Friday, December 6, 2013

This was so not cool! An ARC discussion

The last thing I really need is more books. I know this, we all know this. But Half.com is a tempting, tempting place. It's like a giant bargain bin of used books people would rather sell for a bit of cash then get rid of  -- my favorite kind of recycling! So I recently gave in and ordered two -- one was the 1st in a series because I already have the 2nd and didn't realize there was one that came before it (oops!) And the other was one that I recently found on GoodReads and was sucked in by its completely gorgeous cover (and the synopsis, but the cover is amazing, really).

Sooo, they both arrived today and I open the first package to see none other than an ARC! Isn't this like a huge no-no in the book world? Don't they say "NOT FOR SALE" in huge letters on the cover and/or spine for a reason? Not to mention that Half.com's listing policy explicitly states these books are not allowed, isn't the generally accepted way to deal with ARCs when one is done with them to pass them along to other reviewers/bloggers, not to try to make some money off them? I know some brick-and-mortar used bookstores do accept them for trade (after the book is actually published -- they are not trying to cause a frenzy by having an as-yet-unpublished version of a title sitting on their shelves). I don't know if this is really proper either, but at least in those cases a potential customer has it right in front of them and can see with their own two eyes what it is and decide for themselves.

So let's just say I wasn't happy. I love ARCs and as a book blogger I know the value of them in terms of how much they help promote a particular title, but I felt duped! I really did not want an uncorrected proof copy of a book that is almost 2 years old when I thought I was purchasing the real deal. And besides, I already have plenty of ARCs on my to-review pile! I've been shopping on Half.com since college and have bought more books on that site than I care to admit, but this was the first time this ever happened to me. So you can imagine how surprised I was to open the other package (from a completely different seller) to find, guess what? ANOTHER ARC!! Has this ever happened to anyone else? Or maybe this is just a sign I need to quit buying books? 'Cause I'm really starting to think it might be a sign.

When I am done with ARCs I don't want to keep, I pass them along to other bloggers through the ARCycling program. Publishers were nice enough to send me a free copy (usually through a Shelf-Awareness giveaway/request form) and I know I don't have a huge following, so I like the idea of that same copy getting reviewed by another blogger as well. I've read about people donating them to a teacher, school, prison, or charity and there might be other options out there, but I haven't really looked into them. So fellow book bloggers, what do you do with your ARCs?

10 comments:

  1. I don't know anything about how that website works, but I'd at the very least report the users you bought the books from (especially if the site policy explicitly prohibits it) and see about getting your money back (though I wouldn't have high hopes on that front).

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    1. Actually both users were apologetic and claimed it was an oversight (I guess I can see that happening with bigger sellers) and have both refunded my money already, so I definitely need to give them credit for their customer service. I wanted to return them, but they didn't want to bother (probably a good thing because they are not supposed to sell them in the first place!) I was just so surprised that it happened twice in one day and it really made me wonder how common it is.

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    2. Oh, that's a relief. I'm glad it worked out, even if it shouldn't have happened in the first place. Any legal restrictions on ARCs aside, you didn't get the item as advertised!

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  2. Just - wow! When I buy a book, I definitely do not want an ARC! Glad they were apologetic and know that this shouldn't be done.

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one who was shocked!

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  3. I can't believe that! I would not have been happy ordering a book and getting an ARC instead. But most importantly, people really are not supposed to sell those. :( I just have a small pile right now so I haven't done anything with them. But I will probably start donating to ARCycling soon.

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    1. It was just crazy! ARCycling is so awesome -- I haven't requested any through the program in a while because I have so many other books to review as it is, but it's such a great way to pass along ARCs in a much more respectable manner.

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  4. Oh that would make me cringe so much. It's good though that they were willing to apologise and communicate right away, but still, I totally get your frustration.

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    1. It's not like I don't read ARCs, but this was false advertising! Glad I'm not the only one who would have been frustrated. I can only imagine what a "regular" (non-blogging) reader would have thought if they received one of these!

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I'd love to hear what you think :)