What to do with ARCs

Late last night, one of my friends pointed me at an eBay listing for an ARC . . . of ASUNDER. Without reading it! *scandalized*

ASUNDER ended up going for $86 — which is just crazy, if you ask me. ARCs have all kinds of errors (mine are always hilarious) and furthermore, the only person making money off that sale is the eBay seller. Not the publisher, and not the author. I wish people were that enthusiastic about buying finished copies! (And for much less than $86, it’s practically a steal, right? Not to mention how the sale brings money for the publisher and author. We like to be able to afford groceries and to write more books.)

All that said, I’m not against doing things with your ARCs when you’re finished with them. Here are some ideas:

1. Give them to your local librarian so s/he can read early and recommend to other librarians and library patrons. (And nominate books for awards if the spirit moves them.)
2. Give them to your local bookstore owners or employees for the same reasons.
3. Give them to a local teacher or school. School libraries have shrinking budgets, and most classroom libraries are purchased with the teachers’ own money, so donations are always useful.
4. Give them to a local battered women’s shelter. (Though do keep an eye out for triggery content.)
5. Give them to homeless shelters.
6. Give them to charity auctions and raise money for a good cause.
7. Give them to a children’s home.
8. Give them to friends who don’t get ARCs but want to spread the word about great books.
9. Give them to an archivist. They love keeping stuff forever.
10. Give them to the authors, who can probably put them to good re-use.
11. Do a giveaway on your blog.
12. Keep your ARCs and build a fort.

There are lots of great things you can do with ARCs when you’re finished reading them, and you can really make people’s week by giving them a good book. Isn’t giving and sharing happiness much better than working the system by selling something you were given for free? (And says “Not For Sale” on the front, anyway.)

So tell me, friends who get lots of ARCs: What do YOU do with them?

EDIT: A few more ideas from commenters:

a) Give them to a juvenile detention center.
b) Give them to a children’s hospital.
c) Give them to a local pediatrician.


What to do with ARCs — 43 Comments

  1. I don’t get alot. But I tend to do giveaways, share them with fellow bloggers, or gift them to people I know can’t afford to go out and get books right now. giving them to homeless shelters is a GREAT idea though, and I think I may do that soon!

  2. I build forts with them, of course. Lots of forts.

    No. Our bookstore gives them away when you have special events like the “birthday” or just sales and stuff – you buy a book, you get a free galley. So that’s what I usually do with them if I don’t give them away.

  3. I only have a few, and so will probably look into Arcycling them (sort of like Paperback Swap, but with arcs), or donating them to shelters of some sort, if I don’t want to keep them.

  4. I love the idea of a charity auction! How great would it be if highly anticipated ARCs are auctioned off and the money is donated to Room To Read or another well-known reading charity. Do you know if this will conflict with the “not for sale” heading on ARCs? My mind is spinning with ideas!

    • A charity auction might be a little of a gray area, BUT I think most people can agree that charity = good. As long as it’s not for their own profit, I don’t care if people put my ARCs up for auctions like this.

      I’ve seen lots of ARCs go for great money in relief auctions, like the Nashville flood and the tsunami in Japan.

      An auction for a literacy group would be a great idea!

  5. I actually went on ebay to look and see after eavesdropping on your twitter conversation about this. I legitimately cannot believe people actually pay over $50 for ARCs. I saw Through The Ever Night for $97 with 13 bids. What in the what?!

    Personally, I’m not rich, but I’m also not so desperate for money as to sell the ARCs that come in my mail.

    What I do with ARCs is, I usually give them to my local library which uses them as prizes for their reading programs. I also pass some onto my sister who LOVES YA. I put adult ARCs on the free table in the break room at work. Sometimes when I am feeling extra motivated I give them away on my blog, but generally that’s if I’ve interviewed the author because it adds incentive for the reader to check out the interview.

    • Yikes! And that one still has a little time on it, I think. Hopefully Harper will get them pulled. I sent the information to them this morning and let them know it was more than just my book. Whoever put them up there should be ashamed. (But probably isn’t.)

      Those are all great uses for ARCs, and I’m sure whoever picks them up at your work really appreciates them!

  6. Ahh the fort idea is awesome! Add that to the bucket list.

    I’ve only ever had one ARC, and I still have it. I can’t seem to part with books…Someday, I hope I get to be one of those cool cats who receive ARCs, and then maybe, you know, I’ll donate them…maybe…(probably not. Will probably try the fort)

    • It’s hard to let go of them at first! But then . . . the space thing becomes an issue. I like to buy all the books I like, even if I’ve read the ARC (I want them to get the credit for selling it!), and I don’t need two copies, so . . . I have no problem giving away my ARCs now. But it was totally hard at first. :)

  7. I’m a teacher/librarian/blogger and I live by one rule with ARCs: respect them. In my mind, that means passing them off to other bloggers, sharing with fellow teachers, letting my fellow librarians read them too, and giving them to kids. I can’t tell you how many kids have gone all gaga over an advance copy and started spreading the word. I keep them in my classroom library too. They’re usually the most battered/loved books in there.

    So for me, getting an ARC means that many more people besides me who will get access to a fabulous book. Many go on to buy the finished book (myself included).

    • Yes. ARCs are meant to be shared and used to promote the book. The wider audience an ARC gets, the better. Ideally, lots of those readers will love the book and want a finished copy of their very own!

  8. All the ARCs I get are e-books…but the one paperback ARC I did get I decided to giveaway as an RAK (Random Acts of Kindness hosted by the Book Soulmates) to someone who really wanted to read the book!

