ARCS: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The book world has this super magical, amazing thing called ARCs. 

They are great. Really. And I didn’t even know they existed before I started blogging. Look at all I was missing out on !!!! For all my newbie blogger friends, this post is for you! You won’t miss out on precious months of ARC reading because you didn’t know what they were.

ARCs have also been the source of a lot of controversy in the book world. Are they a good thing???? A bad thing???? A bit of both????  I am in the mixed feelings camp. ARCs are great! They’re fun! But they also can cause so much stress. And jealousy. And be disappointing. This post will discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of ARCs.

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Before I can discuss all the components of ARCs, however, I should define it! ARCs are Advanced Reader Copies distributed by publishers or the authors to bloggers or book tubers in exchange for an honest review. Publishers and authors tend to use ARCs as a way to build hype for their upcoming book. Sometimes, they actually take the criticisms in your review into consideration and change the book! I know personally, in my Prodigy Prince review, I mentioned wanting more background into the political environment of the setting, and the lovely author emailed me to inform me that she added an explanation, as well as sent the explanation to me! This was a pretty gratifying moment, as I saw that book bloggers actually do have some power????

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There are two forms of ARCs- eARCs and physical ARCs. The majority of ARCs I receive are eARCs, which I get on Netgalley. Netgalley is a website where publishers post books that are open for reviewing, and you can request them. Then, the publishers either deny your request or accept it. If you’re accepted, you just have to post a review on the website and link them to where you post other reviews. It’s super easy, free, and a hole. Seriously though, when you first happen upon Netgalley it seems like a cornucopia of endless choices, but do not request every book you see because then you end up with tens of books to review and you are only actually interested in five of them, and it becomes a chore, not a pleasure. 

I heard there’s also another website, Edelweiss, to get eArcs from, but I personally have never used it, so I can’t offer advice for it.

Then there are the physical ARCs. There are a little bit of a magical unicorn to me, because free physical books???? That’s amazing. And it’s always seemed super hard for me to get. For the one physical ARC I received, I was actually contacted by the author through my blog (which can sometimes happen and is super exciting!). The wonderful Heather has a super great post about how to receive Physical ARCs, which I personally find super helpful and hope to put into practice.

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So now that you know what ARCs are and where to get them, it’s time to discuss all the good aspects of ARCs. And trust me, there is a lot.

  • Free books!
  • Is there anything better than free books?
  • Getting to read the book early so you feel #supercool
  • Helping to market books
  • Your review can actually have the power to change the book before it is officially published
  • You can establish relationships with authors and publishers which is always fun!
  • If it is highly anticipated, you’ll get a ton of reads

As you can see, there are a ton of reasons why ARCs are good and magical and amazing and why they are super fun to request.

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Butttt, it isn’t all sunshine and puppies and rainbows.

  • Sometimes ARCs are ill formatted. This might just bug me but like the spacing is wrong or there are a ton of grammatical errors and that makes it so hard to get through the book.
  • You can go through requesting binges and request too much and then fall behind on your reviews and then slowly get crushed by the evergrowing pile of reviews you have to do
  • Your ARCs will take precedent over your TBR (sometimes, like if the publishing date is close) and then you are less excited tor read it.
  • It does NOT vibe well for mood readers because ARCs have deadlines,,,,
  • Sometimes you read a very meh book and you just have no opinion on it??? But you still have to review it??
  • Unless the ARC is super highly anticipated, they tend to get the worst stats, since no one has heard of it?  Which sucks because sometimes you might really enjoy it.

A lot of these are minor problems that really aren’t deal breakers, but definitely stuff to keep in mind. 

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Aaaand we get to the ugly. For me, there is really only one component of ARCs that I would classify as ugly: The ARC jealousy. You know, that moment where there’s a book that everyone and their mother wants (like Warcross or Renegades or something like that) and obviously not everyone can read it for free because then nobody makes money !!! So some people get a book and some people don’t and that leads to the horrible ARC jealousy. Where you look at the other blogs who got the book that you really wanted and evil thoughts start coming into your mind like “They don’t even deserve that book” or “My blog is bigger and better than theirs anyway”. And that sucks because it completely defeats the purpose of the whole book blogging community! We’re supposed to all be fangirling over books together, not getting catty behind each other’s backs because we are jealous someone received a book we didn’t.

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The end! I hope I’ve enlightened some of my fellow bloggers on all the pros and cons of ARCs, as well as explained it to some of the newbies like me who were completely clueless when blogs would talk about receiving ARCs or writing ARC reviews.

Let's Chat!

What do you think about ARCs? Are they positive, negative, or both? Do you have tips for requesting physical ARCs? Have you ever felt ARC jealousy? 

