Up Close and (un)Conventional – BEA and ARCs

Posted 20 May, 2016 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Discussion Posts / 39 Comments

Up Close and (un)Conventional - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Up Close and (un)Conventional – BEA and ARCs

Welcome to this week’s 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’m going to talk a little bit about BEA and ARCs. As you may know, I was in Chicago last week for BEA, and I had a fantastic time. Hanging out with bloggers, meeting authors, and getting a lot of new books for me to read. It seemed to me as if everybody in the hall at McCormick Place had a great time – I got to know some new bloggers while standing in line, and I was able to chat with publishers, both at their booth and at the various author breakfasts and teas I had signed up for.

So all is good, right? Not really, it seems. As soon as Monday, it seems some people were selling their BEA ARCs on EBay, and that is really not right! We receive those ARCs so that we can review them, not to earn money off the back of the authors and the publishers, and it made me really sad to see that some people apparently came to Chicago for their own personal gain like that.

On another hand, I have also seen some tweets about how bloggers (at least those that are ‘not professional’) are too greedy. That we have taken too many ARCs, and that there is really no reason for anyone to go back home with more than 75 ARCs in their suitcase. And I really had some questions about that sweeping generalization! Why 75? Why not 70 or 80, if some people decide on a number, what do they base that number on? How many ARCs they got themselves? What is an appropriate number of ARCs to bring home from BEA, and who gets to decide?

When I first saw those tweets, for maybe a couple of seconds, I felt both a little bad, and a little guilty. That didn’t last, though, because all of the books I brought home with me was given to me – from someone’s hand into my hand – and I know that I will read all of them. Some of the books I received won’t be released until March 2017, so I will definitely have time. So this post is about what is ‘appropriate’ blogger behaviour while participating in BEA? And are we really professional? I certainly don’t feel professional when it comes to blogging, it’s my hobby, and the only perk I have is that I sometimes get free books so I can review them. And at least one publisher appears to agree with me about just adding books to my shelves:

Books, ARCs, Library - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Have you been to a convention, and then felt criticized about the books you brought home? Or even for your weekly or monthly wrap-up, have you felt like you shouldn’t have shared everything you received in order to not have people tell you you’re too greedy?

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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39 responses to “Up Close and (un)Conventional – BEA and ARCs

  1. Honestly, I have not been to a convention or a signing or a book festival so this is just me sitting at home with an opinion. My opinion coincides with yours. ARCs shouldn’t be sold. Give them away if you don’t want to read them. Gift them or whatever. That is making sure they’re read and potentially reviewed. But selling them is wrong.

    And that is just sour grape envy that criticizes someone bringing home a pile of books. Oh sure, it’s fun to drool over someone’s stack of books, but that’s out of line to snipe at them for having the books. What do these people honestly think a book convention is for? Publishers, promoters, and authors go to the conventions planning to give them away so they of course don’t mind if folks take them or in some cases purchase them. Now should people grab a whole stack of a book when they are only meant to be taken one person? That’s different.
    You bought your ticket to be there and getting books is part of the perk. And its a win-win all around if you’re a review b/c you will spread the word to people about the book at your blog and social media.
    Bummer that this type of thing soured your experience a little.

    • ARCs aren’t supposed to be sold, ever, it even states so on all of the ones I received last week, Sophia Rose… And it makes me really sad that some people still do sell them – and that some then, buy them.
      I think you’re right about the number of ARCs and the criticism there is all about sour grapes. And I did actually get three books double, told the author or the publisher that I already had that specific title, but I want to do a European giveaway – and they gave that second copy to me anyway.
      Of course, going around grabbing books is a bit over the top for me, and that’s not at all what I did, and I can’t say I saw anyone else doing that, either.
      It only soured my experience for a couple of seconds, so don’t worry about me! I just really wanted to share my thoughts about the subject, though, because it’s always kind of strange to me that some people think they’re in the position to judge others and make generalizations like that.