  9. Wow I never would have thought to sell them. That’s just wrong. :( I either hold giveaways on my blog, keep them, or pass them on to my kid sister. She’s a huge reader, and loves to spread the word on great books.

  10. I respect my ARCs, they are precious and like a baby to me. Why to sell them for stupid money. I live In India, so getting ARCs are tough here. There are many like me who wants to read books but don’t get them, and there are some stupid people, who sells them against policy. They should know that publishing houses have no profit in distributing the ARCs, they only do it for goodwill of both readers and author. These people should learn to respect them.

  11. That is crazy. I have 2 hard copy ARCs in my possession and they are being hoarded. :) I love that I have something special and wouldn’t think about selling them. I have passed one off for a sister to read, but never sell.

    **Loving the fort idea too** :)

  12. I don’t get a lot of physical arcs, mine are more e-galleys but regardless, any ARC I have I usually like to keep. I’m in love with books, you know this, and I like to have different versions of things. If I didn’t care for the arc or perhaps have more than one, I do give it away to someone, usually as a giveaway. Or I lend them out ;) – sell them? Never. That’s absurd. I don’t even sell any finished copies I have but don’t want…I give those away too. As you said, you can make someone’s day by giving them a great book. Especially if the book isn’t even out yet, it makes me them feel special & privileged.

    I understand the appeal of getting a book early before it’s out but what I don’t get is the amount of money people are willing to spend to get that. $86 is crazy, it is but do you know…Requiem by Lauren Oliver sold (from the same seller) for $117.50. And Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi is sitting at $96.99 with over a day left. It blows my mind the amount of money people are willing to spend on a book just because they can’t wait to buy a published copy :(

    • I tend to give away my finished copies I don’t want anymore, too, though it’s more than fair to sell them to a used bookstore if you don’t want them and want to make a little money back. I mean, you already bought them.

      I’m hoping Harper will get those other books taken down before the auctions finish.

  13. I work at a non-profit thrift store and I take care of the book section. The minute I see an ARC on my cart, I pull it off and give it to our manager. As for my own copies (I have a blog), I give them to friends, family, and the staff at a local bookstore. Of course, I tell them the copies CANNOT be sold. Besides, ARCs are the true ‘first editions’, are they not?

    • Bless you! That’s wonderful to hear.

      I’m not sure how much it matters if the books have been out for a long time, and maybe I won’t care then. But when the book isn’t out yet. . . .

  14. If I like the ARC, I try to hold onto it until I can replace it with a finished copy. (For instance, Rae Carson’s CROWN OF EMBERS was just so magical that there’s no way I’m letting go until I have the real thing.)

    Once I don’t need/want the ARC anymore (either because it wasn’t my fave or because I’ve replaced it with a finished copy), then I give it away, either through an official giveaway on my blog or to a friend that I know will enjoy it and then pass it on to the next person.

    Giveaways are my favorite method because it stirs up more buzz for the book in question AND I get a wee bit of attention on the blog. Win-win.

    • Ohh, Rae’s books are so GOOD. :D

      Yes on the giveaways, definitely! Good for you and the author! (And whoever is lucky enough to win that ARC!)

  15. If I have lots of ARCs I usually give them away, then if I really loved the book will buy a finish copy. I love to share my books. If I have an ARC that is signed I would keep it. Great post Jodi!! <3 I

  16. I have a co-worker I pass my Urban Fantasies along to, another co-worker I pass my Paranormal Romances to, and a third co-worker who I pass my YAs to (for his daughters). I do this with ARCs, finished review copies, and books that I have bought (basically anything that doesn’t end up on my keeper shelf). The only ARCs I tend to keep are the ones that are signed to me. I also pass ARCs along to other bloggers sometimes. I have also had two occasions in which I have sent boxes of books (ARCs included) to a blogger and a blogger’s friend who have lost their libraries due to house fires.

    Last summer, I bought what I thought was going to be a used hardcover through the amazon marketplace. An ARC arrived instead. I sent an angry email to the seller. I didn’t expect a response, but they said it was an accident and refunded what I paid for the book (but not the shipping). I still felt dirty for being a part of the transaction, but I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t blow me off.

    • Giving ARCs to friends you know will enjoy them — and to friends who’ve lost their libraries — is a great way to pass on the love.

      UGH, the marketplace experience. That would make me feel dirty, too.

  17. I like the fort idea! I am pro-blanket-fort as one of the best ways to create a cozy reading nook. Incorporating actual books into the design is perfect! My daughter’s bookshelves are in the corner of her room, and she regularly constructs a blanket fort with two of the walls being her books. Very convenient! :D

  18. I recently went through my shelves and got rid of a lot of my arcs. I offer them [first] to other blogger friends or get them signed for giveaways on my blog. Whatever is left over gets donated to arcycling. Yes, it’s real.


    It’s put together by two of the greatest girls and is run on donations. They have an excellent and completely fair system in place and only ask for reviews in return.

    The craziest thing I’ve seen was Insurgent going for almost $300 a couple of weeks before it came out. As much as I wanted that book, think of all the other books I could have bought with that money!!

  19. I was going to do a giveaway on my blog of the one arc I have, but I think I might hold off on that and see if any of my coworkers want to read it (I work at a bookstore). Then do a giveaway now that I have the hard copy. We’re great recommenders (we’re going to pretend that’s a word) at my store.

    Also loving the fort idea ;P

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