February 9, 2013

Pajama Musings - What would Noah do?

One of those controversial topics that will pop up time and again in the book blogging world is something I would like to discuss today. Contrary to most other debates (and rants, for that matter) my focus will not be on the mortal sin of cashing in on the holy ARC, but on how to treat it respectfully. In other words, I am going to ask myself (and you, dear fellow bloggers) the question - where do you park your ARCs? We might not know where Noah parked his after the flood receded, but that obviously had to do with its sheer size. Seeing how the bookish version of the ARC is far smaller, finding a nice place for them in our homes shouldn't be all that hard.

A short explanation to those of you who are absolutely clueless about what ARCs are - those are Advance Reading Copies of books soon to be published. These books are uncorrected proofs and are not for sale! For more info go here.

There are lots of things you are allowed to do with an ARC, and plenty of things you should never do. The latter case would include selling them. Apparently some buyers love the thrill of owning an ARC, viewing it as some sort of collector's item. Of course sometimes it may even happen that you think you purchase a finished copy of a book only to find an ARC in your mailbox. If you buy from private sellers, this isn't a thing unheard of. Now that we've established what not to do with an ARC, let's move on to what to do with it.

Read it.

Review it.

Shelf it.

Destroy it.

Woah! Did you read that correctly? You sure did. As much as the whole reading and reviewing and then safely storing those books away makes sense, to destroy them after the whole reviewing thing has been done, sounds awfully brutal. But it is indeed something that some publishers might ask you to do. Admittedly it has never happened to me personally, but I recently read about it on another blog (for the life of me, I don't remember which one it was).

Honestly, I don't think I could go through with it myself. I mean apart from the unspeakable crime of giving a book the ax, not even the most uncorrected proof copy, plastered with grammar and typographical mistakes, deserves such a fate. I think. And even if you're not as squeamish as yours truly - how to do it? Rip out the pages, put them in a shredder, then burn the remains? This is a horror story just waiting to happen.

Seriously, what's a book blogger to do? Seeing how I only own one ARC as publishers have, so far, usually sent me finished copies, I'm not confronted with any storage problems, but I know that many of my fellow book bloggers are faced with this conundrum. Even sharing them with other bloggers can be a double-edged sword sometimes, not to mention hosting a giveaway with the prize being an ARC.

My advice? Just keep the book on a shelf. Or if you really have no more room and need to get rid of them, ask the publisher who sent the ARCs to you. That way you can at least be certain you won't end up doing something that will make a publisher scratch you from their reviewer list.

So, tell me, where do you park your ARCs? Ever seen one turn up in a place where it wasn't supposed to be, eg on Ebay? Did you even get instructions from publishers on how to handle an ARC after you reviewed it? Please share.

9 comments:

  1. Great topic for discussion! So far I've managed to "recycle" ARCs by sending them to fellow bloggers. But they are starting to accumulate faster than I can get to the post office ;) Destroying a book..oh my word. I haven't been asked to do it and I sincerely hope that I never have to!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think sharing with fellow bloggers is definitely a good idea! Once I can no longer navigate through my apartment I might do just that ... :-D

      Delete
  2. I've never heard of UK publishers asking a proof to be destroyed. I can only think if it had serious errors that they would ask this. I don't pass mine on before publication (except in one case where I sent it to an author who probably would have got a copy if there were any left). But, if the book's been out a while and it isn't riddled with typos, I might offer them to book group.

    I keep a lot of them though. Depends if I enjoyed the book or if it's a fancy proof design.

    Lots of bloggers give their review copies to charity shops. I can't comment on how many of these are uncorrected proofs or finished copies (sometimes the finished copies are available well in advance of publication). I'm more likle to donate finished copies to charity myself. Publishers know people are doing this so I'm sure they'd speak up if there was a problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charity shops, now there's another neat idea!

      Delete
  3. I've actually purchased arcs at charity shops. and glad to get them for the price benefit to me and the support of the shop thru my purchase. not sure if other readers than reviewers would know the 'valuing' of arcs placed on them by publishers...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Must have been some of those ARCs Ellie donated that you managed to find at the charity shop! ;-)

      Delete
  4. I only deal with a few publishers and they have all said I could pass the book on (but never sell)

    I try to pass mine on to other bloggers so the book can be reviewed again. Almost everyone in my circle of blog buddies buys finished copies of the books they love so if they enjoy it it's still a win for the authors and publishers.

    I'm not sure if I could ever destroy a book but I have read one blogger say to do just that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Come to think of it, publishers never told me what I was allowed to do with ARCs or not. That doesn't mean that book bloggers shouldn't show a certain amount of responsibility. I guess what it boils down to, and I had that in mind already, is that I'll be sharing ARCs with fellow bloggers too.

      Delete
  5. I give them away through BookMooch - I'm always very clear that it's an ARC but I've never had any negative feedback about it.

    ReplyDelete