Whenever you’re looking to build yourself up to a point where getting access to ARCs is something you can do, you have to have a good grasp from the beginning of what an ARC is and the purpose behind them. Without that understanding, it is still possible that one might get access to an ARC, but it is also unlikely that this access will continue on a consistent basis. These books exist for a reason and that reason is not to provide people with free novels.
What is an ARC?
What this comes down to is the fact that writing and publishing is still a business. Authors and publishers alike are, at the end of the day, mainly interested in having knowledge of their book reach more people to subsequently drive up sales. For this reason, an ARC (or Advanced Readers Copy) is a proof (unedited) copy of a novel that is provided to reviewers, bloggers, and booksellers prior to the release date of a novel primarily for marketing purposes. The expectation is that the reviewer will use their own personal reach to increase the outset knowledge of a book.
Now, for most, it would be preferable that the book is received well. Regardless, an important piece of this is that the reviews are honest. This results in consumer trust. In the event that a reader of a blog feels as though a reviewer is hyping up a book for reasons other than enjoying the novel, the likelihood of them buying a recommendation from that blogger decreases. However, genuine love or even genuine hate can prompt a reader to pick up a large number of books.
Ultimately, the main purpose of an ARC is to generate interest and awareness of an upcoming release in order to boost sales. When receiving an ARC, generally the expectation is that the person who received it will review the book. The biggest consequence that anyone can get for being sent an ARC and not reviewing it is to be recognized as someone to no longer send free books to. While this isn’t the end of the world, not reviewing a book can and likely will have a direct and negative impact on your access to ARCs.
Advanced Readers Copies come in a variety of forms, the most typical are physical soft covers and e-copies.
How Can I Get ARCs?
There are a number of places that you can find ARCs and I will list them below. As I continue to develop my ARCs How-To Guide, I will begin adding links to this page that will delve a little deeper into each of these options.
Please note that even though I have included e-bay on this list it is generally frowned upon and condemned for someone to get their ARCs from this source.
Directly from Publishers
Directly from Authors
It is it illegal to sell an ARC?
Technically the answer to this question is no. There are a number of places that sell ARCs, e-bay being the most well known. Many book bloggers will also donate their ARCs to thrift stores who will, in turn, sell the book. I’ve also seen advanced readers copies on various websites, like Mercari for example. However, while it is technically not illegal to sell ARCs, it is a breach of assumed contract and a somewhat immoral thing to do. Generally, the act of selling an ARC is considered to be stealing from an author, which is wrong. Every ARC has a note on the cover that the book is for review purposes only and not to be sold.
Many book bloggers will regularly comment on how wrong the practice is and condemn it. I feel that this commentary is most prevalent in the book blogging community on Twitter and though many of us have reported accounts on e-bay for selling advanced readers copies, often for absolutely insane prices, to my knowledge very little has been done about it and often those selling ARCs online tend to be people who work in the publishing industry.
You will, of course, continue to see ARCs for sale on various websites and possibly in thrift shops. Unfortunately, I do not believe this practice will stop any time soon as a result of the obvious demand for it. Though it is condemned for the most part, there are clearly still some who do buy these books. The best way to circumvent this practice is to refuse to buy, specifically from these websites.