May 17, 2016

Discussion Post: The Issue of ARCs

As you all know BEA 2016 happened this weekend in Chicago (and I was fortunate enough to attend) and everyone had a great time with lots of authors, networking, and more! Or at least that's what I thought until I returned to my hotel room on Saturday after doing some sightseeing and decided to open up eBay and check which ARCs were being sold since I had seen BEA ARCs being sold in 2015.

I knew what was coming and it still made me angry beyond belief when I saw some of the most wanted ARCs this year posted online so I decided to tweet something about it with the hopes of maybe a few people seeing it..... imagine my surprise when the tweet blew up and garnered over 300 replies, responses by authors big and small, new threads by people who saw my original tweet and just an overall discussion by the whole of the book community that a lot of people participated in.

 After all the things that were talked about in that thread I decided to make a quick discussion post as this is an issue I feel strongly about:

By no means am I one of the huge bloggers with tens of thousands of followers and years of experience but I've been blogging for almost three years now and I feel like that puts me in a position where I've learned a thing or two about ARCs.

1. Selling an ARC hurts publishers (printing an ARC costs money, just because you got it for free doesn't mean they did), authors (they've spent so much of their time on writing a book that they want others to enjoy and you're stealing that by selling the book along with all the publicity that ARC loses when its sold and not given to another blogger), and bloggers.

2. Selling an ARC is ILLEGAL (most if not all of them say NOT FOR SALE somewhere on the cover) or at least close to illegal, it's just something you don't do, period.

3. Bloggers, librarians, fans, etc who would have read that ARC, cherished it, written about it, and given it publicity lose out on getting a copy. This something I personally witnessed this year at BEA in lines for signings and galley drops, Penguin brought 200 copies of Gemina to be given out, the line for it started more than two hours early yet there were still people who wanted one and couldn't get one! A person who would review it and help the author can't get a copy but someone who just takes it and puts it up on eBay right away can?!??

Another example would be the Heartless by Marissa Meyer signing and ticket drop, probably one of the most anticipated and wanted ARCs in BEA this year and my #1 goal, I was ready to drop any other signings and events I had in order to get it. Thursday there was a ticket drop where over 100 people (probably) came and Friday people lined up at 6 AM in the ticket line before the show floor opened. Both of those times I wasn't able to get a ticket or copy and multiple other people were the same way, in fact if a kind blogger hadn't given me her ticket there's no way I would have gotten Heartless. That Friday there was several copies of Heartless up for sale (one was $150!) meaning that these ARC sellers pushed past genuine fans who wanted to talk to the author and express their love of her books in order to quickly grab a copy, ignore the author, and sell it. This is a scenario that should never happen yet it keeps happening year in and year out.

4. You're just as guilty if you're the one buying those ARCs rather than selling them. One of the main reasons people keep selling them is because there is a market for them! Each person that purchases an ARC is one more reason for that seller to continue, they don't seem to care about all the issues I listed above so when they see the money they go for it.

5. Why pay $150 for an ARC when you can wait a few months and get 10 books for that price? Plus it'll be hardcover and more protected against damage. As for the "it's a collectible, it's rare" argument it's not an argument that means anything: ARCs are given out for free, if they were valuable and worth a ton of money they wouldn't be given for free.

6. Those few sellers make the rest of us look bad (whether you're a blogger or not it still affects you). Publishers are forced to decrease the amount of ARCs they make or to stop making them at all, perhaps why the smaller presses barely release ARCs. Publishers start to see bloggers (I'm not saying this happens all the time but it does happen sometimes) as greedy book hoarders who only come to conventions to grab books and either sell them or use them to promote themselves. We can't let the few make the majority look bad, we have to stick together as a community on this.

Some of the people replying to me said it ARC selling a non-issue or barely meant anything since only a few ARCs of each title are sold up. Unfortunately, what they said isn't true: every point I made above applies to it. Even one copy hurts publishers, steals publicity, stops a blogger from getting a copy, etc.

As for eBay who thinks it's not big enough of an issue to do anything about (hence why so few listings are removed) or the people who think no one cares about ARC selling, just look at the response from the book community! So many people (bloggers, authors, etc) all came together and talked about it:

There's hundreds of tweets I didn't include in this post but you get the gist of it, the book community is against ARC selling which means we have to work together on this issue.

What are your thoughts on this matter? How do you think this issue should be handled?


  1. Well said, Bayram. The whole thing is so disappointing.

    BUT. Thankfully, there are bloggers like you, BookCrushin, Ohana Reads and SO many others who really care about books--and authors! You make the reading/writing community better and brighter. Thanks for doing what you do. It matters. :)

    1. Thanks Keira :) and yeah most of the book community is positive, it's the few bad ones that stick out.

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  2. I think it is awful. And like you said it is only a few bad ones, but they make the rest of us look bad. Jay Kristoff was tweeting that he heard there was shoving and hair pulling going on in the Gemina line. So sad. :(