We Need to Talk About… ARCs #Discussion #BookBloggers


We Need to Talk About…is my new discussion post where I ask the blogosphere for opinions/advice/rants on anything from ‘how do some bloggers read so many books?’ to ‘how do you rate books?’. 

When I first started blogging -over three years ago( !)- I used to do a lot of discussion posts, and I never meant to stop, but somehow it just happened. Hopefully, with the introduction of this regular post I’ll get back into the habit. I have so many burning questions and ideas to get opinions on, so please get involved!

This time, I want to talk about ARCs

There are two very different things that have been bothering me about ARCs:

  1. Do You Count ARCs as books you own?
  2. Why are some ARCs formtted so badly?

1. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. In my monthly round-up posts I do a breakdown of the books I’ve read into books I own or have borrowed, as well as which format I read – paperback, hardback, or digital, and I never know whether to include ARCs as books I own or not.

What do you think? Do you count ARCs as books you own? 

I kind of feel like ARCs should only ever be ‘owned’ by the author & publisher, and that we as bloggers get a sneak peak before anyone else can own that book. So going on that theory I guess I should include them in the borrowed books bracket. But that would just confuse people, right?

2. Bad formatting of ARCs can seriously dampen the reader’s enjoyment of it, I’m sure a lot of you will agree with me. I always try my very best to not let it affect my opinion of the book, but sometimes ARCs are so bad they’re impossible to read…why are they released like that?

I mean, I understand spacing issues and typos and all of those things that might not have been picked up on on early edits, but for example, I recently read one where there were no capital letters at the start of sentences, or hardly any punctuation which made it really hard to read.

At first I wondered if maybe that was a style choice by the author because surely the original manuscript would have had capitals and full-stops? But it really wasn’t the kind of book that would do that on purpose.

So what I don’t get is what happens to manuscripts that alters them so much when converted into an e-book format? Insights, anyone?

What bothers you about ARCs? Let’s rant….


Author: lipsyy

Creative Writing graduate. A Northerner in London. I probably love books a bit too much. Also enjoy vampires, unicorns, man love, tennis & can't get enough of trashy teen novels. I find myself thinking 'What Would Buffy Do?' way too frequently. HIYA!

15 thoughts on “We Need to Talk About… ARCs #Discussion #BookBloggers”

  1. I’ve only just started to request ARCs and I have been so surprised at how badly some are formatted. I had a book of short stories where it was actually difficult to know where one story ended and the next began!

    1. It is surprising isn’t it! I would always expect some typos and a few formatting issues, but the more I read, the worse they seem to get.

      Some are almost unreadable, and as much as I appreciate having access to ARCs, sometimes I just wish I’d waited for the finished copy!

  2. I have a third category, For Review. So it’s Purchased/Borrowed/For Review for me. Which satisfies revealing that it was for review without having to mention it elsewhere, etc. If I’m quoting the opening hook, I usually will pull the text from the online preview on Amazon/BN for accuracy, but quote it to page-such-and-such, ARC/e-ARC edition.

    My least favorites to read are the ones from Harlequin Teen and Spencer Hill right now where every single page is watermarked. AND in SH’s case, a .pdf, so you can’t make the size any bigger and have to read it micro-mini bc you’re required to see the watermark on every page!

    1. Ahh yes, ‘for review’ makes perfect sense…I might have to do that.

      And I totally agree, the watermarks are really excessive. Do they really need to be plastered all over every page!?

  3. I have not reviewed books I got from NetGalley because they were so unreadable I gave up before I even got through one chapter. I have an older Simple version of the Nook and I often wondered if I would be able to format it to be readable if I had a fancier one? That’s the only reason I can think of as to why publishers would make them available in that type of PDF format. My other thought is that they want to avoid pirating?

    1. I doubt it’s your device. I have one of the new Amazon Fire things and I’d say over half of all the ARCs I get have serious issues. I guess it could be a piracy thing – I never thought of that!

  4. Great discussion post!!

    I don’t consider ARCs to be “mine”, but technically they are there to stay. Like you, I consider them to be “borrowed” more than anything else.

    The format of ARCs hasn’t bothered me much, but it seems like I’ve been lucky there. That said, even the smallest blips can totally disrupt the fluidity of the story..

    1. Hi, thanks for joining in 🙂

      I like thinking of ARCs as borrowed too and I’m glad you’ve had decent ones -if nothing else that gives me hope!

  5. Definitely formatting issues. Like you, I try not to let it affect my opinion, but it does SO many times! Eek!

  6. I’ve gotten to the point where I just won’t read a badly formatted ARC. As much as I try to keep in mind that it’ll be better in its final format, an ARC with formatting problems is too distracting and difficult, and that makes it impossible to enjoy. Sometimes, if it’s something I really do want to try, I’ll email the publisher to see about getting a hard copy, but otherwise I just end up DNFing.

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