  2. It’s bad, I don’t know why they bother, maybe they’re jealous? I went to Le Salon du Livre de Paris but it’s really not like that but I would love to try one day. It sounds so good and I’m so curious to go! I think you were really lucky but it’s sad if in the end you have a feeling like that because of others

  3. Berls

    The arc selling floored me Lexxie. I was so shocked to see people doing it. Will I read every book I got? No, I plan to give some away. But I told the authors and publishers that and they were thrilled to give me a copy to give away. So I don’t think they have a problem with how many people take. I think that came from jealous individuals. But the selling… That’s just wrong. Literally illegal. Makes me sad, especially knowing how hard it was for some of us to get copies of the books they are selling – and we did it because we want to read them πŸ™

    • Selling ARCs made me very sad and shocked, too, Berls. It’s not what we’re supposed to do at all. And it’s something that definitely sits wrong with me.
      And I actually do have some books I will give away, too, with the publisher’s or the author’s agreement, so yeah, that’s no biggie either.

  4. The selling part is totally wrong but the amount you got, it is what it is. Will I read all my books maybe but some where just handed to me and just because I don’t know the author of some books I grabbed doesn’t mean that I wont like them, they might turn into my next favorite author. I hate how they automatically blame all bloggers and not just the ones that did wrong. May not have even been a blogger. I was also angry seeing a few authors saying that bloggers don’t help sell books and that they didn’t need us. I am good if that is how they feel, I do this as a hobby I love sharing books but I don’t need the drama, just let me read in peace….even my free arcs πŸ™‚

    • Ha! You’re so right – it might not even have been a blogger who did something wrong. And I know I had two different badges, so if I didn’t want people to know everything about me, I could have chosen to use only one or the other.
      Really? There were some authors who thought that bloggers don’t help sell books? I was sitting next to someone working at Harper Collins at the children’s author breakfast, and when she noticed I was a blogger, she told the rest of the table I was her new best friend, and gave me her card and asked me to contact her as soon as I got back home so she could get me on her ARC list…

  5. We know how I feel about the selling. The other though, isn’t that between you and the person you got the ARC from. I think people who make those sweeping generalizations kind of forget that there were several different types of people there: Librarians, Book Sellers, Book Club Leaders, Bloggers, and Industry. Each probably with more than one title under their belt. There for different reasons but all of it centered around the love of books. I told many publishers that I probably wasn’t going to read the book but was going to give it to my book club. They were thrilled! The point is to get the books into hands and get a buzz going. I am guessing that person who sniped brought home 74 and that is how they came up with the number SMH

    • I agree, Felicia! Getting those ARCs, as I said – into my hands, from someone else’s hands – without grabbing them in any way does not make me feel as if I wasn’t acting responsibly. I also read a lot, so having more books I can read is a big plus for me.
      And I’m glad you had positive feedback from publishers about not actually reading all those book yourself, but sharing with your book club! That’s awesome πŸ™‚

  6. I’ve never been to BEA, but I have been to some smaller book and writing conferences. People were always really civil about the ARCs and free books. I think people should be able to get as many books as they want, but I don’t think ARCs should be sold. That seems greedy.

    • I didn’t see anyone who wasn’t civil Aj. And yes, people should be able to accept as many ARCs as they want, without others trying to police that based on some kind of weird science…
      Selling ARCs is just wrong, though, and on all mine, it states ‘Not for sale’ so yeah, that’s a bit no-no!

  7. I feel that if you go to BEA it’s your right to take as many ARC’s home with you as you want. I don’t think there should be a limit or number to how many you should take, that’s up for everyone to decide for themselves.
    It does make me sad that there are people selling their arc’s and basically making money off the backs of those authors and publishers, that’s just wrong.
    I also think you don’t have to be a professional blogger, whatever that even means. No matter why you blog, you do help spread the word about those books by reading and reviewing them. Great post!

    • I agree with that, Lola. I paid for my plane ticket, for the conference, and for the hotel. And I didn’t just go and take ARCs, they were delivered to my hands, and so I really didn’t feel bad about accepting them at all.
      People selling ARCs is really bad, though. They are not for sale, and those authors and their publishers are not earning any money that way – even if the person who ends up buying and ARC might talk about it – it’s not the way it was supposed to be.
      Like you, I don’t even know what’s meant with professional blogger – I don’t identify with that at all.

  8. My first thought was OMG! Selling ARCs is a big no-no, one that is stamped on the books…and one that we are told repeatedly from Amazon Vine. I’m sure that the rules for BEA ARCs would be the same.

