Why I Don’t Read ARCs

So…I have a confession to make.

I don’t read ARCs. (Advanced Reader Copies) And I don’t have any interest in them…like…zero. O.o

Veggie Tales Pirates Nothing Zilch Nada GIF
In case you were wondering, this is what I was referencing in my July wrap up. XD

Shocking, I know. XD But I have my reasons. It feels like everyone on the bookish internet is obsessed with getting and reviewing ARCs. In fact, it may be one of the main reasons why they have a blog. I feel like if there was a list of requirements to have a book blog, signing up to get ARCs and reviewing them would be one of the main ones.

I know there isn’t any “rules” to having a book blog or getting involved in the bookish community, but I feel like I’m being kinda controversial with this post, because I don’t think there are many book bloggers who don’t read ARCs and would share my thoughts.

So I guess this is going to be kind of like a little chatty discussion post? I’m not really sure what this is, and I’ve never done a discussion-type post before so we’re just going to wing it and see how this goes. XD

*Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on any of this, these are just my own opinions that I’ve had and made from observing how the “ARC culture” works.

Reason 1: I actually don’t think they’re that cool.

Honestly? I prefer finished copies. I’m pretty sure all ARCs are paperbacks, and I don’t hate paperbacks, but I just really like hardcover books. Also, ARC covers aren’t so fun to look at, because they aren’t official. And yes, I know that’s a stupidly materialistic way of thinking, but I’d be lying if book lovers don’t care about how pretty the cover is. It just makes you want to read a book more…or less. And ARCs…well…they don’t make me any more interested in them, despite being a copy of a book that I could read before they’re even published, which sounds really cool in theory, but…well that brings me to my next reason.

Reason 2: I’m actually more interested mostly in backlist books anyway.

Seriously, I should be called the queen of backlists. XD There are books I’ve owned since like probably 2014 or 2015 that I still haven’t read yet. And honestly, most of the time I’d actually rather read them than books that were published this year.

Why? Well, it could be that I’m the kind of person that likes to savor things. I feel like my interest actually grows when I keep my books unread a little longer. Though I know sometimes if I keep them unread for too long I can lose interest. Sometimes I feel like if I read a book immediately that hasn’t been on my radar for very long, I’m afraid it’ll kind of be a waste if I don’t like it? Like that might be a reason why I’m not in the mood to read Sorcery of Thorns right now, even though I’m enjoying it so far. I think it’s the fastest I’ve ever gone from getting a copy of a book to actually reading it. I don’t think my interest in it had enough time to…”marinate” for lack of a better word?

Also…I’m not a very “trendy” person. Honestly trends annoy the heck out of me most of the time. Especially internet trends. And sometimes when I see everyone talking about a certain book, yes it will get me more interested, but honestly I’m almost never like: “OMG I need that right this second.” Instead I’ll file it away on Goodreads for when I’m ready for it on my own time. Which is probably why I have over 2,000 books on my to read shelf but let’s not get into that right now. XD

Reason 3: It seems to cause a LOT of stress I don’t need.

I see so many bloggers’ TBRs consist of probably 90% or so of ARCs and new releases. (Okay that’s a total guess, but it sure seems like that sometimes. I’m sure it’s a majority.) And in turn in a lot of their posts they’re stressing out about all the deadlines they have to make to review them for publishers while the book is still relevant. I know lately we’re encouraging each other to not overcommit and stress ourselves out too much, especially if it affects our health, which is great, but honestly? If I don’t have any interest in ARCs and the whole “rat race” I feel like it’s kind of become, then I just don’t want to take part in it, even though I kind of feel obligated as a book blogger to do it because everyone else is.

Reason 4: I’m still treating reading/blogging as more of a hobby.

I’m building my blog slowly. I haven’t done anything to monetize it, and I suck at social media. I have my blog because I like talking about books in general and meeting others who share my interests through it. I really can’t bring myself to care about about trends and new releases as much, and don’t care about the business side of things. At least not as much as I feel like everyone else does. As much as I feel like I should. But should I really?

Does this make me a bad blogger because my reason for blogging isn’t to review new books and get free ARCs like I feel most people do? Is it bad that I feel like I’m failing my “duty” as a book blogger because I’m not really helping that much to contribute to the publishing industry and promote sales of new releases but just to talk about books in general? Will this attitude hurt me if I ever actually become a published author myself one day? I worry about this a lot. Especially with writing my own books. But I’m just not ready to think about that side of things yet because I know it isn’t helping my mental health right now.

So…What about you? Am I alone in thinking like this?

Does this make me a “bad” blogger? What are your thoughts on this? Do you read mostly backlist books or new releases/ARCs?

All credit goes to the authors of the images.

