Why I prefer eGalleys over ARCs

As a book reviewer, I read a lot of books before they’re released. It’s more than just getting books before they’re released. It’s about reading some great reads, sharing your thoughts, and hopefully helping the rest of the community pick that book as a favorite.

Recently there has been some controversy over the number of ARCs publishers hand out. If you weren’t aware, ARCs (or advanced reader copies) are pretty expensive and limited. They are also uncorrected proofs, so what you read isn’t what you’re going to get in the final product. Also, there are some arbitrary rules around owning ARCs because the book isn’t finished. For one, you can’t sell them, you can’t quote them, you can’t do anything other than read them.

So why do people read them and covet them?

For some it’s definitely about the bragging rights. Being given a book well before it’s released is like watching the series finale of Friends before it aired. You have this thing that no one else can have and only a few chosen have received. It’s a pretty cool sight.

For most, it’s a book that you’re excited to read and can’t wait to see what it’s about.

However, what I’ve been seeing lately are ARCs being sold on eBay for hundreds of dollars. That’s ridiculous! First off, you’re not supposed to sell these ARCs because they’re not the final product. Second, ARCs are a cost on the publisher’s dime. The author doesn’t make any money and you’re basically pirating a book for way more than its cover cost on the date of publication. Is it worth it to read the next installment of your favorite Fantasy series at $500 a pop?

So publishers have been pulling back on who exactly they hand these ARCs out to. I don’t know what goes into the request process, but I do know that publishers are looking for bloggers who specifically review books, they have a large following, and their interest is in reading books and not hawking them for way more than they’re physically worth.

Over the past year of reading ARCs for publishers, I found that eGalleys are way better than physical ARCs. This is a PDF file of the book you’re requesting instead of an actual copy of the book. Yes, physical copies of a book are better for holding and annotating and even taking photos of, but what do you do with those ARCs after you’re done? What if you don’t like the book?

In the controversy over ARCs, I would much prefer reading the digital version of the book. eGalleys are easily downloaded to my e-reader of choice, I can remove them from my reader once I’m done and I don’t have yet another book on my TBR pile staring at me every night.

The controversy over selling ARCs is also diminished when you have a digital version of it. I don’t think publishers do this, but they can easily lock their books or have them on a timer to expire after a certain time. This way, the book will never be sold, copied, or even unread.

Another really great reason is because sites like Edelweiss or NetGalley doesn’t require you to write that marketing letter about how great you are and send them to publishers. Of course there are books that aren’t being put on these galley sites, but they do have a mass majority of the ones the publishers are excited about reading.

And if I really loved the book, I can wait until it comes out and own the hardback. You would have two copies of the book for the price of one.

I find this to be a much more efficient way to read these advanced books without having to keep physical copies around. Naturally, I still love receiving ARCs and also love the amount of work and effort marketing teams put into creating these books. However, I really love being able to quickly request a book on NetGalley. It has all my credentials and it updates it while my social media grows. The publishers can see all of that and make the decision to approve or deny me a copy of the galley. It’s so easy and so perfect that it rarely matters to me if I get the actual book.

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Even with photography, I’ve stylized my eGalleys with books so that it looks a little bit prettier and the results have been pretty successful in the past.

I know many of you will disagree with me here, but you have to admit that eGalleys are just more convenient than the actual ARC sometimes. Perhaps I’m more pragmatic than the normal book reader. Also, I’ve basically given up on emailing publishers and will take what I can get.

