Up Close and (un)Conventional – ARCs and International Bloggers
Welcome to my newest Up Close and (un)Conventional. This is where I discuss both things that have to do with reading and blogging, and things that just have to do with life in general. This week, I wanted to chat about ARCs. I have been quite lucky so far in my blogging career, as I have received many ARCs. Both those I have requested on either NetGalley or Edelweiss, from various book conventions I have been to, as well as from authors who send review requests my way.
Last week, NetGalley informed their users that their platform would no longer accept requests from international bloggers or reviewers. Some people were quite upset about this, while others told those who were upset to get over themselves. That if they were blogging ‘solely for ARCs, they should find another hobby’. Or another one ‘just use your library’, it’s free! And ‘it shouldn’t matter if you can’t review newer books’.
Let’s just think about this from a different perspective for a moment, shall we? First of all, I totally agree – no blogger should reasonably think they can only write about ARCs on their blog. I am in total agreement with that. However, international bloggers don’t all live in English-speaking countries. Which might mean that libraries just don’t carry any English books. At all. So while using the library is awesome, I, for one, do not enjoy reading translations if I know the original language. And most of the authors I read are English speakers. And the library here in Geneva does not carry English books – apart from very old ones, or some of the classics. Even the library at the high school where I work has a very meager selection of books in English. Which means that I sometimes make donations so that my ESL students can read something other than the books we read for class.
Buying books in a local bookstore is really expensive! A paperback of a newer book costs $18! And the English section in the bookstore (if they have English books at all) is very small, so most of my favorite authors never show up on their shelves. A few years ago, almost all bookstores had a good selection of English books, which did make it easier even though it was still expensive. Now, I think with competition from online stores, the selection is much weaker. And while I can buy two or three books online rather than one in a store, it still makes me sad that now I kind of have to buy online.
Of course, I can totally buy my own books. Which I actually do. More often than not, I add books I buy to my library ever week. Either kindle versions, as that’s the kind of instant gratification I have trouble resisting – my one-click finger always gets enough exercise. Or, I order from book depository because of free shipping, and they also pack books individually so I won’t have to pay import taxes on the books I buy.
Also, blogging can be a pretty expensive hobby to have. I’m sure all bloggers agree on that. I pay for my url, for hosting, for security measures etc. Plus, recently, the linky I use for my features also became a paid service. Which I understand – they have a great tool, and to keep it that way, they need people to pay for it.
In November alone, I spent a lot of money on books. And I actually get a lot of ARCs. However, when I read an ARC I love, I will pre-order the book, so that the author can continue to write stories for me to enjoy. If I never got any ARCs, I might actually spend less money on books, because several authors I also love are self published, and their books tend to be a bit cheaper. Plus, I own hundreds of books I haven’t actually read yet – so I would be set for quite some time.
So while I don’t think I base my blog, and my hobby as a reviewer, on ARCs, they sure do make my life a lot easier. Sometimes, I’ll click on a new to me author on NetGalley or Edelweiss, and I’ll be amazed. Which brings that author a new fan who might have never tried reading their books. Or chatted about their books online with friends. Sharing tweets and bookstagram posts to make sure as many people as possible hear of them.
There is one good thing that has come from this specific discussion, though, I discovered more or less 50 new to me bloggers who are international bloggers, and that is a total win in my opinion 🙂
Do you receive ARCs? Do they help you decide which books to buy once they’re released?