What Do You Think?:

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Rafael Montes


47 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Read ARCs

  1. I love this post!!! There can be so much stress involved in reading ARCs. For me I have just stuck to eARCs through NetGalley and one or two others that I get requests to read through my blog, twitter or goodreads and the majority of my books are still ones that I have bought myself or have borrowed from the library. But I definitely agree with you that there seems to be too much emphasis placed on reading ARCs. Go you for subverting the trend :))))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No, it doesn’t make you a bad person! These are all valid reasons, to be honest. I don’t do ARCs either, and I don’t plan to anytime soon. I’m not ready to commit, and with my former blog, I went down that hole of being perpetually behind when it came to ARC reviews. Now that I’ve started afresh, I quite like reading books on my own terms. It’ll be fun to get them for free, but it’s not a goal at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love all of these points so much!
    For a first discussion post, this is really well done!
    I think that these are all super valid, especially since not all bloggers follow the same course, and you should blog how you want to blog! For someone who is perhaps making a living off of their site it may be different, but if you aren’t too interested, then I absolutely support it!
    I love reading backlist books, my only problem is if I join a fandom too late and by the time I get there, everyone else has already gone home, gone off or burning in hell because of something further in the series.
    – Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love that you don’t feel like you have to read ARCs. I started my blog before even knowing you could get books for free, or before they were published so that was never a driving force for me. Like you, I choose to blog because I like talking about books and sharing my thoughts (also I needed a way to keep track of what I thought of books to make it easier to find the book I feel like re-reading!) so being able to get ARCs is super cool and a novelty to me. Not a requirement.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I mean you’re not wrong. You’re not wrong at all! Some bloggers do like to exclusively review arcs and others review backlist books – both being perfectly good at their job because that’s why we’re here and running these blogs – to talk about books.

    ARCs have become a whole different thing in the past few years and recently I feel like they’ve become sort of a popularity contest?

    But I still love arcs because I do like reading the books ̶a̶ ̶f̶e̶w̶ ̶m̶o̶n̶t̶h̶s̶ ̶a̶f̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶y̶’̶r̶e̶ ̶r̶e̶l̶e̶a̶s̶e̶d̶ before their release date – mostly because I won’t be able to buy them and the library I’m able to access now won’t get it for a few weeks or even some months; and my previous library (hahaha good one – jokes, I grew up with that library and it introduced me to Percy Jackson, but still).

    There’s so many backlist books I want to read?? Like why are they all there and look so good?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG, I’m the same! I have a few ARCs that I traded for or was given, but I’ve never asked for one. I avoid them because I’m busy and can’t promise to read and review something by a certain date. I also don’t like the constant ARC-related drama in the blogosphere. I’ll just stay out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is interesting! Especially because pretty much everyone I know does read ARCs (me included, even if only ebook ones), though without monetizing their blog. I don’t think it makes you a bad blogger at all – I think we often forget about the backlist in the flood of new releases and it’s good to see someone focusing on that instead. And you avoid the frustration of reading a really good book, then having nobody to talk about it with because the damn thing is not out yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I definitely agree with this! I’m mostly a book reader/blogger because its my fun hobby to help me escape the real world. While I have read a few arcs this year I prefer my giant TBR of backlisted books. 😂 I feel like I’ve hardly read any new releases this year because of that. Anyways, I enjoyed reading this post and it made me feel less guilty for not requesting arcs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a fantastic discussion post, Heather! I honestly agree that so many book blogs exist because people want to get “free books” and that there is too much of an emphasis/importance being placed on ARCs in general.

    I do enjoy reading arcs to be able to hype up books advance of their release, I enjoy having a part to play in the marketing of books, but I don’t hoard my arcs. They are often riddled with typos or things that will ultimately get changed, so if I like the book I make sure to buy a finished copy and pass along my arcs to other readers.

    The biggest thing I have been struggling with this year is the guilt and stress surrounding arcs. I’ve been suffering from a massive reading slump this year which has negatively affected my ability to read the arcs I accepted. I am very picky when it comes to them and try to limit to 4/month so I can get backlist reading in, but they’ve just been piling up and I am in a mountainous pit now. I am so stressed out for no reason and at this point just don’t enjoy reading at all. It sucks, especially since the pressure I am putting on myself is solely on me. I know the pubs won’t care too much or hate me if I am late in reviewing, so I don’t know why I do this to myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Awe I’m sorry, that does suck. :/ I don’t know how you can read more than 4 books every single month, that’s about the average that I read in a month. And I’m in a slump too since we had that bad heat wave, and now I just can’t find time to read and I’ve only finished like 2 or 3 full books I think since May. 😦


  11. You’re definitely NOT a bad blogger for preferring to NOT read ARCs. It all boils down to all of our preferences and choices anyway! We should all only have one rule and that is: TO READ ONLY WHAT WE WANT! Without any outside pressure.

