DISCUSSION: On ARCs & “Privilege”

Posted June 29, 2016 by Aly in Have I Gone Mad? // Discussions / 8 Comments

Quit side-eyeing me, yo.

It’s been a long time coming, but I couldn’t not put this post out there. I haven’t been blogging long (on Of Wonderland, previously known as Bookshelf Reflections for a year, and on 100% Rock Magazine for almost two years) and I’m still in that newbie phase where, whenever I receive an ARC, I freak out for six months and almost pee myself with excitement. It’s a fun novelty, to have a book turn up at your door that isn’t out yet, and man, I feel special every time it happens.

And it’s the same for digital ARCs. I remember, before Christmas, Epic Reads did an ARC drop on Edelweiss and I went on a requesting spree (I’m talking 15 books, people. Fifteen.) and then I spent three weeks agonising over the fact that I hadn’t been accepted or declined to read them. IT WAS TENSE, GUYS. I call that time “The Great Bookish Hole of Doom.” Poor Inge had to put up with me whinging, “But what if they say no?” and “But what if they say yes?!” Dark times, dark times.

Anyway. When I was actually approved for those books, I freaked out, flailed, and then cried over the fact that it meant bingeing fifteen extra books I definitely did not have time to read, and write out reviews faster than the book gods intended. I had finger cramps that lasted months.

Where am I going with this, you might be asking? It’s simple: unfortunately, a few people think bloggers are “entitled” to ARCs and can get very shitty, very rude, and very mean about it. ARC envy is common knowledge, and it happens to the best of us. When my friends got back from BEA and sent me pictures of their hauls, I just wanted to reach through the screen, grab the pretties and run away with them. But at the same time, I was ludicrously happy for them — these are anticipated releases that we’d all been angsting over since their announcements, and my friends managed to snag some copies! It was amazing! And even though I didn’t have the books, it didn’t matter to me, because I have them on preorder anyway.

It’s simple: publishers don’t owe you anything, and you don’t owe them anything. 

Here’s the thing: you should be blogging for the love of blogging. Because you love books and you want to share that with other booklovers. Because you want to speak to people who 100% get you, when you can’t talk to your real life friends because they aren’t readers. If you’re blogging for books… well, you shouldn’t be blogging. Yes, receiving ARCs can factor in that (I was so excited when Steph on 100% said I should try requesting books because FREE BOOKS) but it shouldn’t be the whole reason as to why you’re blogging. In my opinion, it kills all the fun. And you can totally tell when someone is in it for the ARCs, and not for the love of books.

Some people, though, don’t get the message. And even if those people are sent an ARC, they want more: for their “collection.” (Although it still blows my mind how people can ‘collect’ five copies of the same book — same cover, paperback/hardback, with literally nothing indistinguishable from the first four.)  If you’re requesting more than one ARC from the publisher with the intention of keeping them to yourself, you are, essentially, taking away the opportunity for the publisher/author to gain more reviews/marketing. Which is what ARCs are for. By having two ARCs and keeping both to yourself, the publisher will be getting one less review out there. It might not sound like much, but 1 + 1 + 1… you get the picture.

And it’s even worse when you are declined for a book, but you know that someone, out there, has five ARCs of the same book, all sent by the publisher. Because you wonder, “Well, why can’t have one?” and then you have to yank yourself out of that spiral faster than lightning, because nothing good can come from it. Ever. Thankfully, I have never gotten in an ARC feud, and never want to, but I’ve witnessed how those things go down on Twitter, and they are not pretty.

My point is: be envious. Be happy. And if you get an ARC, be grateful. Don’t be rude, don’t be malicious, and don’t throw out snarky comments to those who do have an ARC you want. Because that person is human and has feelings and receiving that book could’ve made a bad day go that much better, and you’re ruining it. If you can’t get an ARC you want, there are other ways to get them. I’ve traded books on the #booksfortrade tag on Twitter, and it’s been a really successful endeavor.  For swapping books with someone, you can get something you really want by giving them something they really want — and I’ve made some new friends through it, too! It’s a win/win situation. (Shout out to Jen! Our friendship started by trading on #booksfortrade and it’s gotten stronger ever since!)

Again, publishers don’t owe you anything. Don’t scream and shout because they said no. A lot of things factor in the approval of an ARC: your blog’s statistics, how far your reviewing/talking about it will reach and, the most important of all, territorial rights. If you live in the butt-crack of nowhere, chances are, you won’t get approved for a lot of books. But that’s okay! Because I don’t, and I live in England. It’s all about marketing, yo. And sometimes, we don’t make the cut. So when you’re declined, just look at your shelves, or go to the library or the bookstore, and read something new. It’s just as good.

I have been super grateful for every book I’ve been sent, and it makes my heart so happy when my friends receive bookish goodness in the mail, too.


