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Life, Law & Libros

Discussion: ARC's v. eARC's

34 comments
I completely forget who, but a blogger mentioned on Twitter how she wasn't requesting eARC's anymore and was focusing instead on physical ARC's. Which got me thinking about the pros and cons of digital and physical advanced reading copies.

First, random question: do you call them "arks" or "A-R-C's"? I've talked to some soon-to-be-published authors who use the former, but I've always used the latter. Also, disclaimer: I've never received a physical ARC from a publisher (just the lovely finished hardcovers from the Prometheus/Pyr booth at BookCon- thank you!), so all my thoughts on that end are purely theoretical.

Physical ARC's:
I love the idea of these, and goodness knows I'd be thrilled beyond belief to see one in my mailbox, but I've seen other bloggers running into problems- one problem, really. On the bright side, it's a real, substantive THING you can hold and hug and smell, and it oftentimes has pretty cover art, and you can put it by your bed to remind yourself to read it.

On the dark side, it takes up space. Lots of space. I think most bloggers receiving ARC's are major book buyers, too, so they're often buying finished copies of the books they love. Thus, what to do with the ARC's? Giving away the read/discarded copies entails shipping costs if no other bloggers/readers live nearby; you can only replace so much furniture with shelving before family members protest; and bonfires are frowned upon. Is a puzzlement! (Kudos if you know where that line's from!)

eARC's:
These I know, though I've seriously cut back on my requests. I think they've worked out fairly well for me, but eARC's have their drawbacks, too. On the bright side, it's digital, so it doesn't take up any space. When I finish, if I like the book, I put it on the to-buy list; if I dislike it, I delete the file, write my review and forget about it.

On the dark side...it's not something you can hold in your hands, and I hate it when titles get archived or expire before you get to them. Then your NetGalley stats suffer and you have to wait until the official release date to track down the book, read, review and fix your stats. Also, the formatting. I don't know if it's as bad in physical copies, but eARC's are notorious for cruddy formatting.

All right, you guys! I know lots of you have experience with eARC's and physical ARC's (or ARC envy). What do you think? Do you prefer one format or the other?

34 comments :

  1. oooo.... I just love having physical books. So if that's an option I usually request a paper copy. But for the most part I get digital ARCs. I download them as soon as I get them so I don't miss out when they expire. Hurts my percentage a little, but I still seem to get approved often.

    Oh, and I say "arks"

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    1. That sounds like a good policy! As long as you can read them right away before they expire on your device, right? :)

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    2. I love the physical having of books, too! I love their smells, especially as they age and take on that well-loved and worn appearance. -sigh- So dreamy! There was a quote about books that I loved...I'll try and find it for you! Post back soon!

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    3. Found it!
      "Faber sniffed the book. "Do you know that books smell like nutmeg or some spice from a foreign land? I loved to smell them when I was a boy." -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451.

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  2. Another problem we as a community are running into with eARCs (I used to say A-R-C and now say ark because otherwise publicists look at me funny when I meet them in person, ha) is the issue of piracy. Too many eARCs are being pirated so publishers are backing off of them, whereas physical ARCs can't be pirated nearly as easily obviously (I suppose you could photocopy them?). I really hope the trend of samplers instead of full eARCs doesn't continue, but I don't see what option publishers really have now that book blogging is so huge that they can't keep track of us all.

    As a personal preference, I used to crave physical ARCs but am now quite happy with eARCs since it means I can work out while reading them and they don't take over my house. Plus, I don't feel guilty if I don't get to all my eARCs since they take much less to produce than physical ARCs *shrug*

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    1. Drat, I better get used to saying "ark." The connotations are all wrong in my head right now, but we'll fix that.

      I hadn't heard about eARC piracy nearly as much as people selling physical ARC's, but, unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me. :(

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  3. I honestly don't care which format I get them in. I thought e-arcs would be easier on pubs because of cost but most seem more willing to ship them than to mess with formatting on various devices. And I admit I am more willing to blow off and e-arc than a physical one so I get that actually getting the book in a reviewers hand is a plus.