    These are all valid points as a lot of them I’ve felt since I started reading ARCs. There definitely is pressure – pressure to read and write. There’s also that FOMO sometimes when the people around you are receiving ARCs of books that I highly anticipate. But at the end of the day, I’ll think: I have hundreds of other books I can read right now! There’s no need to stress myself!

    Great discussion post btw! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Awe thanks. 😀 Yeah I definitely think we should just worry about reading whatever we want. It’s more fun that way. 😉 Well usually at least. Unless you get in a slump anyway cuz you’re too tired/busy. XD
    And yeah there’s always hundreds of other books to read. XD There’s no way we can keep on top of them all. D:
    Thank you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I share all your feelings. Like. All. Of. Them. I prefer finished copies (tho I love paperbacks) and I also don’t really enjoy writing reviews so like the odd times I do accept requests it’s because I genuinely am interested in the book/want to promote it. I just don’t have the energy to stress myself over reading when its something I do to escape and oof I feel you on the whole worrying about things for if/when you become an author.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I LOVE this post! You’re totally right, ARCs do stress me out but mostly because of the pressure I sometimes put on myself to both manage my expectations and also love that particular book. I’m slowly getting to the bottom of my backlist and that makes me happier than reading all of the ARCs in the world. There’s no shame in not being interested in ARCs. At the end of the day you’re still going to get to read that book if you really want it, so it’s not as if there’s something exclusive for the book bloggers that do read them. And sometimes backlist books are better 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I would say those are legit reasons for not wanting to read/review ARCs. I have done a few, and it’s not too bad for me, but I definitely feel the pressure when I get approved for them. Luckily, I only get the digital copies from NetGalley, so it’s not a big deal as far as the cover goes. My main issue is that if they come in PDF format, it can be harder to read because I can’t make the font bigger when it’s tiny.

    The main reason I even decided to start browsing for ARCs is because I’m a Librarian, and I like to see what books are being released soon, and it’s kind of fun to read a book for free ahead of time to see if it’s worth purchasing or not (whether for the library or myself 😅)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am very late to the conversation but I just came across your blog today (and I am happy I did). I started my book blog in May because I love reading and talking about my books. I did fall into the over-committing myself to reading eARC’s and plan to do MUCH less of that next year. I love talking about the books that are coming out but I don’t really want to be showcasing the books that everyone else is if that makes sense? I blog for several companies but was trying out each one to see which ones I wanted to commit to long-term. I much prefer a physical book and I do have several that send them. I like Net Galley too, for books that my library will not get. It saves me money 🙂 I don’t monetize my blog, I don’t quite understand that. It would be nice to make money off of the hobby but I hate ads and don’t want them cluttering up my blog. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts on this, I do agree!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe yay! Welcome! ❤
      Yeah, I didn't want to only be talking about what everyone else is, and I just can't possibly keep up with new releases, so I get that. 😛
      I've thought about monetizing my blog but I'm not sure how I would do that and I feel like I would feel too much pressure to make my blog "perfect" if I did that when I'm fine just having it as a hobby for now.
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This post is basically old as dirt for you by now I’m sure haha but I’m curious if any of your thoughts and methods have changed!

    I am definitely one who made a book blog in part to have a place to validate publishers sending me ARCs. I only take on ones I’m really interested in and that I *know* I can read and review in the timeframe to avoid exactly the stress you described! I’ve come to enjoy the author interaction that can come from those, too, which is a neat unique experience that I don’t think I’d get otherwise.

    Also your point about letting something “marinate” to gain interest totally stands! I’ve taken it to a new level where I’ve totally forgotten books on my TBR — their plot, why I was excited about them, everything! — and added them to a jar where I pull out one slip with a title and read that book blindly recommended to me by my past self. xD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nope, they’re pretty much all the same. 😛
      I have a TBR jar too! But I had to take a break using it because I couldn’t keep up with all the books I already own, since I put books that I was interested in but don’t own so I had to get them at the library or something.
      Thanks for commenting! 🙂


    1. Awe, thanks! XD Yeah, I just can’t keep up with new releases so I don’t even try. If I happen to read a book within the actual year it’s published, then great! I think on average I read like two new releases. I’ve read so far this year, and there’s two I’ve pre-ordered that I will probably read, but I can’t make any guarantees. 😛


      1. Um… lots… 😉 I preorder (and immediately read) the Wayward Children books by Seanan McGuire every year, and she’s prolific enough that we’ve gotten one per January for the last several years. Of the others that I’ve still got forthcoming, I expect that I’ll read my preorders of Empty Smiles by Katherine Arden and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers as soon as I get them.

        Liked by 1 person

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