Can/Should You Request Finished Copies of Books?

I was wondering if we, as book bloggers, may request finished copies of books? Is that a thing, and if so, can you guide us through doing so?

Sam

First, it’s important to understand that publishers usually have less finished copies to give away than they do ARCs.

Now that being said, what follows is simply my personal opinion:

I don’t think it’s really “proper etiquette” to request finished copies of books. ARCs exist to generate hype and buzz for books. They get sent out to bloggers because the book isn’t published yet, but publishers want those early reviews so that potential buyers can get excited about the book and preorder it.

But after the book is published, the book exists. You can go out and buy it. And yes, publishers still like reviews, but the point is that the book is readily available (when it wasn’t before). So I feel like if you request a copy of a finished book, you’re more or less saying:

I know I could just buy it, but I want to get it for free.

As opposed to:

The book isn’t available yet and I’d love a free copy to help generate buzz.

I know books can cost a lot of money when you’re a book blogger and reading one a day.. I totally get that! But I feel like if you’re requesting a finished copy, you have the opportunity to get a copy yourself but you’re trying to squeeze a free one out of the publisher instead (and as I said before, they usually have fewer finished copies). So it’s just my personal opinion that if the book is available for you to buy, you should buy it instead of asking for a finished copy. Plus, buying the book will help support the author!

But if you still want to go about requesting finished copies, you should expect to get a lot of “No” answers. I’ve seen it said countless times that publishers don’t have many finished copies to give away, or that they don’t give away finished copies at all—period (which makes sense). So you can give it a go, but don’t have high hopes. In any case, the process is very similar. Just send the publisher an email with your request, your blog statistics, and your shipping address. For more details, you can read my post on how to receive physical ARCs.

How do you feel about bloggers requesting finished copies of books? Do you think it’s acceptable?

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39 comments

  1. The whole idea of asking the publisher for a finished copy leaves a bad taste in my mouth. By doing so, you’re basically saying, “I want to read the book, but not enough to go out and support the author. So can you just send me a copy for free?” I feel like it would be a slap in the face to the publisher AND the author.

    Yeesh. Just thinking about doing that makes me uncomfortable, haha.

    Amanda @ Hell-Bent to Read recently posted: Review | The Giver by Lois Lowry
  2. I don’t know if or wrong or not, but I do find the idea… strange. Like you said, by requesting a finished book it’s as if they just want to get something free. And that seems desperate when you could easily try and get it from a library or even just buy it yourself. I guess it’s good that you show interest in a title, but I’m sure the publishers would very much prefer you to go out and spend money on something they’ve put time into making. The only time I’d think it’s acceptable to get a final copy for review from the publisher is if they offer it to you for whatever reason, or maybe you got an ARC of the sequel but haven’t read the first novel in a series (though even then you could get it from the library or somewhere else)

    Bec @ Ransom Reads recently posted: Captain’t Address: My Impossible Resolution
  3. I will never, ever do this. If a pub wants to send me one, that’s wonderful. I have received quite a few unsolicited finished copies, and I love that. Usually it’s because they want to thank me for my review of the ARC of that book, or they want me to review book #2 and I have not read #1 yet. I just think it’s extremely unprofessional to ask for free things because you don’t feel like spending your own money. Yes, it is SO expensive to be a book lover. But we do it anyway because we love it. If books are important enough to you, you can find room in the budget to buy them. OR you can get them from your local library or borrow them from a friend.

    Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl recently posted: This Year I Will Read What I Love
  4. I do not request finished copies, but there is an exception for me. When it’s an indie book with really few reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, I mail the author and offer her a review in exchange for a copy of the book. But even that has only happened 2 times last year and I really do it because I support indie authors and they deserve a spotlight on them too. If I get a review request from an author for a finished copy, that’s another thing. 😛 But that’s almost always indie authors too, so.

    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted: ARC Review: Song of the Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski
  5. My first connection with the publisher I still work with was actually a request for a finished copy, haha, and I did get a bunch of them. I thought that ARC’s would be more expensive and would be given to more grown blogs, so I settled down with a finished copy. So it might work in some situations, but looking back I definitely agree with the points you make too 🙂

    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted: FF 25. Pet Peeve: Title & series.
  6. It’s so interesting to see how these things work beyond Dutch borders. When I request a book from a publisher 9 times out of 10 I’ll receive a finished copy. They do tend to have a sticker with the text ‘Leesexemplaar’ (review copy) on the cover, but if you pluck of the sticker it’s just the regular book 🙂

    Joanydvv recently posted: Boekensteun #3 Bad Friends
  7. The idea of requesting finished copies doesn’t really sit well with me, usually I think bloggers who do receive finished copies actually receive unsolicited copies or because they had received an ARC and did a review of it and the publisher does it as a way of thanks. I guess if the publisher is okay with it, there shouldn’t be much issue but I really don’t think this is a practice bloggers should adopt.

    Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews recently posted: Top 10 2014 Debuts I’m Excited For
  8. It may have already been added, but I wanted to point out that a lot of those finished copies that bloggers have in their haul posts are books that they requested ARCs/review copies of, didn’t get an ARC of, but the publisher sent them a finished copy a week or two early so that they still might be able to review it. This post had funny timing for me since I just got a finished copy in the mail when I had given up on receiving the ARC months ago! If the book is already out though, check the library 😀

  9. The only time a received a finished copy from a publisher was when I requested a print ARC but they gave me an e ARC instead. Then I was surprised to get a hardcover when the book came out. I think they wanted to thank me for reviewing the book and felt bad that they couldn’t send me an ARC. But I would NEVER ask for a finished copy!

  10. I honestly didn’t even know that bloggers did request finished copies. I don’t think I’d ever do that. I have requested ARCs and had publishers surprise me by sending me a finished copy, though! 🙂

    Sam recently posted: Review: Black City
  11. Yeah I typically never request finished books but sometimes publishers will send me a finished copy if they’ve run out of ARCs even though I requested an ARC. I think it really depends on the publisher because they may not mind sending out finished copies but I’ve always been weird about saying “I want a finished copy” as opposed to getting surprised when I open up a package. Thanks for sharing, Ashley! <33

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  12. I don’t ask for finished copies since it doesn’t really support the author much and I’d rather buy or go to the library if I can’t get an ARC. If all they have are finished copies and they send it along for promotion I guess that’s different.
    One time I was given one because it was part of a series that I hadn’t started. I said I would go to the library and read it, but they were really kind and gave me a finished copy with the second ARC. I ended up loving that series too. 🙂

  13. So, my thoughts. I think I actually requested a finished copy on two occasions – once was a blog tour where the publicist offered that finished copies could be sent out, and the second time was when the publicist sent me the second book in a series (in a finished copy) and since I couldn’t get the first from my library / didn’t really have the money to splurge, I asked if they could spare a copy of the first one.

    Now, requesting finished copies isn’t something I would ever do regularly. I think it’s arrogant, because like you said, Ashley, it’s basically saying “I want it for free even though I could buy it.”

    HOWEVER. Some publishers have been kind enough to send me either a) unsolicited finished copies or b) finished copies of books I read and reviewed as an ARC. For example, I got an ARC of GOLDEN by Jessi Kirby, then a finished copy showed up. I was really humbled and excited, and when that happens, I’m just really thankful!

  14. I’ve never even considered asking for a finished copy. This is, wow! The only times I’ve ever gotten finished copies were as a Thank You for doing a blog tour or because they never had any Advance copies to sent me. So usually all unsolicited!

    But I am going to have to agree with you. It just seems like if people are trying to request finished copies..do they even want to review them or do they just want free books?

    Good discussion Ashley!
    Inky

  15. I agree with you completely. If the publisher decides to send out finished copies, that’s fair enough. They obviously know what their financial situation is like, and such forth. But I think, in most circumstances, asking for finished copies is arrogant and completely against the spirit of the book blogosphere. It seems like just wanting a handout, without having to give anything in return.

    Nikki @ The Paper Sea recently posted: Book Blogger Spotlight — Charli from To Another World
  16. I definitely agree. I think sending requests for finished copies really just sounds like you want a free book. If the publisher offers to send out a free copy of a book, that’s a completely different story. However, I don’t think I’d ever request a free copy of the finish book. It just sounds totally off to me to do such a thing.

    Amy M. recently posted: Friday Weekend Round Up
  17. It’s really interesting how differently things work overseas – in Australia, publishers mostly send out finished copies a few weeks before the release date (or sometimes the week OF the release date). ARCs just don’t happen here very often. Most publishers are moving towards NetGalley etc. as well, to eliminate physical ARCs altogether.

    In terms of requesting finished copies, the only times I’ve personally done it is when I’ve received book 2, 3, 4, or at one point, book 6 of a series, without even having heard of them, and the media release says something like “if you’d like the rest of the series, send us an email”. I emailed them saying thanks, but it’s rather odd to be given a book so late into a series, and they sent me all the previous books they could, I think 3 out of the 5 I was missing. I bought the other two.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if publishers usually only send out ARCs it makes sense that many people feel iffy about requesting finished copies, but for me and other Aussies I know, we usually get *finished* copies, and most sequels etc. in a series come with a little note saying ‘tell us if you’re interested in the previous books’, so I’ve always thought it’s perfectly acceptable to do so.

