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I made the decision to stop focusing on ARCs as often in January 2022. I promised y’all an update, so let’s reflect on how this affected my reading.
As a disclaimer for total honesty and transparency, I did still receive ARCs and finished copies in 2022 but they were offered to me or book tour posts.
I Didn’t Miss Out On Any Books
So I’ll admit it was hard at first not to go begging for ARCs of my most anticipated books last year. I really missed the thrill of an email granting me access to a title on Netgalley. However, I can say with certainty that I still read every 2022 release on my most anticipated list last year.
Many of my most anticipated titles were Book of the Month picks or I was able to borrow them from my library. Some I treated myself to whenever I visited a Barnes and Noble out of town. Whatever the case, I never felt like I missed out on a book just because I wasn’t requesting ARCs.
Reading Didn’t Feel Like Homework
One of the downsides to receiving an ARC is having a deadline to read and review the book. And I know that’s the whole point, but when the ARC was a book I wouldn’t have read the same day I purchased it, then reading started to feel like homework again.
I also didn’t feel as stressed by my TBR because I didn’t have a stack of ARCs staring at me while I mood read my way through my shelves.
Pubs and The Games
I have not missed the games publishers play. Hopefully you’ve read my previous post and know about the time I read a book I didn’t want to review in hopes I would be granted a copy of the title I really wanted. Like reading an ARC was my job interview or something.
The ARC requesting game has changed since I joined Instagram and you pretty much just have to hope for a spot on the publisher’s influencer list now. Gone are the days of reaching out to a publisher directly to “sell yourself” and request a book. Honestly I kind of prefer this new method anyway because I feel like my emails were ignored 90% of the time anyway.
I am on a few influencer lists, but I am very selective about what I accept. A lot of times I don’t request anything because I don’t want to steal an opportunity from someone else who may really want that book. I’ve kind of gotten past the whole “getting book mail for the sake of saying you got book mail” phase of bookstagram.
No More Popularity Contests
Honestly, I feel like I never see as many physical ARCs posted anymore. They’ve become very difficult to get unless you have a massive following or work in the industry. Even booktubers haven’t been hauling ARCs as much in the last year, so I feel like the hype behind getting ARCs has somewhat died off.
I also don’t feel the pressure of comparing myself to others because I am not receiving massive piles of books each month. Even though I overall had a pretty disappointing reading year quality-wise, I am at least happy that I was able to read whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I also feel like since ARCs are becoming more rare, I don’t feel a twinge of jealousy scrolling through Instagram because there just aren’t as many ARCs floating around.
And maybe others have also decided to stop requesting ARCs and that’s why I don’t see them. Whatever the case, I think this “experiment” was good for me and I will continue to be selective in accepting books and signing up for book tours in 2023.
When I started my bookmark shop in 2021, one of my goals was to earn extra money so I could buy new releases when I wanted them. Honestly it can be more thrilling to grab a coffee and peruse the bookstore over opening a package from a publisher, especially when the book is one I’m not super excited about.
Another thing I noticed about ARCs is they are impossible to get rid of if you don’t read them before the pub date. ARCs are not supposed to be sold (even though we all see people doing it), so you basically have to swap or donate them. Since I was not always reading books before the pub date, I usually couldn’t swap them because the book had published by the time I read it, so nobody wanted the book anymore.
Most of the time, you only see ARCs being swapped for ARCs. And I feel like some people just post ARCs for trade just to show off and dangle them in front of everyone because they never find a trade worthy of their ARC. I usually end up just sending the book to someone for the cost of shipping, which is more hassle than it is worth on my end.
I hope this gave you some things to think about, especially if you’ve been receiving less ARCs (or none at all). It was much easier to receive ARCs in the early days of bookstagram, but with booktube and booktok to also share ARCs with, I think it has just made ARCs more difficult to secure. I also think the pandemic affected the printing of physical ARCs and publishers have been leaning to Netgalley and Edelweiss more often.
Related: 7 Clever Ways to Get Free Books
And that’s okay! Buy secondhand or support your local library instead. If you can afford it, support your local indie bookstore when there’s a new release you want. Just remember that ARCs are not the end all be all of the book community. Some of the accounts I follow never post ARCs or pub mail and still have a massive following!
Do you receive ARCs? I’d love to hear your thoughts about ARCs and the book community in the comments!