Have you guys stumbled onto something similar to what I’m talking about? How do you deal with ARC envy? Let us discuss in the comments!


8 responses to “DISCUSSION: On ARCs & “Privilege”

  1. Of course I’ll be beyond happy and gratful if I’ll ever recieve an ARC for review. It’s part of the fun of being a book blogger. But it’s not why I blog. I opened my blog – Magiverse – because I wanted to share my love for books with the world. There were so many times I read an amazing book and had no one to talk to, no one to listen or fangirl or rave about it with me. So I opened a blog, and every time I make a new post… I’m happy (:

    I actually do live pretty much in the middle of nowhere (“the butt-crack of nowhere” as you said ‘^^), so I’ll be having a hard time getting physical ARCs in the future. But there are always e-ARCs. Or, well, wait for the book along with the rest of the world. Right now I’m counting the seconds for Nevernight.

    This is such a well-written post talking about a subject I’m sure we all pondered about someday.

    My blog: http://magiverse.blogspot.co.il/

  2. It’s always seemed crazy to me when bloggers complain about having to buy a book because they haven’t been sent an ARC – but I guess they don’t do it maliciously, so I shouldn’t be mean about it either. I’m just glad it makes for a good book haul video, to be honest!

    I’ve had one ARC in my life, and I won it in a giveaway. Excitement doesn’t even cover it – I’d been looking forward to that particular book for months and ARG I WAS OVERFLOWING WITH HAPPINESS.

    Sorry. I overflowed a bit then too. But great post, Inge! I really enjoyed it.

  3. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I totally think it’s okay to be envious over books.? But like you said: It’s how you react!! Be secretly envious and really wish you could’ve got one but dooooon’t be rude or shitty about it to other people! THAT’S JUST BAD MANNERS.
    And I like how you said that we also don’t owe publishers anything too! I often hear the “publishers don’t owe us” around the blogosphere, but it goes both way. It’s a mutual agreement that they give us books and we do free publicity. But neither party has to keep doing it!
    Althoooough, I have to admit, I was one of “those bloggers” who started book blogging for the ARCs? They don’t mean as much to me now as they did (maybe I’ve had my fill?? hahha) but YEAH. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing at all to be blogging for ARCs. If a bookworm doesn’t have enough money and really really loves books, it’s a great way to start a collection! 😀 Obviously I think you have to love blogging too, but if you love reading/reviewing I think it all goes hand in hand. BUT ANYWAY, YEAH RANDOM RABBIT TRAIL THERE.
    Very interesting post, Aly! 😀

  4. gotmybook2

    Just today I was told by an audiobook publisher to come back later when my blog was bigger. I sort of expected it, but I went ahead and tried because another big publisher did send me a book. I was sad for awhile about the rejection, but I will be on Cloud 9 over the book I did get for weeks (since it is from my favorite series).

    I try to see it as motivation when a bigger blogger gets a great book; if I work hard enough, maybe I will get there some day.

    My Most Recent Discussion: Hasn’t Killed Me Yet: Living with Chronic TBR Overflow

  5. Funny thing is I didn’t even know something like “ARCs” existed when I first started blogging. Later, when I happened to get a few e-ARCs I’d mention it to friends and they’d also be like “what’s that?” LOL but once I “”discovered”” them, the ARC envy followed pretty quickly. (I mean not to the extent, where I expected publishers to send me free stuff just because I made a blog and posted every other day.) Mostly, I had the mindset that if I grew my blog enough, publishers would notice me and maybe accept my requests. But like you said, it kills the fun. Most of my requests would get declined and that alongwith posts like this are a pretty good wakeup call to stop *only* focusing on this somewhat great, somewhat frustrating aspect of blogging. Oh and I literally live in the butt-crack-of-nowhere lol but thank god for Netgalley and e-ARCs. (I also don’t get the point of collecting books that look exactly the same haha.)

    – Rachana @ Spun

  6. I think it’s easy to become envious about ARCs if you are a beginner blogger who doesn’t get them or perhaps doesn’t blog or booktube and still hopes to get them. It’s also easy to move on from that envy but perhaps there are some people out there who are truly bothered and take the envy a little farther. I’ve never seen anyone overly upset about someone else getting an arc but I suppose it does happen. I didn’t know about ARCs when I first started blogging and only recently (years later) received my first physical arc from a publisher. It was really such an exciting moment and something I hope everyone who wants to enjoy arcs for the right reasons gets to experience as well. 🙂

  7. I get mega confused when people show hauls with 15+ ARCs, and I’m like: you won’t read all that, so why do you have them? I only request ARCs if I intend to review them – including eARCs. I couldn’t read as much as a lot of people regularly haul, and I consider myself a quick reader, so why are they bothering? Having the ARC doesn’t mean anything if you don’t value the contents!

Leave a Reply