ARcs are Overrated Because…

They throw me off my flow

More often than not, here’s what happens:

  1. Awesome new ARC gets put up on NetGalley.
  2. I’m so excited and I want to read it NOW! I hit “request”. I’M READY FOR YOU! I SHALL READ YOU TONIGHT!
  3. …crickets…
  4. No approval and no rejection… days pass…
  5. In the meantime, I start reading a new book.
  6. I line up three other books to read after I finish this one.
  7. Then, two weeks later, I finally get approved.

Well that’s cool at all, but now I feel like I’ve got an exciting reading schedule ahead of me and I’m not ready to disrupt it. But at the same time, I feel like I should drop everything and get this ARC read.

I’m a total mood reader. I think of a book and want to read it immediately—not two weeks from now. By that time, my mood might have shifted and I could no longer be dying to read that book (a bit silly, I know, but it is what it is).

I feel more obligated to at least finish and review

These days I have no problem putting a book down. I also have no problem not reviewing a book at all (or perhaps just jotting down one or two sentences). Sometimes I read a book—good or bad—and I just have nothing worthwhile to say. Maybe all I can conjure up is, “It was good.”

But if it’s an ARC that I requested, I feel obligated to at least get the book done, and I certainly feel obligated to write a review (since that was the whole point of me requesting it in the first place). If I don’t do those things, I feel like I’m letting the publisher down or not doing my part.

I WANT to be able to provide them with a review, but sometimes it’s just not fun to push myself to get there.

A TBR by publication date

This one doesn’t apply to me, but it’s something I’ve seen A LOT with other bloggers.

ARCs cause some bloggers to start sorting their TBR by publication date. They start feeling like they can’t read x book before y because x is released next month and y isn’t released until six months from now. What they want to do is suddenly at odds with what they feel they should do. (Now is a good time to remind you that this is supposed to be fun!)


No, ARCs aren’t all bad

  • Free books can be awesome.
  • Being able to read an exciting book now instead of six months from now can also be awesome.

But ARCs can absolutely make book blogging stressful.

  • Obligations
  • Schedules
  • Guilt

ARCs aren’t something you need to be a book blogger. ARCs won’t always make you “happy” or whatever. Sometimes the most relaxing thing is just to buy your own book (or library, etc.) and read it with no strings/guilt/obligation attached.

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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17 comments

  1. I have ONE unread ARC (I got approved yesterday) and a year ago, I would have started it yesterday! Instead, I raided my library this afternoon and plan on reading those first. I totally got caught up in the ARC madness as a new blogger, but now, 5 years in, I find that I’m enjoying blogging and reading a lot more when I have more freedom. The ARC will still be there a week from now, or a month from now, whenever I feel like getting to it. 🙂

  2. I am a mood reader and a scheduler. The trick with ARC’s is not over do it, select books you know you want to read or are genres you love. I blog ahead. (Meaning my reviews are done for November and I have a few scattered throughout Dec and Nov that are scheduled. This allows my mood tendency to kick in. I can look at the releases over the next two months and pick and choose which I am in the mood for. It also allows me to read a heavy fantasy and follow it up with a lighter read. As for obligation to review an ARC…I feel the same way, but if I DNF an arc, I simply let the publisher know why and mark Goodreads accordingly and add a line or two as to why I stopped. I don’t feel guilty because it has allowed me to try new authors and genres.

  3. I wrestle with this all the time and especially this year. Last year, I tried to request my ARCs and read them in advance to have reviews posted on or near pub date. Then, it all kind of fell apart in the first half of this year when I DNF’d or didn’t like almost every ARC I read. So, I’ve now become way more selective about what I request and allow myself the freedom to mood read. Things have been going much better since I relaxed on the ARCs.

  4. I get asked to review books every once in awhile, but rarely do I say yes. I’m working on one now (and thankfully they didn’t give me a read by date), and it’s okay. Not my favorite. I’ve got one more lined up that the author asked be uploaded by his birthday, in January. I was actually thankful for the long review time. But I’ve never been approved on NetGalley, which is frustrating.

  5. I have to totally agree with you. I’ve decided to stop requesting ARCs completely because even just one would stress me out. I’m also not the greatest about reading them on time, so I feel like it’s wrong of me to ask for them when the likelihood of me reading it before publication date is not very high. I do still like to browse Netgalley every once in a while, but I have so many books that have already come out that I want to read that requesting ARCs doesn’t make much sense to me. I’m content to go without them and am happier because of it.

  6. I just received and ARC and just could not finish it. I feel so guilty, even though I didn’t request it, I accepted the review request. I’m not sure what to do because I don’t want to let down the author…

    My first ARC was the best. I requested it on NetGalley, It got accepted straight away! I had been wanting to read this book FOREVER and there was no TBR publication date. Now, i feel ARC’s put a little too much pressure on a blogger and take away that fun in reading!

  7. I am completely a mood reader…until the guilt kicks in and then I binge ARC read. LOL Seriously though…I think I’ve finally found the right balance. It takes a while to get there though…

  8. Yeah, not hearing back for weeks (sometimes even months!) is definitely frustrating. Because, like you, I’m totally a mood reader.
    I keep a list of my ARCs, by release date, but I also have the download date on there (which is the date I was approved in 90% of the cases). And I don’t really care if I read that one book that won’t be out until July next year before I read the one that was released two weeks ago. Because I think that as long as I end up reviewing the books at one point, the publishers will still be happy. And I often have a lot more traffic on reviews for books that have already been out for a little while, as more other bloggers have read it by then, too.

  9. Since I’m destined to be perpetually broke (work at a non-profit, live in an overpriced landlord’s market, even do most of my graphic design for free…), ARCs are my bread and butter. Well, that and libraries. But libraries can be a little slow to get the books I want, and it seems there’s enough of an abundance of ARCs that I can always find something I’m in the mood for. But I totally agree about the pressure you put on yourself when you request an ARC. And I’m right there with you when it comes to the mood-reading thing. If a publisher/agent/whoever doesn’t approve me for an ARC until I’m eyeballs deep in a different type of book altogether, I tend to put off reading it till the last minute, and sometimes that doesn’t bode so well for the author. I don’t think I’ve ever been so completely out of the mood that I’ve written a negative review, but it’s probably affected a star or two. Perhaps one day I’ll win the lottery and just buy all the books I want…

    1. Yes I definitely think there have been cases where I read a book I wasn’t truly in the mood for and it affected my enjoyment. Maybe it affected a star or two, like you said, or maybe it even caused me to not finish the book when I may have otherwise finished it in other circumstances.

  10. I totally agree – by the time an ARC is approved I’ve generally either forgotten about it, or am no longer in the mood to read it. Then comes the guilt to get a review out before the publication date which sometimes takes away the enjoyment of reading. Of course there are exceptions – some literal MUST READ NOW books – but those are few and far between. Great post!

  11. I am DEFINITELY a mood reader as well, which is why I have a love/hate relationship with ARC’s. I love free books but I have limited how many times I request them because I want to read them in my own time and don’t want to feel guilty if I don’t post a review etc in a timely manner. This is why I too don’t like the waiting game when it comes to ARC approvals.

  12. oh I so agree with this!!! The biggest problem with ARC’s is sometimes you get approved the day before its published and you have a day to read it and you have to put everything aside to get it read. So frustrating. Especially when you wait weeks for approval. But I try to request only a few each month, otherwise I get too stressed and I end up going into reading slumps because of it and then it can take days to get out of it. So there are pros and cons to reading ARC’s.

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