A big part of the book blogging community is ARCs, or Advanced Reader Copies of books that reviewers get months before the books even hit the shelves. Really big bloggers already have towering stacks of Winter 2013 and 2014 books, while smaller bloggers might only have a handful as well as some egalleys from NetGalley. I’m not going to talk about the people who get ARCs, though – instead, I’m going to talk about the reasons I don’t want to get ARCs.
Now, before I even talk about that, I’m going to make one thing clear – the main reason I don’t get ARCs is because I’m a very small blog. If I tried to get ARCs, I probably wouldn’t be approved because I just don’t get the amount of traffic that other blogs do. I could be wrong – if I signed up on NetGalley today and tried to get something, I might be able to, who knows – but I’m not a big blog that has publishers begging me to read their books. There’s nothing wrong with blogs that do – I love those blogs and getting the chance to hear their thoughts on books before they even come out so I know if I should give them a chance or not. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting ARCs, just like there’s nothing wrong with not getting them. This discussion post is mostly hypothetical – if I was able to get ARCs, I would probably turn them down for these following reasons:
1. Privacy: My privacy is very important to me. I use a fake name for this blog and have a separate email, Twitter, etc. set up so that I don’t have to use my real name. I don’t have a super-unique-no-one-else-could-ever-possibly-have-my-name, but it’s still unique enough, especially when paired with my last name, so I prefer remaining a bit more anonymous. Years of hearing about how terrifying the internet is and how easy someone can track you down in loads of internet safety talks at school have shied me away from using my real name except for my personal Facebook and Twitter, which I use for staying connected with friends and family. If I were to get ARCs, I think it would be difficult to do so without using personal information, especially when it comes to physical ARCs, which you get through the mail. Now, I don’t have experience with ARCs, so I could be wrong, but I feel better about keeping my personal information private and not bothering.
2. Pressure: Again, I’ve never gotten ARCs before, so maybe this isn’t true, but I think I would feel a bit stressed out about getting ARCs. Negative reviews (which used in a constructive criticism way) can be very helpful, and ARCs aren’t distributed for the sole purpose of getting good reviews (although you know publishers probably hope that every single person that reads the book will love it), but I would still probably feel nervous about posting a negative review for the ARC. I think negative reviews are very helpful, and when I’m on the fence about a book, I often check out the one and two star reviews on Goodreads to see if the reviewer was bothered by things that would frustrate or infurtiate me as well; however, I know there would be a little part of me that felt a bit bad about giving a negative review. When I give negative reviews now, I know that I sought out the book, rather than the other way around. Again, I’m not saying you shouldn’t tell the truth about what you feel, but I know it would be just another thing to worry about.
3. So Many Books! There are probably millions of books in the world. I have over a hundred books on my Goodreads TBR shelf. I have dozens of books on the bookshelf in my room. I have plenty of books to read already. I don’t need to receive more books, especially when I get so many (free) (well, ARCs are free as well, but not the point) books from the library already. One thing that I often notice about big bloggers who get tons of ARCs is that they don’t really have the time to reread beloved books, if ever. I love rereading books – I almost exclusively buy books that I’ve already read and loved and know that I will want to reread. I want to take a break from reading new, untested books every once in a while to check out books I already know I love, especially when I’m stuck in a bit of a bad book streak. If I have new books pouring in all the time, I’ll feel obligated to read them first and put off rereading. As is, I can always renew books or check them out at a later date if I decide to put them off in favor of rereading a great book.
I’m sure there are plenty of other small reasons for shying away from ARCs, and the fact that I’m a smaller blog (which I’m perfectly happy with – less stress to always have new posts no matter how busy I am) definitely plays a big part in it, but ultimately I’m happy to be an ARC-free blog, and equally happy to rely on other books to read reviews about these lovely ARCs.