My thoughts on selling ARCs

Ok guys so this is an unpopular opinion of mine right, but I don’t think selling ARCs should be that big of a taboo. If you don’t know what an ARC is, they are uncorrected copies of a book that get sent out to some people before the release to generate hype for that book.

Now before you all slam me, hear me out.

  1. I don’t think selling OLD ARCs is bad.
    Just think about it. You were given an ARC 2 years ago, and now the book is published and you have the finished copy. You’re probably a blogger if you got an ARC. That means you probably have loads of books. How can you get rid of them? You can trade it off but there’s no guarantee that you’ll find something you want in a trade. Or give it away. But at the end, who gets it? A collector. Now that leads to my second point.
  2. The industry is partly to blame. So it’s collectors that want ARCs right? Collectors that are fans of a particular series? They’re probably the ones with 2 copies of each book, about 5 foreign editions and 2 other copies with different covers . What’s to say that they’re not buying every t-shirt and necklace that gets released? The industry fuels and encourages these collectors, so what’s the problem of buying an ARC to add to their collection? Who’s buying all the hundreds of different editions of classics that get released each year? Collectors.
  3. The common argument is that authors lose money because they’re not making sales. These collectors probably bought about 10 of each of their books. Ok I get it, authors aren’t making money. ARCs that are sold don’t get circulated anymore. They’re probably stored inside a bulletproof safe because erm… COLLECTORS? Do you really think that sold ARCs are going to be read? People that buy ARCs are very likely to buy all the other editions of the book that comes out too.

“Who would pay £100 for an uncorrected proof when you can just buy the finished thing for £7.99???”

Collectors. That’s who.

Now what I don’t think is ok is taking multiple copies of a book at book conventions. I live in the U. K where book conventions aren’t really a thing, and the few cons that exist aren’t strictly for publicists and bloggers. This means that ARCs don’t get given out at cons here, unlike America. There are many book conventions in America that give out loads of ARCs to blogger and publicists that attend them.

What I don’t think is ok is that people go to these conventions and take multiple copies of ARCs. Many bloggers go to these events, and hope to pick up the ARC of their most anticipated read of the year only to find out that they have all gone! These bloggers go home, cry on Twitter but are ultimately happy that they got other books and happy about seeing bloggers they knew online.

But then an hour later, angry tweets start popping up when some of these bloggers see that the book they wanted has been listed on eBay! What makes it worse is that multiple listings comes up! And some of these listings say something like, “3 copies left!”

These people that take them, had no intention of reading them, but rather to sell them. That isn’t ok. In my opinion, I think it is ok to take an extra copy for a blogger friend that couldn’t go, that you know that loves that author and has been heavily anticipating the release of said book.

This doesn’t mean that I think it is perfectly moral to take multiple copies of every book and give them out to all your friends. Other people pay to go to such places – your friend didn’t. Maybe taking one or two extra copies is fine, but taking 5 extra copies for giveaways, sales, trades etc. is not.

Now about giveaways and trades… Aren’t these essentially the same thing as sales? Sure, they’re not getting money. But they’re getting followers. They’re getting another book they want. They’re not going to read the book. They only took it to gain popularity and stats. If we break it down, isn’t this the same thing as sales? Personal gain?

I personally think that it is perfectly fine to trade or give away an ARC that someone has read and reviewed. You can choose to circulate it and increase the amount of reviews/publicity each ARC can generate. It’s not compulsory. Some bloggers like to keep and treasure their ARCs because they’re special.

But ok, what if 2 years has passed and you’re left with a copy you can’t keep anymore? It’s not really an “Advanced” copy anymore. It’s lost its promotional value and has become a collector’s item. At this point, I think that it is fine to sell it. As long as they aren’t trying to fool anyone by saying it’s a finished copy. Industries encourage collectors but slam them for buying ARCs which become collector items after a while.

What annoys me, is the sale of Harry Potter ARCs. Nobody bats an eye at it. They’re rare. They’re old. They’re sold for hundreds, and even thousands. Nobody blinks. Everyone just says that collectors buy it and it’s fine. ERM? ISN’T THIS THE ISSUE EVERYONE HAS BEEN CRYING OVER? ARCS FOR SALE? BUT IF IT’S HARRY POTTER IT’S FINE?


Oh and let’s remember bloggers don’t get paid for all their work. Giving books isn’t payment. We get books. but we have to spend hours to read it and then review it. Giving us books isn’t payment. Publishers give us books to review, not as payment. Vets have to operate on animals, and they get to cuddle those animals too. The cuddles aren’t payment. They’re still PAID.

So basically… what I’m saying is that people shouldn’t sell ARCs before publication date. Collectors can wait. Before publication date, just trade it around with other bloggers – they can read and review it. Selling it means that it’ll go into the hands of some collector. If you must sell it, then at least wait a while until well afteer the publication date. Don’t sell ARCs before then. They’re special promotional items that only privileged people recieve. After their promotional period, they become a collector’s item because of their often unique cover and the differences inside. As a blogger that would trade an ARC of a book I’m not fond of for an ARC of a favourite, I cannot be a hypocrite and slam the collectors that buy an ARC. What I do disagree about though, is the sales of ARC before their promotional period has ended. I would trade for an ARC of a book that has not come out yet, because I would review it therefore promoting it.

Hope this all made sense! This is just my opinion and I would love to hear yours 🙂 Do you think sales of ARCs are ever okay?

0 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Selling ARCs”

  1. I have to agree with you here, I can’t see anything wrong with selling ARCs after publication. Especially considering that so few ARCs are released, that in the long run, it’s really not hurting the publishing industry/ the author. And, like you said, if it’s mostly collectors paying for old ARCs, then they’ve definitely purchased that book at least once anyway. Great discussion!

  2. This is such an interesting discussion! Especially since it’s so controversial. But I agree with you… if an ARC is old or the book is already published then what is wrong with selling it? I mean, if an ARC was given to a charity shop or something and sold to raise money, it’s helping people and aiding a good cause. Although yeah, selling ARCs selfishly at the expense of others isn’t a good thing to do.
    Loved this so much! <3

  3. I 100% agree with you, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about a lot of the time One thing that does really irk me though is the people you mentioned who take multiple copies of the same ARC at conventions and things. I remember after last year’s YALC, taking to twitter to read all the buzz about the day and seeing people posting pictures of all the books they had bought -BRILLIANT- but then in that pile was (and I kid you not) FIVE copies of two different ARCS that were being given away. That is ten free ARCs going to ONE person who is only going to need two of them…I was very cross…especially as at YALC all of the ARCS ran out after around 10 minutes. Sorry, tangent, didn’t mean to get so cross sounding! But yeah after 2 years when the book is in widespread sale, I don’t understand why people get mad about it 🙂

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