    I call them arks as well, though I over use the term. Often what I receive is a finished copy a week or so before release. Still usually call it an arc though; I have it in advance, am a reader, and it is a copy of the title =)

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    1. That's interesting that the physical copies inspire more guilt when not read. But their production cost is definitely higher.

      I've been wondering about the formatting issues. I once converted one of my Word docs into epub so I could read it on my Nook, and I had minimal issues. I wonder if the problems really start when you add headers and footers and extra spaces...hmm.

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  4. FYI the reply button doesn't seem to work for me.

    Netgalley books don't expire do they? I have the Kindle and they go to my cloud, so I can redownload them on any of my devices

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    1. That's strange. You aren't on an iPad or iPhone by any chance?

      I know Netgalley titles get archived, and I'm reasonably certain you can only open them for 60 days after downloading, which shouldn't ever be a problem but... ^^; But maybe the Kindle version works differently.

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    2. Aha, I'm on my work computer. Was using internet explorer. Switched to Chrome and it works fine :)

      Must be a Nook thing. I just tried on the kindle app for my phone and downloaded a book from months ago. As long as I originally sent it to my Kindle before it was archived on netgalley I have access to it.

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    3. That explains it! IE strikes again.

      Maybe there are different rules depending on the format? I download epubs to Adobe Digital Editions, then transfer to the Nook. There's a time limit on both. Maybe I should consider downloaded adding the Kindle app?

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    4. ADE books DO expire!! I hate when the eARC copies I receive are epubs, because I rarely finish the book in time and then it is gone forever :(

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  5. I definitely prefer physical ARCs to eARCs. They're so much more fun. When I'm done with ARCs, I either pass on the good ones to friends and family, or I donate them.

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    1. I had a feeling you liked the traditional format more. :)

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    2. Traditional all the way; that's me :)

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  6. I prefer physical ARCS (I call them arks) who wants to say A. R. Cs every time?

    As for what I do with my ARCs when I'm done, I give a lot of them away to other bloggers, yes I spend a lot on shipping. I'm going to have to cut back on that soon. Also I donate them to toys for tots (kids need books any books) The library will not accept donated arcs because they can't shelve them.

    Others well if not one wants them they go into the recycle because heck what else can you do with them, they aren't for resale.

    I don't like digitals because I forget about them, also because of the formatting as well is annoying. Many pubs are getting better at that though.

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    1. "Ark" still makes me think of either Noah or a pirate (or a pirate Noah!), but I'm working on it.

      Donating used ARC's to a charity sounds like a wonderful idea! It takes care of the space problem, isn't costly and is for a good cause. Nice solution!

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  7. But look at the pretty books, Kelly! Also, what's "Winterling" and "The Crown of Embers"? They look really good! Can I borrow them? Also, I have your comics to give back. When can I stop by?

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    1. I think they're both books I won in a giveaway. You're welcome to check them out. And this week's schedule is crazy. Text me and we'll figure out a time.

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  8. Always a great discussion and the comments here were great!
    I as well prefer physical ARCs to eARCs, but I still prefer a 'real' book to an ebook any day. I still haven't reached my 'book space limit' because I try to be more strict with what I actually spend money on. That being said, almost 90% of the books I read are ebooks. I understand the publishers can distribute them more cheaply and thus reach a wider base, so I don't mind.

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    1. The comments are what I love most about discussion posts! Everyone has such interesting insights.

      I'm with you. I tend to prefer physical books in general. In fact, with a few exceptions, eARC's are the only ebooks I read. We'll see how publishers tackle the formatting and piracy problems. Hopefully, they'll find good solutions because the costs differential looks massive.

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  9. I call them "arks". Much quicker and easier.
    I like physical arcs, but rarely request or receive them. I prefer the easy approval and handling of e-arcs. It seems like some publishers more readily hand out e-arcs as they cost less. I find only a few publishers worry about e-arc piracy, and since most of them are YA and I read more adult, it's less an issue for me.

