Friday, 28 July 2017

Chuckles Chat #27 ARCs

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

This week I'm talking about ARCs.

Being in the UK, few publishers are willing to send paperbacks across the sea to us so most ARCS we get are by ebook from publishers, authors and places like Netgalley. ARCs are in plentiful supply in ebook form and in paper format at conventions so a lot of bloggers have easy access to them.

What is the attraction of ARCs? Well that is obvious really. Getting a free book before it is published allows us to read it early and give feedback that could influence the final edition of the book. We are reading before our non book blogger friends and waiting less time for the next book in a long awaited series. We can influence other readers with our early reviews and help to promote our favourite authors. We also get a chance to try and promote brand new authors first which is pretty exciting. We can use an ARC to decide whether or not we want to buy a copy for ourselves. Yes, there are many advantages to ARCs.

The question here is why are some of us not greatly interested in getting ARCs? Speaking for myself, there are several reasons. I like to read completed books not books that are uncorrected, or may be changed before publication. I'd rather wait and read the finished copy. It would be frustrating to read a book and like it then find a favourite few bits were changed or cut out of the final draft! What if you didn't like the finished copy as much as the ARC? I don't suppose that would happen very often but I have thought about it a few times!

I did try Netgalley briefly in 2013 but at that time as a new member, most of my requests were turned down except by one publisher. I read six books at that time and then had to take a blog break for personal reasons, so I never continued with Netgalley. I did request two books earlier this year but the quality was dreadful. The two files were in the dreaded pdf format and the writing was so faint and tiny that I was struggling to read it. You know what a bad pdf looks like-it's a nightmare even for those with great eyesight. It gave me a dreadful headache and of course I picked two books over 400 pages...ugh! After that struggle I stopped using Netgalley. If I keep getting files like that I'll have to struggle through them straining my eyes, or spend many days reading them on the computer which destroys my blogging time! Nope, I'll just stick with reading good quality epubs, Kindle files and nice paperbacks!

The temptation in having access to so many ARCs can of course lead to unlimited grabbing and a book pile the size of Mount Everest. If the unwary blogger isn't careful they will have a ton of books unread with limited deadlines and the chance that you might not get them all read before they are archived or time runs out. I've seen bloggers in a mad panic over having ARCs that are now unread beyond their publishing date. Bloggers are also admitting that ARCs might remain unread and reviews might never follow.

I have to ask, should there be a limit on Netgalley requests to ensure each book is being read and reviewed? I think maybe there should be. When an ARC is given to a blogger it is on the understanding that they will read and review it. For me it is like a contract y'know? If the publisher or author knew that you weren't going to read and review it would they send you a copy? No. So surely a blogger should follow through on this deal? If Netgalley only allowed a certain amount of ARCs to each blogger at a time, would more get reviewed? I do think that Netgalley needs to take responsibility for letting bloggers request too many things at one time or request more with an outstanding pile unread or publishers should maybe look at Netgalley stats before approving a blogger. Should you have a certain percentage of completed feedback on Netgalley before more ARCs are issued to you? Should there be a limit on how many requested books are sent to you? It would stop the understandable temptation to grab too much at one time.

Do you make use of ARCs? What do you like about them? If not, why do you not request ARCs? What is your Netgalley ratio and do you worry about it being too low? Do you struggle to get your ARCs read because you keep requesting more? Do you review all the books you request or run out of time? Does your pile of ARCs stop you reading your own books?

16 comments:

  1. I get the majority of my ARCs through Netgalley but love my Kindle so I have no problem reading on it. Plus, besides a typo here and there, even if they are "uncorrected," I don't find a lot of issues.

    I think it's great to be able to read and review for others, but I do think it gets out of hand. I like to showcase what I'm interested in so I show what ARCs I get off before I read them (which I do think helps with publicity) but that being said, if Netgalley put a limit on things, it would definitely be motivation to chose more wisely and help with deadlines/time frames. I don't think that would be a bad thing.

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    1. I probably would do better reading ARCs on a Kindle but I never could get my set up to work for some reason. I'm guessing it is because I don't use WiFi.

      Netgalley is a good thing but easy for bloggers to lose control!

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  2. I’ve never requested an ARC because I always have a pile of backlist books lying around. I’d probably go nuts with requesting ARCs and get myself into trouble.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. My pile is way too big without ARCs being added to it! I'd end up never getting the older books read...!

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  3. Netgalley is an evil den of temptation and it is far too easy to go crazy requesting books thinking you'll be turned down for many of them. But then they start pouring in and suddenly you are in over your head and want to run away from them. Don't ask me how I know this, haha. I do think Netgalley should do as Blogging for Books does and limited the ARC's based on feedback. B4B will not let you request a book until you submit a review for the last one. If they would set a limit to 3 or so I think it would probably be a good thing for everyone involved ;)

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    1. The Blogging for Books system sounds like a good one, making sure that reviews are given before a new book can be grabbed. I think Netgalley need to look at a similar system. I also reckon publishers need to speed up the decision about accepting or rejecting someone to stop people ending up with a huge pile when the accepts come in at the same time!

