Jenna from Jenna Does Books posed a question on Twitter the other day:
Curious question: who here still sends physical ARC requests to publishers? Jenna Does Books @jennadoesbooks
My response and those from other people got me thinking: have physical ARCs lost their appeal?
A few months into my first year of blogging, I thought ARCs were SO COOL! And the thought of getting regular physical ARCs from publishers seemed like the crown jewel of book blogging. Eventually I did get a few physical ARCs, but it died down really quickly for two reasons:
- I was constantly going back and forth between the US and the UK, and that made it hard for me to maintain relationships with publishers. I had a few contacts in the US, but they were useless to me while I was in the UK (because they won’t ship there), and I had zero UK contacts.
- I was getting almost all the books I wanted on NetGalley and Edelweiss anyway, so I stopped requesting physical copies.
I’d say the biggest reason at first was #1. For a long time I wanted to keep getting physical ARCs, but I didn’t know how to go about getting contacts in the UK. But after a few months of feeling sorry for myself I realized: even if I could request physical ARCs in the UK, I probably wouldn’t. I get most of the ARCs I want from NG/EW. There are a few cases in which publishers don’t put the books I want up on those sites, but I usually have enough other ARCs to tide me over until the release dates for the books I didn’t get. And ultimately I realized: I prefer eARCs anyway.
eARCs are more convenient than physical ones
Maybe it’s because I’m in a unique circumstance, but maybe other people feel this way too. I’m constantly picking up and moving between London (I have an apartment there), Canterbury (where I go to uni), Cambridge (where my fiancé lives), and California (where my family lives). Lots of train rides. Lots of weekends away from home. Lots of plane rides. I can’t physically cart around physical copies of books. Even for a commute to uni and back (an hour each way), I’d HAVE to bring at least two physical books in case I finished the first one. And that number grows if it’s a weekend away, or a couple weeks. So the options are to either bring multiple physical books or one Kindle.
The Kindle always wins.
What do you do with physical ARCs after you’ve read them?
And then there’s the question of: what do you do with physical ARCs when you’re done with them? I found them to actually be a bit of a nuisance. I’d stick them on my shelf, then a few weeks later I’m out of shelf space and have to do some spring cleaning. Well, some libraries flat out won’t take ARCs so I can’t always donate them there. I can’t give away all these on the blog because the shipping costs do add up. If I have nowhere else to put or give away physical ARCs, do I have to throw them in the bin? *heart attack*