    I feel disgusted when I think of this kind of behavior. I attended BEA in LA, 2008, signing a copy of my book Chasing Stardust. It was not an ARC, it was a published version, but I was still offended to see copies of my book on E-Bay.

    The whole experience leaves a bad taste, IMO.

    Great post!

    • You’re right, Laurel-Rain, it IS stamped on the books – not for sale – on the front, so it’s not like anyone could pretend they didn’t know. I completely understand that it left a bad taste to see your own book end up on e-bay, too. It’s really very sad πŸ™

  9. We get as much if not more arcs via NG & EW in a year. Is staggering the amount better than one massive dump? The only reason I can think of is envy. These people whine because they can’t go or didn’t maximize their opportunities and can’t deal with how others managed to do it. Heck if I paid $$$ to get tickets, accommodations etc., you bet your ass I’ll try and get my money’s worth.

    There should be a system to report these sellers. They give us honest bloggers a bad name

    • You’re right, many of us do – and others get physical ARCs sent to them without even asking for them. I think you and I would have a lot of fun at a convention like this Braine.
      The sellers are another thing completely, I really hate that someone actually sells their ARCs on e-bay… they give everybody a bad name – both bloggers and other convention-goers.

  10. Every single year after BEA blogger jealousy rears it’s ugly head. Going to BEA means paying for travel, hotels, food and general being EXHAUSTED for 3 days straight so you should get all the books you want in my opinion. If you make it out there, it’s up to you to decide how many books you go home with! Don’t let the jealous babies get you don’t my friend and don’t feel bad for ONE SECOND longer β™₯

    As for selling ARCs well that’s just despicable! Authors and publishers are kind enough to grant free copies but that’s not so people can go around selling what usually are uncorrected proofs. That really makes me angry though! I hope those people get in trouble for that, they deserve it.

    • You’re right of course, only, I didn’t notice it so much in prior years, as I hadn’t been myself, Micheline. We went to bed fairly early every night, because we just couldn’t take it anymore πŸ˜€
      I hope there’s some way to get the ARC sellers in trouble, too – it’s just so wrong.

  11. Firstly, I am sooooo upset we did not run into each other!! I feel the most devastated by this! It was my first BEA, so I was a little starry eyed and whatnot, but ack! Missing out on meeting my blogger pals kills me! I’m hoping it goes to Chicago again in 2018 for I might give it a go again! I don’t feel confident about NYC! Go figure! LOL! I go tons of places on my own, but NYC still terrifies me for reasons unknown!! LOL!

    But this ARC business. Ugh. It’s terrible! Bloggers get such a bad rep from these individuals. And it sickens me to my core when I see ARCs on sale on Ebay. I don’t go looking for them honestly, but when people post about them…mainly their disgust over it, it just makes me sick. There are so many ARCs I would love to personally have and treasure forever, but never ever would I consider buying them! That’s just wrong! Even when I go into Half Price Books stores I have to wonder how well they check their stock that they buy from customers. There are the occasional ARCs. And I’m left wondering if I should say something. Other times, I really feel like just walking by the register and say, I’m taking this kay? It says NOT FOR SALE, so that’s free, right? Plus I’m a blogger and seeing ARCs on a shelf to be sold is a little nauseating. Even if they are old ones. Though, I haven’t run across one that I might feel compelled to buy for collecting purposes. It would basically have to be a Maria V. Snyder one! I only have like 2 of those, but even then, I don’t really feel compelled to collect them. The ones I usually want to collect come from ARCs I read (generally as E) and loved their original art cover, then it got changed and I’m left disappointed in the new one. So I try to track down those for trading! I got 2 that I really wanted just earlier this year and I think it was in 2013 I got another 2 when I was at an event and they had a table that was pretty much a free for all. Or maybe it was like pick 5 books for now and we’ll dish the rest out later. It was there that I found 2 more that I coveted! There was much happy dancing! LOL!

    BEA was quite the experience for me! Since I’ve done RTs, I felt prepared for craziness and was pretty well right there. Though nothing prepared me for Book Con. Yeah…that might not be a repeat experience for me in the future. Unless a MUST SEE/MEET author is in attendance…that wasn’t at the BEA portion! LOL!

    Next time Lexxie we shall meet!!!