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  4. I fell down the rabbit hole with Netgalley at first. Missed some deadlines. Is it sick to be glad others have done this too? LOL Now I seldom request them as I have so many books already. But, I did just request one today. Thoroughly checked out everything I could about the author and discovered I'd read a couple of his books and loved him. I've not always had a good outcome with some I received either. The small font thing that I couldn't enlarge on any of my Kindles makes me wary.

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    1. I think when you first join there is a temptation to request everything so a limit would help until people start to find their feet with places like Netgalley.
      At the time I joined most rejected me as I hadn't been a member long enough so I never ended up in a mess with too many ARCs. I do have sympathy when the copies all arrive at once as that isn't really the blogger's fault!

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  5. For me the appeal of ARCs has nothing to do with getting a book early and everything to do with getting a book for free because I don't have a lot of money to spend on books, and I wouldn't get to read even half of what I do now if not for review copies. Anyway, like half the review copies I get are not even early copies, they're back listed ones that authors and Publishers still want more reviews on. But like you, I see review copies as a contract. I never went on that net Galley binge that most reviewers apparently did when they started. So my percentage is above 90% at the moment. But I'm not perfect. I do admit to having some review copies that I received a long time ago but just still haven't gotten around to because of mood reading. I don't think it's net galleys responsibility to control this though. I think it should remain up to the publishers to look at each person's profile and make a decision. If they want to take the risk on someone who has a 10% feedback ratio, I guess that's up to them.

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    1. If you are on a budget, things like Netgalley are a lifesaver to feed your book addiction. I use trading books I've done with, selling my old record collection, book vouchers etc to feed my addiction as much as possible. Cheap ebooks certainly help too! I fully get why mood reading is a problem with review copies-if you're not in the mood to read something you can't force it or you won't enjoy it. That would be really hard! I agree that publishers who go with bloggers already wading through a pile are asking for trouble and a lot of unreceived reviews!

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  6. I rarely read anything besides ARCs and that is because I have so many of them. I joined NetGalley in 2013 and have been using it ever since. My current ratio is 75% which isn't too far off from their suggested 80%. Sounds good right? Nope, I have over 100 books to read from that site alone. I am trying to get control over it but it is a slow process. I rarely see any major issues with review books. Minor typos are really the main thing. I am almost always able to read them on my kindle which my old eyes love.

    I try not to stress over it my big pile of ARCs but it is something I need to work on.

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    1. Oh wow, over 100 from Netgalley? Don't you have trouble with them being archived before you can read it? I couldn't limit myself to all new books when there are so many older books in the house to indulge in!

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  7. In NetGalley's guidelines, it actually advises bloggers to keep their read/request ratio at 80% or more to increase the likelihood of having your requests accepted, and this is a stat you and publishers can see in your profile. Some publishers don't care either way, though I've known a couple bloggers who have had their requests declined because their stats were too low, so it does happen. So while NetGalley itself doesn't limit requests, they've given a tool for publishers to decline bloggers if they think they are unlikely to follow through with a reviews, which is fair I think. Personally I like to keep my stats above 90% which is way more than is recommended, but I get antsy whenever it slips even a percentage below :D

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. It does sound like most publishers don't care if they don't get the reviews which seems a bit silly. I guess it's cheap to send out multiple digital copies and hope for the best.

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  8. yes I agree. To me its like a contract too so even if it takes me forever due to my frequent reading slumps I do read them all. I DNF many of them but I read enough so I can give good feedback like what was the reason I DNF it

    I have to ask, should there be a limit on Netgalley requests to ensure each book is being read and reviewed? I think maybe there should be. When an ARC is given to a blogger it is on the understanding that they will read and review it. For me it is like a contract y'know? If the publisher or author knew that you weren't going to read and review it would they send you a copy? No. So surely a blogger should follow through on this deal? If Netgalley only allowed a certain amount of ARCs to each blogger at a time, would more get reviewed? I do think that Netgalley needs to take responsibility for letting bloggers request too many things at one time or request more with an outstanding pile unread or publishers should maybe look at Netgalley stats before approving a blogger. Should you have a certain percentage of completed feedback on Netgalley before more ARCs are issued to you? Should there be a limit on how many requested books are sent to you? It would stop the understandable temptation to grab too much at one time.

    I like to discover new good authors that's the reason why I request them. My ratio is 70 right now. I haven't requested ARCs for two months now and I won't until I catch up with all the pending ARCs. Great post and great Qs.

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    1. Things like Netgalley should be good aids to a blogger but there is that temptation to request too much and who can resist the lure of free books! I think there needs to be checks and balances to stop bloggers getting too many and not getting reviews done.

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