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26 thoughts on “ARCS: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. Krysta says:

    I have to admit I’ve never understood why people get so fired up about ARCs. If there’s a book I really want to read, it’s going to take a few months for my library to get it in. Or maybe they won’t get it in and I’ll have to wait to ILL it because other libraries don’t ship off new books. Or maybe my library will get it but I’ll be the thirtieth person to put it on hold. I am used to waiting. I’m not going to worry about who got to read the book before I did because, honestly, that seems petty and pointless. Good for them! I have over 400 books on my TBR pile. I’m hardly going to be bored while I wait for my hold to come in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thecursedbooks says:

    Wow, this post was great! ARCs can be very controversial, I guess. Before making a blog, I thought it was so cool to get them. But now I feel like it can become very pressuring. As a mood reader, but also a very organized person who never misses a deadline, I find it frustrating at times. Especially if I don’t enjoy the book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

      Exactly! I used to read reviews where people received them for free and I was like howwwww did this happen. But now it’s so stressful like what if I just don’t want to read it anymore. I’m a mood reader but organized so sometimes I have to force myself to read the book even when I’m not feeling it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM says:

    I toyed with signing up for NetGalley for months, because I really wanted access to ARCs to review for my blog, and I would have potential access to free books. BUT I don’t like ebooks. Well, the first two reasons finally overpowered my dislike for ebooks and I signed up for NG last month. So far, I love it. I can’t read as much at a time because I stare at a screen all day for work, but I’m really enjoying the book so far. I know that is likely not going to be the case all the time, but I don’t plan on leaving NG or stopping my pursuit of ARCs. I’ll definitely be checking out how to get physical ARCs (I received one through a Goodreads giveaway!) through that post you mentioned. Thanks for the info! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I love this post Sydney, there does seem to be a lot of controversy about ARCs, and while I’ll admit sometimes I do get a little jealous seeing ARCs other people have got that I haven’t it never lasts for long. Simply because I know I’ll get to read the book one day when it’s released, and as a mood reader it’s probably better not to read it with a deadline hanging over my head to review it. 🙂
    I’ve fallen in the NetGalley hole a few times, I go on requesting sprees and then realise the majority of the ARCs I’ve been approved for have the same release date or really close together release dates and it’s a rush to read and review them all.
    Still I love ARCs, getting to read some of my most anticipated releases early is something I’d never want to change you know?
    Great post. 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

      Ugh that is so true! I’ll just add it to my TBR and buy it eventually.
      When all the books have the same release day is THE WORST. also when the release day is in a couple weeks and you just can’t devote your whole life to reading (as much as you’d love to).
      Yeah, I’m still building up my feedback ratio (something I forgot to mention! omg!) so I’ll get accepted on my super highly anticipated releases.
      Thank you❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        If I could devote my life to reading things would be so much easier. Unfortunately I can’t get paid to blog so I have to work in order to afford all the books I buy. 🙂
        Ahh yeah, I try to keep mine about 80% at all times. I’m being very careful about how many ARCs I request at the moment.
        That’s all right. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

        If I could devote my life to reading I would be so much happier and less stressed. Or even if I could just stop time whenever I read. It’s my stress relief but usually I have too much to do that it’s only school, work, and sleep, and no time for reading or relieving my stress.
        Me too, but it usually ends up swinging from a little below 80% to a lot below 80% depending on if I’ve just been accepted for a ton of ARCs from one of my requesting binges and if I’ve found the time to read them all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        Oh same here, if only we lived in a world where that was possible right? 🙂 It would make for a less stressful environment for me too. 🙂
        It never takes too long to get above 80% though does it? In my mind going below always means I just need to review more and request less.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

        Idk I haven’t seemed to make it above 80% yet because I’ve only been excepted for 18 or so books and I am refusing to review two of them so even if I’ve reviewed all but those two I’m still below 80%. But once I read and review more ARCs those two won’t affect my ratio as much.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Reading with Rendz says:

    Agree with this 100%. ARCs are a pretty amazing thing and at the same time they cause a lot of problems too! There were times when I was swamped in Netgalley requests or other requests from authors and it really took the joy out of reading! I even own some expired ARCs (do ARCs expire lol) that I haven’t read yet!! Which is like shame on me but at the same time, I was either A. busy or B. just not in the mood! And I get ARC jealousy like crazy XD Amazing post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

      Thank you! I am currently SWAMPED in ARC reads and all I want to do is jump into my TBR but instead I’m reading all these ARCS. Which is great I love them but…soooo not in the mood for them rn. Their publishing date is pretty soon though so I kinda have to be reading them.
      Idk if ARCs expire but they definitely get archived? I’ve requested a couple that I am just never going to read. I already know that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      Thank you ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Bookchanted says:

    Ahhh thank you for this post!!! BLESS YOUR SOUL WITH AMAZING BOOKS. I’ve been so confused about arcs ever since i joined the blogosphere a few months ago- I DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW THEY WORK. Your post has basically sorted out my life. I don’t think I’ll be getting into netgalley yet- do we need to be above 18 to sign up? Cuz I’m 15 so can’t do that. But it sounds fun- free books?!? But I hate e books. IM SO CONFUSED. But thanks for this post- atleast I know what they are now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

      Ahhh I’m so glad it helped!!!! Now you are fully knowledgeable on what ARCs are.
      Okay, so legally you have to be 18 to sign up, but I think it’s okay if you aren’t as long as you have your parents permission? You just fudge a little.
      (Shhhh Im not eighteen don’t let the police find me).
      Yeah, NG is all ebooks so maybe you won’t love it. BUT check out the physical arcs page and maybe you can start requesting those!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bookchanted says:

        Ahhh thanks so much!! I finally feel like I’m at par with blogging knowledge! And I’ll definitely give physical arc’s a try, though I think I’ll sign up at NG too! (ofc I’m 18. as if i would do anything illegal, pftt)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sydney @ Fire and Rain Books says:

      Yayyy Im so glad it helped! The ARC world is so large, I am still just learning. There’s so much more I need to know! Once I request my first physical ARCs maybe I’ll feel more informed ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It definitely is fun but don’t go too crazy because you’ll regret it look

      Liked by 1 person

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