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    1. I've only skimmed the information for requesting physical ARC's, but I'm pretty pleased with the eARC process, so all's well. :) Is it mainly YA eARC's getting posted online? I didn't realize, but I suppose it makes sense...hmm, shame either way. :(

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  10. Getting physical ARC is like the most exciting thing ever. However, where I live, I often get them late. Read: very, very, very late. So if the review is do to an impending deadline, I've no choice but to resort to an eARC copy. Which is great because hey! I still get an amazing book ahead of most of the world, but physical ARCs are just special.

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    1. That's a pro I forgot: the instant delivery! Good point!

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  11. Great discussion! I totally agree with the pros and cons you thought of for both physical ARCs and eARCs. First off, when I see the acronym ARC, I say it as ARKS haha. I think it's just easier to say it that way instead of spelling it. Second, I'm torn between physical and eARCs. It would be awesome to receive physical ARCs but then like you said, it takes up too much space. eARCs are awesome too because I have a kindle paperwhite and I can just read my eARC anytime even if it's night time unlike a physical arc, I need to turn on my light which sucks. I hate how there's an expiration date though in Netgalley and Edelweiss!

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    1. Thank you! I've been told the Kindle files don't have expiration dates, though I know at least NetGalley archives titles, so you should just have to make sure you add it to your Kindle Cloud before then. :)

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  12. I greatly prefer eARCs. I have no idea what to do with physical ones when I'm done. I've actually had to bin some. :( I like that eARCs don't take up any space, and I prefer to read on my Kindle anyway.

    Also the kindle eARCs don't expire. They only do that on Adobe Digital Editions.

    I rarely have issues with eARC formatting. The only publisher that gives me trouble is Entangled. Every other pub I've gotten eARCs from has been fine!

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    1. I loved Tabitha's idea of donating the extra ARC's to Toys for Tots or a charity like that. But eARC's are definitely convenient. Maybe the formatting is more consistent on Kindle versions? Hmm...

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  13. I prefer reading on my Kindle so it follows that I prefer eARCs, but I do get a bit jealous of the packages other bloggers get from publishers -- especially those unsolicted ones! I've had a couple of publishers send me books for blog tours and I just recently sent in my first request for a physical copy. We'll see if I ever get it...

    I do wonder what to do with the physical copies. I'm not a rereader so I don't feel the need to keep them around, no matter how much I loved them. I'll probably end up donating them with my other physical copies (that I've purchased) sooner or later.

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    1. It's true. eARC's are nice and easy, but the stacks of physical ARC's are so pretty! Photos of eARC's don't have quite the same impact. Donating used copies, especially to charities, always seems to be a good plan. :)

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  14. I've never gotten a physical ARC since I started blogging. (I did get one from a Goodreads giveaway way back in the day... I was sort of confused by it at the time.)

    I prefer eARCs, mostly because I like the way NetGalley works. I don't get overwhelmed with pitches, I'm the one doing the requesting, and it's less intimidating having that middleman versus contacting publishers directly to ask for titles. Also, since I don't have a Kindle, the copies I get do expire, which can be annoying but makes me feel better about the whole "I received this book in exchange for a review" thing... I didn't actually receive a thing. All I get is the opportunity to read the book, not a copy (physical or otherwise) that I get to keep. Plus then I don't have to deal with the "okay, now what do I do with it" dilemma when I'm done reading.

    The only eARCs I don't like are PDFs, which are ridiculously annoying to read. If there was one thing I wish NetGalley would change, it's letting us know what file type the publisher is offering before we request it.

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    1. That's a great point! I didn't think of it, but using NetGalley or Edelweiss as a middleman is less intimidating than contacting the publisher directly, especially for new bloggers. I'm generally okay with the expiring files, too (because I work best with deadlines). I think PDFs are just annoying in general. Noting the file type would be nice.

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