Friday, 25 January 2013

Discussion: ARCs - Giveaway? Donate? Sell?

Ok, so I might be newish to book blogging but I found out right in the beginning that selling ARCs is wrong (ARC = Advance Readers Copy) - and that makes sense to me. This isn't really about selling an ARC that you receive, I think everyone knows that its wrong. 

Let me tell you the situation that has me wanting a discussion with you all about ARCs and what you do with them. 

For those that don't know, I was at the Lifeline Bookfest last weekend. Lifeline are a charity organisation here and they get donated books which they sell at their Bookfests. While browsing through the books on sale I came across a 'Uncorrected Proof' of Cynthia Hands' Unearthly. For those that don't know, these aren't "pretty" like most ARCs you see out there. This is an Uncorrected Proof of Level 2 that I received from Allen and Unwin. 

See, no pretty cover. =)

When I first saw the ARC of Unearthly that was on sale at Bookfest, I was shocked and didn't know if I should, or could do anything about it. The question was - What? The people running the bookfest are volunteers and I doubt that they would have cared (they didn't care - as I found out today, but I'll get there in a minute!).
After considering my options I decided to leave it there and figured if someone was desperate enough to pay $4 for a uncorrected copy with no proper cover - then so be it. ..............

Until today. 
I went back to Bookfest today to see what other goodies I could get for mum, hubby, my son, and of course myself. I found Unearthly was still there, but then I found another uncorrected proof, and then I found an ARC. Who knows how many more there are there. I'll be honest, I bought the ARC, but I complained too. I'm still mad about it. When I went to pay for the books I wanted I held on to Froi of the Exiles because I wanted to point out that it was an ARC - for review only, not to be sold, and that I didn't think it was right asking that kind of money for ARCs either. I got told what I thought I would get told the first day - they are just volunteers and it's for charity anyway. She did say to maybe speak with Lifeline themselves. 

Sticker on the ARC I got
I've been thinking about these ARCs at bookfest the whole way home, which thanks to the traffic took an hour. That is when I decided to put this discussion post up. 

Personally, I don't like it. I don't believe people should pay to have a book that wasn't "published and sold" normally. I don't like the fact that bloggers work extremely hard to get the publishers to trust and provide them ARCs in the first place - I have only received one (Level 2 mentioned above) (edit: actually I received another one today but you'll have to see my Saturday book haul post to see what it is. hehe. ). I would never think to donate my ARCs. 

Your thoughts:
Is it wrong for ARCs to be donated and then sold by the charity? The person who got the ARC obviously didn't get money in exchange for them, but does that make it right? What do you do with your ARCs? 

I am really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment below. 


  1. Hmmm to me I don't think it's such a big deal, just because it is a charity organisation, and so I'm assuming the book had been given away rather than sold. I guess it depends on what the person who had received it had actually done with it, but if you're going to give any books to charity, ARCs kind of seem okay too.

    1. I thought that at the time too, that the person donated them and didn't get anything for them. But then I thought about the people that were buying them, and the fact that the books weren't originally purchased and felt that all parties involved (author, publisher, and purchaser) really didn't get what they should have (as there was no original sale on the book) and the only winner is the charity. While I support charities I don't think its right to be selling something that shouldn't be sold.
      If they have the publishers permission, well that's a different story.
      Thanks for joining in. It's great to see other peoples opinion on this. =)

  2. The only time I think it would be OK to donate or sell ARCs is if the blogger / reader in question has the written permission from the publisher / author. I know that has happened, some don't really mind if an ARC circulates, while others do.

    I have only ever gotten e-ARCs, and I actually physically delete them from my device when I have read and reviewed the book in question. I don't think it's fair to share my ARCs as I have received them for the express intention of actually writing a review about the book on my blog and on Goodreads.

    I also always want to support my favorite authors so they can continue writing - which means that I need to buy books as well! If my favorite series only sells a few copies, the publisher might drop it, and then where would I be?

    Great discussion post, I think it is important to talk about this.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. That's exactly what I thought - that it should be with the written permission of the publisher. I don't share my ARC's either and view it the same way, they were provided to me for the sole purpose of a review.
      Completely agree.
      Thanks for joining in. =)

  3. I think the person who gave the ARC or uncorrected proof was thinking they were "donating" and so that washes their hands of it. However, the people at Lifeline should have a policy not to accept them. If I were in your place, I'd probably contact them and try to get them to do so. I either keep mine or give them away in giveaways.

    1. I thought that too and I agree.
      I don't think Lifeline should be selling them, but when I mentioned it I got the "it's for charity". *sigh*

  4. I was buying some books on amazon that were used and when they had came in the mail they were ARCs.. I dont think it is right, though

    1. No, that's definitely not right. ARC's shouldn't be sold. :(

  5. ARC's clearly state they are not to be sold. This is directly from the publisher. I don't think selling them for charity makes a diddly squat bit of difference.

    And for people to sell them on Amazon, well that's flat out illegal.

    For the Amazon books I'd send a note to the publisher including seller details.

    I receive ARCs all the time. I don't sell them. Sometimes I share with firends or use them for giveaways on my sites but the rules state they are not to be sold.

    If a blogger/reviewer is caught abusing this publishers and authors will stop working with them

    1. Exactly! I showed them the back where it says its for review only, and told them the others where not to be sold. I got the whole "it's for charity thing". I agree Roxanne - I wasn't sure if I was over reacting or had the wrong thinking, but I don't believe it makes a difference if they are a charity or not either. They shouldn't be selling them.
      I have only received 2 ARCs and I wont be passing them on. I mainly get eARCs and I delete them once I've read and reviewed them.
      I wish there was a way to trace it back to the blogger/reviewer that way they/we would be accountable if they went into circulation without written permission from the publisher.
      I'm glad to see others with the same view. =)

  6. In the case of charity I really don't see it as wrong. However, I've seen some at used bookstores and I do find that to be wrong. I've tried to talk to people at the bookstores but they just don't care. I donate ARCs to my local hospital, library, and places like that so I know they end up other places than where they should be but that doesn't really bother me. If it's for a good cause, that's one thing, but just selling them outright (like on Ebay) that's what gets to me.

    Great discussion!


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