13 thoughts on “Why I prefer eGalleys over ARCs

  1. I am beginning to see the benefits of egalleys over physical ARCS myself and I’m very lucky to have both. I also read faster on my e-Reader than I do physical & I can’t explain it. I have come across publishers on Netgalley that have Protected PDF’s & those you can only read on either Adobe or apps like Bluefire, they have expiration dates.These are the ones I try & read way in advance cause I worry they’ll disappear from my Kindle. I’m leaning more towards making galleys my go-to cause they really are that much easier to acquire. Great Post & food for thought 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve noticed that I read faster on my kindle as well! I wonder what that is. I know that Random house is super protective of their galleys and created those protected PDFs but I have had some luck with Netgalley and receiving kindle books. They’re still PDFs, but I don’t think they’re protected? Is that true?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea NetGalley is pretty awesome and about 95% are unprotected through Kindle. Penguin Random however, is infamous for encryption and the galleys expire within short time frames waaaayyyyy before the time of publication 🤷🏻‍♀️ smh. Either way it is a cool way to read 💜💜💜


  2. Hey Simone,
    I can’t believe that I am actually saying this but I am an e-reader convert because of e-galleys from Netgalley. I totally agree with your points. Moreover, I get excited when I see books that I review on actual bookshelves and I say to myself, “I kind of contributed in making this possible, ” ( by a long shot). Plus you have got no idea how much I love the extra shelf since I believe I don’t qualify for physical copies since I live outside the major markets.

    One thing that I have not known how to handle is seeing seeing/buying ARC copies that are sold second hand. In Kenya, they are sold for less than $3 in most cases. However, trying to educate the sellers that it is unethical is another story altogether especially for well-known authors and they are keen on recovering their profits.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha I’m glad that egalleys are working for you especially since you live outside of the major markets. What are your normal sources for finding new reads? I’d love to know!

      And yeah, I would give away books if I could. Selling them for like $3 doesn’t seem like a lot of profit, but I would totally sell books for that much. I don’t want the money I just want to get rid of the books! haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Netgalley is kind of taking care of my new release anxiety. Booktube is my major source but these days I am more picky…. I ‘d rather watch library hauls rather buying hauls ( more of a psychological trick that calms my anxiety) . Reading challenges are great in stretching my ideas which makes me Google and go through GReads


  3. This is such a great post! I’ve been getting eGalleys through Netgalley and Edelweiss for the longest time, but I’ve always wanted ARCs. I just recently received 2, and it was definitely made me happy because it made me feel like I had reached a milestone (even though I really haven’t). While it’s nice to have physical copies that are fun to pose with, I prefer having eGalleys because it’s convenient to request them and then read them. I do struggle with taking pictures with them, though, so if you have any tips on that, I would really appreciate it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear that you’re getting ARCs now! It is a privilege and you have to build up to getting to that point, so it’s happy news to hear that people are recognizing your work. For taking photos, I always take pics of the cover which I can easily find online. I also use books without their jackets to give it some bookish flair. For example, you can have an open book with your e-reader on top. It seems to work for me pretty well. As long as there are books somewhere people are happy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a really great idea for the photos! I’ll definitely try it for future ones! I think that for the most part, I’m going to stick to eGalleys. They’re so much more convenient to receive and to request and I like that I can take them with me everywhere!


  4. E-galleys are definitely better than physical ones. I agree with the point you made that what should be done with it if I didn’t like the book–I mean, I can’t be enthusiastic enough about it to give it up for a giveaway and I’ll be feeling super sad while writing that bad review because I got a physical ARC and I didn’t like it and ugh, too much struggle. At least, the e-galleys can be closed and forgotten about if I didn’t like the book 😀

    I’ve no idea how people can feel entitled enough and take up courage to sell their ARCs. It’s disgusting and am sad to hear about such people who are a part of the community. I loved this post, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! Receiving an ARC is a privilege and the publishers trust the community enough to keep what the ARCs say private until the book is finally published. It makes me so sad that people are selling those ARCs for exorbitant amounts of money. On top of that, the author makes NO MONEY on the book which is their livelihood. It’s not worth $400 to sell something that is keeping another person from being paid for their hard work.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I ONLY accept e-galleys for review…haha! I have young kids and it’s just so much more convenient for me to read electronically. I’d read so much less and slower if I had to read hard copies. And – I agree the process for getting the is so much easier…and providing feedback back to the publishers.

    The one area where it hurts me is Instagram, but I need to work on trying to style shots with my Kindle. So far I haven’t tried much of that.

    Liked by 1 person

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