    Shaheen @ Speculating on SpecFic recently posted: Pride’s Run by Cat Kalen
  18. I personally have never requested a finished copy of books from a publisher or an Author. If I wan’t to read and review a book I will request only on NetGalley, Edelwiess, or if I really want to read it I will ask the Author or Publisher if I can get on the blog tour or if they are having one. Of course none of those options usually give a finished copy. But if I want a book for free, that’s how I get it 🙂

    Stacy (StacyHgg) recently posted: Do you Listen to Audiobooks?
  19. I would never, ever request a finished copy, because I could just rent it from the library (or buy it if I was desperate). But I have had pubs send me finished copies on several occasions – Tor sends me them a lot and Hachette was nice enough to send me a beautiful hardback of Parasite. It is a nice surprise, but I feel guilty because I could have paid for it!

    Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: Review: Infinite by Jodi Meadows
  20. I really think it depends. For example, I have been offered finished copies of first books in series as well as their subsequent ARCs.

    There are a few publishers that don’t mind you requesting finished copies. Harper is known for sending out finished copies if you requested an ARC. Tor is also another one that has done this with me and I’ve actually request 2 finished copies from them for review. Bloggers on Macmillan’s list are sometimes encouraged to request a finished copy of a book if they are considering reviewing a sequel. And S&S sends them out too.

    So I think I’d fall in the middle on this one. I wouldn’t necessarily make it a regular practice of requesting finished books, but instead find out what that publishers preferences are. Some say they don’t send out finished copies and others may prefer it (I remember hearing that finished copies are cheaper for pubs?). I wouldn’t say it’s wrong if your intention is the review that book and promote it like in a giveaway.

    Steph Sinclair recently posted: Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson
  21. I’ve done it. It was successful and I received a lot of other books that I had never heard of but the content was of similar taste. I requested “Bite of the Mango”, it’s a YA memoir about a girl who was a victim during the Sierra Leone genocidal war. Now that being said, I think depending on the popularity of the book a publisher might be more willing to send out an item, along with a few other things, but obviously I’d never make it a habit.
    I agree that asking a publisher for books might seem out wrong, but sometimes we’re lucky and we might just come upon a book that a publisher is willing to give away.
    Or I was just lucky. I’m not sure. I know in the grand scheme of things annoying the crap out of a publisher for this book or that book is just plain wrong.
    – Krys

  22. So I’ve never even worked up the courage to ask for an ARC, so there’s no way I’d ask for a finished copy. But I can see scenarios where it would be acceptable – for example, you receive a request to review a book later in a series and haven’t read the other books. Since they’ve asked you to review it, I see no problem asking for the earlier books. But I think it would have to be in the right scenario.

    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted: Life of a Blogger | Celebrity Crushes
  23. I’ve never really thought about this, but now that I am, I think it’s weird. And also, kind of rude to ask. I mean, if an author or publisher offered it, I would accept. But if a book has already been published, I believe a blogger should buy it or get in from the library (a great and free way to read it).

    1. **To add on a bit. Like Berls above me says, I think there’s some situations where it might not be too weird to ask.

  24. Okay, so I’m late to the conversation (yes, I’m reading my way backwards through your blog, Ashley, because I love it; I hope that’s not weird), but I’m going to go out on a limb here and disagree – or, at the very least, state that this has not been my personal experience. For whatever it’s worth.

    I got into book blogging via Book Sneeze, and then LitFuse Publicity, both of which send finished copies of books, never ARCs. As I began to rack up reviews on my blog, I started getting pitches from authors, publishers, agents, publicists, etc. And most of them sent me finished copies. I got my first ARC about six months into reviewing books, and had no idea what it was; I had to look it up.

    I didn’t think much of it, and happily read ARCs that were sent right alongside finished copies for over a year. Until one day, an author I’d worked with several on two previous of her titles emailed me to ask if I wanted to do an interview and giveaway if I liked her book when I got to read it, and when she realized I had an ARC since I’d already read it, she was very upset and personally sent me a finished copy. She said that ARCs are rarely ever the same as finished books, and often can very wildly (for instance, in this specific book she’d completely rewritten the ending after the ARC was released, and she said she knows many, many authors who do similar things).

    So I stopped accepting ARCs, and put it in my policy (I even specify it politely in my emails when I accept books, to make sure they’re okay with that). Every now and then I still get an ARC, and if I’m excited about the book I’ll still read it. But I don’t like them, and I don’t accept them voluntarily.

    And part of that is that while I do keep the books I love, I donate the rest of them once they’ve been published and I’ve posted my review. My contacts know that’s what I do, and are fine with it. But I can’t do that with ARCs. If I don’t want to keep it…?? (What DO you do with your ARCs???)

    So there, that’s my opinion. I hope it’s helpful to someone, and I don’t get roasted. #lol 😉

    1. Thanks for offering your input, Alena. 🙂

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone wanting to send you finished copies. But I personally would never be able to REQUEST them myself. If an author or publisher wants to send me an unsolicited finished copy, that’s fine. I’ll take it. (I just got some yesterday from a publisher!)

      But I personally would never be able to go up to a publisher and specifically ask for finished copies.

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