Discussion: Reading Life After ARCs

Posted April 22nd, 2015 by in Discussions / 8 comments


January 1st, 2015 is a day that I will always associate with a sort of freedom. You see, I had decided that I wanted to try going without accepting any form of review request. That meant no NetGalley, no Edelweiss, no blog tours, and no physical ARCs from an author or publisher source. There were a few times that I really was tempted to let myself slide and accept just one but I held firm. After all, if I really wanted to read it, I could pick up a copy from my library or buy my own copy.

I am SO glad I made this decision.

Blogging has been so much less stressful without the addition of self-induced pressure to read each request by date X. I think once I let go of the notion that an ARC (physical or egalley) meant something more than what it is, they lost their appeal. I completely understand the excitement surrounding ARCs. As book bloggers we are passionate about reading and talking about books. It follows that if we’re able to read a book before it’s even available to the general public we feel a little bit like rock stars. Plus, you know, free books!

But is a book really free when you feel an obligation to it?

And that was the epiphany that led to my decision to no longer accept ARCs or finished copies in exchange for a review. I picked up a ton of ARCs from ALA mid-winter but I don’t have that one on one relationship that makes me place pressure on myself. There is no one to submit a review to. I’ll still read them because otherwise there wasn’t a point of shipping them all back to me. I also rediscovered the love of my local library and I can get all the free books I want there!

I like to talk books with my readers.

When I publish a review on release day, how many of my readers have had a chance to read it? What’s the likelihood that a reader will come back to an old post three weeks later to talk about a book they just finished?

If you love ARCs and they make your blogging life worth it, then by all means, get down with your bad self and keep on reading those ARCs! You’re providing the rest of us with a reference point for those hot new releases. ARCs and review requests just weren’t doing it for me anymore. My blog should make me happy and I wasn’t. Once I stopped feeling obligated to read ALL the ARCs and started giving my TBR some TLC, I found that I had been neglecting some really awesome books!

Do you take review requests/ARCs?



8 Responses to “Discussion: Reading Life After ARCs”

  1. Jen @ The Bookavid

    I do take review copies, but no ARCs anymore. I tend to forget that I ordered them and then I panick when they all arrive at once (Is it just me or do the publishers seem to release their novels all within like one week?!)
    Review copies are fine, as long as I really really really like the book and would have bought it anyway with my own money. However, I still buy a lot of books myself and I don’t think I will ever stop. I just can’t resist a good book sale 😉

    • Stephanie

      I think discretion is important. If it’s something that I really wanted to read, I’d probably go for it. There is just something in me that says “Oh, I HAVE to read this book now? Nope. Not interested anymore.”

      Oh if it were only a matter of saving money. Lol! I get such a rush from finding a deal on the ebooks I buy! I particularly love holding out and scoping it up for a fraction of what it would have cost me on day #1.

  2. About Happy Books

    Great discussion.

    I made the same decision like you last year. At that time I wasn’t requesting a lot of eARCs, only a few here and there. But I still didn’t like how the ARCs made me feel, I put myself under a lot of pressure to read them at a certain date and frankly soon after I started getting ARCs I realized that they are not that special compared to normal books.

    Now I only read the books I buy myself and I love it, I feel more relaxed and reading doesn’t feel like a chore any longer, so mission accomplished. I still read reviews on ARCs and normally like them, but not if the review is out weeks or even months before the pub date.

    Happy Reading!

    • Stephanie

      Exactly! I never once felt pressured by the publisher or anything like that. I was the one causing my own problems. I eliminated that by cutting out the source of anxiety induction. I agree. I primarily read ebooks (still read physical too but mostly digital now) and the state of some of the eARCs were just sad. It wasn’t worth the hassle to be honest.

      I don’t begrudge anyone who still enjoys getting and reading ARCs but if I can’t comment on a review, I don’t. I just want my blog to be more focused on discussion and I can’t do that if the general public doesn’t have access. 🙂

    • Stephanie

      If I had an open ended review date, I don’t think I’d mind either but I put so much pressure on meeting those deadlines and I feel like it’s always just a week or two from the time I’m approved/asked for the review. It’s just so much nicer to go and pick a book because it sounds good.

      It definitely shows! I can’t wait to just really immerse myself. I started in February with a no list rule and it’s been SO great since then. A little all over the place but still just really excellent reading!

  3. Liza Barrett

    I do take review copies, but I’ve been trying to limit myself in the quantity this year. I don’t have the kind of time that I used to to dedicate to sitting down and just reading, so I’ve been making an effort to make sure that the time that I DO get is dedicated to things that I WANT to do rather than things that I feel like I HAVE to do.

    • Stephanie

      I still have the same amount of time but my desire to actually write reviews is practically non-existent at this point. I think once I’ve had time to read for me that will come back too.

      The sheer amount of things thrown our way as book bloggers is a lot to wade through and can get overwhelming. I read a lot of different genres which only increases the things to sift through. You definitely have to be reading what you WANT to rather than wasting time on everything that comes your way. That’s when it becomes a chore. 🙁

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