    • I’m really, really sad we didn’t run into each other, too, Jessica! I think it’s almost impossible to actually run into everyone, though. And I wasn’t able to got to the blogger dinner on the Friday evening. I may be going to RT next year though… (hint, hint) πŸ˜‰
      ARCs on a shelf would make me feel a bit nauseated, too! Even in a second hand bookstore! The store shouldn’t earn money on those either, right? I wonder what they would say to you if you actually went in there and said – oh, this says not for sale, so I can just take it, right?…
      I try not to get sad if there are ARCs I don’t get, because I’m so happy I get ARCs at all.
      We shall meet next time, Jessica, we’ll have to make sure of it!

  12. This whole thing has been enlightening to me. I know lots of people who get SUPER upset when they don’t get an ARC. They start to criticize those who do and even the authors themselves. Its so petty and immature. And the people who sell them on eBay is just so strange to me! I can’t imagine ever wanting to sell my books. Ever.
    I don’t typically ever feel bad about the ARCs I get because honestly, it never crosses my mind. There are lots of ARCs I don’t get so in the end, I don’t feel bad about the ones I do! And I read CRAZY fast, so yeah, I can read more books a month than most people so I have more ARCs I can take. The drama is all so strange to me because the things people do-it never crossed my mind.

    Samantha recently posted: Freebie Friday May 20th
    • I read very fast, too, Samantha. And when I’m not working, I read more or less one book per day. I had read about some ARC envy before, too, but I hadn’t really paid much attention to it – I guess because I didn’t really feel like it applied to me. Now, though, with my very nice and big haul from BEA, I did feel like it applied to me. And that those people who think I got too many books have no idea what they’re talking about πŸ˜€
      You’re completely right, I would never tell people off for being on an ARC high, either.

  13. Here’s my take on it. If you have no intention of actually reading the book, don’t take the arc. I know that sometimes you take an arc with the plan to read it and never get to it, that happens. But to take a book with the plan to just sell it, that is wrong. I know there were also complaints about people taking books to give away on their blog. I don’t see a problem with that, personally, unless you are taking multiples. I think each person should only take one copy of a book.

    Here’s the other thing I saw complaints about, children (teenagers) taking copies that mom had gotten as well. Here’s my thought about that, that child paid the same amount to get to the con as everyone else. They are just as entitled to a single copy of an arc as the parent. Why wouldn’t they be? Yes, they can share. But, they might want to get it signed and have a copy for their collection. That’s allowed.

    I don’t know. I just wish people wouldn’t be so greedy. Take what you are planning on reading. Don’t sell arcs (as is printed on the copy). Remember you are not the only one there who wants copies. It isn’t that hard. Great post.

    • I agree, Melanie, picking up books I have no interest in just wouldn’t work for me anyway, it’s not as if I have unlimited space (in my suitcases or at home). Selling ARCs is just so wrong! I wish there was a way to stop that happening, but I guess not…
      Yeah, I saw the teenager thing, too, afterwards. The thing is, though, maybe the teenager was with an aunt or a neighbor, too… we don’t really know that, and judging without knowing is too easy! You’re right about the fact that even if it was a mother and a daughter, they both paid their entrance, and so they were both entitled to their own copies of the books they wanted.
      Thanks for your input, Melanie!

  14. I am international blogger (and tbh too new) so I don’t go to conventions but here’s my two cents on that theme:
    I consider myself as a slow reader so if I, in same wild scenario, was on BEA and got 75 books that would be gready bc I don’t think I would be able to read them all.
    BUT, if someone tend to read 20+ books a month and goes home fromBEA with 75 ARCs and reads them all and reviews them, then that is fine. After all, that blogger didn’t steal it from anyone, he/she got it for free from the publisher or the author.
    But here’s also what I found ridiculous last year when I wasn’t the part of blogosphere but was watching many Booktubers.
    So many of them had book hauls with a LOT of ARCs which they openly takled that they had no idea what they are about but they took them anyway bc they could.
    That’s not what bothered me.
    What I think was the problem that few months later the same Booktubers filmed unhauls with those same ARCs because they lost their interest and decided to get rid of them/donate them.
    Someone who would actually want that book maybe wasn’t able to get it bc there wasn’t enough ARCs (maybe).

    irena_bookdustmagic recently posted: Book Review: Truth Or Date by Portia Macintosh
    • I’m an international blogger, too, Irena, and I came all the way from Switzerland to participate in BEA. Maybe one day, you’ll be able to go to a convention, too, and if you do, I hope you’ll be able to receive books you are excited about!
      People who actually try to get their hands on a lot of books just so they can brag about their huge hauls seems a bit wrong to me… but again, that is still their choice, though! And they may very well have thought they wanted to read all the books the took home with them, and then, reading the blurb, or the first few pages realized that it wasn’t something they wanted to spend their time on? And I definitely received some books I didn’t know what they would be about – but a publisher or an author sold me on a concept, and so, when they wanted to give me the book, I said yes πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion!

