Thursday, January 26, 2012

Under somewhat shady circumstances

Let’s open a can of worms.  
Last week on ebay I purchased an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) of a book I’m anxiously awaiting the release of.  I have purchased ARC’s before, since they pop up at used book sales once in while, but this is the first time I intentionally purchased one before the anticipated publication date.  Most people believe that purchasing an ARC at a book sale after the book’s release, and purchasing it before, are two completely different things.  That somehow selling a book that was received for free is okay, as long as it’s already been published for the general public. 
Some people believe that ARC’s shouldn’t be put up for sale at all, ever, because the publisher’s make no money on them, no money goes to the author, and they are only handed out in the understanding that the person who is receiving the ARC has enough klout to hype the release of the book prior to publishing.  
Some might make the argument that it takes bloggers a lot of work and effort to earn the klout needed for receiving ARC’s.  That they had to travel to book signings and conventions, or even win a contest, to “earn the right” to read the book first.  
Being able to purchase the book? Well that’s cheating the system! And some even feel it’s immoral of the person selling them, when it clearly says on the covers “sticker,” that the ARC is not “intended” for resale.  
Clearly those people selling them don’t care about the books!  They’re just trying to make an easy buck!
And after all, receiving ARC’s is a “privilege!”  Not a right!
Well, I’m sorry, but I simply don’t agree with that.  And this is what I think.
There are many of us who participate on goodreads, and in the blogging community that don’t have access to ARC’s.  We can’t travel or don’t live in area’s where they’re available.  Attending author’s signings may be impossible, and winning a contest for one among thousands is slim odds.  The person I purchased the ARC from, received the book unsolicited from the publishing agency.  She read it, didn’t like it, and decided to sell it.  Yes, she received it for free, and she is making money off of this.  But keep in mind the publisher’s took a risk in sending it to her.  She is under no contractual obligation not to sell the book.  I see no difference between selling the book on ebay and donating it to a used bookstore who would sell it anyway.  If she received the book before publication date, I see no reason for her not to be able to sell it to me before the publication date.  She made it very clear that it was an ARC copy that she received for free.  I am receiving the book in complete understanding that it is not a published copy.  Why is this so different from passing it along to someone else in a contest, or giveaway?  Because I have put a monetary value on what the ARC is worth to me?  In fact, by selling it she has almost guaranteed that it will go to someone who really wants to read it, and will definitely review it, and most likely create more hype about it.  Me.  Because I have forked over some hard earned cash for that book and I have more invested in it then someone who just won it in a giveaway, or received it from the publisher.  I will review it for of my friends on goodreads, facebook, tweet, and blog about it.  I am more excited for it’s release than ever.  I will still buy another copy, so I can analyze all the differences between the two versions.  Because I am an uber-fan and an uber-dork like that.  And there’s lot’s of people just like me out there.
I would also like to point out, ARC’s used to be provided mainly to bookstores to encourage them to purchase the book for their shelves.  So by virtue of this relationship as a blogger, by giving away your ARC in a giveaway- you are also being immoral.  The publisher is sending you an ARC so that you will encourage others to purchase the book through a review.  Not so you will receive more traffic to your site through advanced copy giveaways.  Not so you can pass it along to other blogger friends who you feel are deserving to read it first, even though the publisher didn't send them a copy.
Yes.  I went there.  
So don’t sit on your blogging pedestal and tell me it’s immoral to purchase an ARC of a book I know I will love.  Or that the person selling it is immoral because she wants to make some money off of a book she received for free, and doesn’t want sitting on her shelf taking up space.  Would the publishing company prefer her to throw it away?
Let's discuss.
Because we’re all living in glass houses people.

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