisMy Profile

  7. Katie @ Blook Girl

    I prefer #8 myself.

    But yes, I agree, people who sell ARCs are jerks. There’s a store here called Half-Price Books, where you can sell your books, records, CDs, and DVDs for a small amount of money, that the store then resells to someone else – at half-price. There are _always_ ARCs on the shelves of these stores. When you confront the staff about it, they shrug their shoulders and say they don’t care. Some even (try to) justify it by saying, “That book is already out anyway.” I want to scream: “That’s not the point!” but no one listens.

    • Pepper

      @Katie @ Blook Girl:

      I’ve seen ARCs at Goodwill (one was Holes!) before but I suppose that’s a slightly different situation since no money/store credit was received by the person who donated it. Still yeah I was a little bug eyed to see them in any sort of store. I haven’t said anything to any of the store employees I doubt they’d remove them even if they did understand why they shouldn’t be there.

    • Jade @ Ink Scratchers

      @Fangs for the Fantasy:

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving it away, the publishing contacts that I have always like it when I do that and will post about the giveaway to build up some buzz themselves, but I agree about selling – ARCs are privileges for bloggers and the fact that we get to read the book earlier and for free should be enough. Surely they don’t need to make a profit from the book since they’ve saved the $11/£7 that they would have had to pay for it anyway…

  8. Lexie B.

    Great post. Really, really great post. It just . . . honestly, it upsets me that book bloggers feel the need to sell ARCs when so many just want them for the pure pleasure of reading. We don’t blog because we expect it to reap great profits; we blog about books because we love them and we want to share that love with everyone we possibly can. The joy in receiving ARCs is the ability to read a highly-anticipated book ahead of time, not “Oh! I could probably make a fair amount off of this!”

    It’s sleazy, plain and simple. It’s like giving the finger to both the author and their publisher.

    P.S. I’m totally going to try #10. Sounds like a good plan.
    Lexie B. recently posted…Bikinis and Writing Camps and Extended HiatusesMy Profile

  9. Jenna

    Well now I’m in a pickle. My mom knows I’m a die hard fan of Libba Bray, and told me she got me a copy of The Diviners, God bless her heart. I was mystified because I know it doesn’t come out until September, and she has zero contacts in the literary world. Turns out, she got it on Ebay. Now I have a heartfelt gift that I feel guilty about. It’s too late to cancel the order, so what do I do? Offer to send it back to Ms. Bray? Send it off to my reader friends when I’m done? Ugh. What a delightful problem.

  10. Kayto

    Question/clarification: For #2, “[d]onate to a…book seller,” how would donating it to someone who would sell it be any different than selling it yourself on eBay, except for who actually gets the money?

    Although, a confession: I bought an ARC of Generation Dead by Daniel Waters from a thrift store some years ago, purely because I loved the cover but didn’t think I’d like it enough to find it at the library. and then it turned out so awesome that I bought the hardcovers of the next two.
    Kayto recently posted…GraduatingMy Profile

    • Anonymous

      @Kayto: I think what she means is donating it to a bookseller, for the bookseller to read/review – or so that the seller is able to have knowledge about it when it is finally released 🙂 not for the bookseller to turn around and make a profit! I used to work at borders and being gifted ARC’s was amazing. It was great to be able to give real feedback on a book that just released!

  11. K

    I’ve never tried to sell ARCs but I always try to swap them and it’s such a pain. I’m not a blogger, so I will occasionally win ARCs in giveaways and once I’m done reading them they just sit on my bookshelf. I’ve contacted people on GR with that book on their wishlist, asking if they’d want to swap one of their ARCs and they will be like “No, sorry I wish to keep all of the ARCs I currently have!” So, what the heck do you do with ARCs that are months old and (most) bloggers have already read them? I never knew(or thought about) that you could send them to their publisher. Maybe I will do that because if I read an ARC and I enjoy it, I buy the dang book to support the author!

  12. Kate C.

    Regarding #8: Do you think if I did that with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor would give me a copy of the sequel? Or make me her new best friend? Or give me a lock of her pink hair to rub on my laptop and make me a better writer???

  13. Amy @ Turn the Page

    Its never even occurred to me to sell the few ARC copies I have received.

    I mostly just swap them with other readers/bloggers or simply pass them on. I do keep one or two that I enjoyed. I asked my library if they wanted them but they wouldn’t take them.
    Amy @ Turn the Page recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (33)My Profile

  14. Cait H.

    It sometimes amazes me how hard it is to understand the huge Not For Sale printing on ARCs. If I don’t keep mine or use it in a class library, I give them away so another reader/blogger can have a chance to read/review it.

    Also, if libraries won’t take ARCs, please think of donating them to a school library or classroom! School librarians and teachers can and will take any book, and would really appreciate it.
    Cait H. recently posted…“Waiting On” Wednesday: Earth Girl by Janet EdwardsMy Profile

    • Knight

      @Cait H.:

      Word. My classroom library is filled with young adult novels. If a school librarian will not take them, I would ask the head of the ELA department to see if anyone in their department would be interested in the arcs.

      Besides, the worst thing that could happen to an arc at a school would be for those arcs to become “missing.” Teens are reading, arcs are not sold, and it works for publishers, because teens tend to also get book recommendations through word of mouth. (This year alone I have to replace 10 novels that went missing.)

      Win win for everyone!
      Knight recently posted…Where Have All the Characters of Color Gone?My Profile

  15. DeliaRemington

    This is spot on! I work in a library, and we use them as giveaways for special events or trivia question prizes on our Facebook page. We love them!

  16. AmandaPhillips

    Wow. First off, I did know about them being sold online because I saw another site mention it was happening. I’ve never seen it personally. Secondly, I didn’t know you could give it away to others! I’ve always just kept what has been given to me for review/beta services because it was entrusted to me before it went live on the markets. Granted, I usually deal with email copies and delete them when I’m done just so they don’t fall in the wrong hands if my cell gets stolen or whatever but I do have a print book or three sitting around the house.

  17. AmandaPhillips

    Wow. First off, I did know about them being sold online because I saw another site mention it was happening. I’ve never seen it personally. Secondly, I didn’t know you could give it away to others! I’ve always just kept what has been given to me for review/beta services because it was entrusted to me before it went live on the markets. Granted, I usually deal with email copies and delete them when I’m done just so they don’t fall in the wrong hands if my cell gets stolen or whatever but I do have a print book or three sitting around the house.

  18. woodwitchdame

    Awesome article Kat! After I send out ARC’s for a new release, I always see some of them pop up on ebay a few weeks later. I try not to let it bother me…even though I only send out limited ARC’s to bloggers who request them and members of my beta reading group. I just figured that’s the way it goes – but it’s rough to see. Thanks for letting others know how authors and other bloggers feel about it!
    I don’t know if you’ve ever read my venomous vampire series ALMOST HUMAN, but I’d be happy to send you a book anytime 🙂
    ~ Melanie Nowak

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