  15. Yeah, I saw a lot of tweets after BEA and it does make you feel weird about it because you’re like “am I doing something wrong?” but I talked to a really sweet blogger (who didn’t go to BEA b/c they live in a different country) and she made me feel better about things. I think things like selling ARCs is obviously wrong, but when that discussion starts, people lump in all sorts of things they don’t like about ARCs and bloggers and all that.


    • Apart from selling ARCs, I actually don’t think there is a wrong way to do BEA, Lauren πŸ™‚ And my little twinge of sadness when I saw those tweets didn’t last very long.
      The thing is, though, that we don’t know how much other people read every month, and how they deal with their blog and reviews and everything else! I know some bloggers who review one book per week, and others who review a new book every single day. Some people read fast, and review straight away, others read slower and don’t review as often. That’s all good – our blogs are our little spaces on the internet to do what we want with, right?
      Thanks for chiming in!

  16. Hi!
    This is really interesting. First, I’d love to go to BEA, but don’t seem to keep up enough in that area to find myself traveling to one. Second, the only way I would see anyone going away with 70 – 100 or more books from BEA as a greedy thing is if said person knowingly took books they knew they would never, ever read. That is greedy. And with that I don’t mean a book you have good intentions on reading – that’s different. If you have interest in the author, genre, or topic and think you might get to it one day – have at it.

    Example, If I were to attend a BEA and bring home every biography offered – that would be pure greed and insensitivity because I rarely ever read biographies.

    Honestly, I’m not sure why anyone would want to lug around books that they have no intention of reading? Seems kind of silly to me.

    Looking over the other comments, it seems I am in good company in my thoughts. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion, Xyra! And I hope you’ll be able to go to BEA one year! If you do, you should try to go during the days when it’s open for media and professionals, as a blogger. I have heard that this is much better than the bookcon part πŸ™‚
      Picking up books just to have a big haul would bother me – but for myself! I did pick up a couple of biographies and non-fiction books. I don’t read those very often, but it was very nice to pick up a book whose author I had seen at a panel, for example.
      And you’re right! Lugging around books without actually wanting to read them is not something I’d want to do.

  17. I’m thinking I’m glad I got home from BEA and immediately dove into graduation chaos! I hate that people are trying to capitalize on the ARCs they picked up…that’s disgusting. And it makes me very sad. And that people are criticizing bloggers/readers for picking up ‘too many’ ARCs while we’re at a book convention?!? That’s almost comical. Why go to a book convention if not to see what’s coming down the pike and pick up some of the ones that trip your trigger? (too many colloquialisms in one sentence?) I brought home waaaay more books than I’d anticipated BUT I only picked up those that looked interesting to me. Yes, it’s going to take me awhile to make my way through them all but I will eventually. AND I met some authors and picked up some books that I might not have picked up on my own but decided sounded really good when the AUTHOR approached me to talk about it.
    Gah! Why does there have to be so much hate out there, Lex?!? Well, I’m sending YOU lots of LOVE and wishing you some extra time so you can enjoy all your new goodies!
    **BIG HUGS**

    • LOL Brandee πŸ™‚ Sometimes, not knowing what goes on over at Twitter is a good thing! I agree, though, selling ARCs is disgusting! And it makes me feel so bad for the authors – someone who stood in their line and maybe chatted excitedly with them just wanted that book to earn some money πŸ™
      And you know that I’m with you! I came home with a lot of books, too! Many by authors I had never heard of, and that actually made me so very happy – because I probably wouldn’t have picked them up anywhere else. Now, I may discover a new favorite thanks to the fact that I got an ARC.
      Sending you lots of love, too, my dear! I miss you so much! *BIG HUGS*

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