Sep 3, 2015

Have ARCs become a symbol of blogger status?

Lately, ARCs have started to become a sensitive subject around the blogosphere. Blogger dramas, piracy, lots of bitterness, envy and unnecessary conflicts have been caused by Advanced Reader Copies.

This made me wonder. Why do they have such an impact on us bloggers? Sure, ARCs have always been a side perk of blogging, but we all started blogging because we wanted to talk about books, don't we? Not because we get ARCs, right?

So why do we need ARCs? Why are we trying so hard to get these coveted copies of yet-to-be-released books?

Reason #1 : You want to help out the publisher.

Let's face it. Is this really our motive when we request for ARCs? Yes, we do help in promoting books, but is that the reason why you write reviews?

Frankly, if you ask me, the answer is no. I don't read a book or review it on my blog solely because I want to help out someone. I do it because I want to talk about something I am passionate about. I want to let my readers know my opinion of a certain book, to make them read a favourite. or warn them off from a read which is going to be a waste of their time.

Even when I review an ARC, it's the same scenario. My review might be a factor that promotes the book. but that isn't my reason to write one.

Reason #2 : You want to read the book early.

Okay this might be a plausible explanation, but really, what difference does it make whether you read a book months before it is published or years after? It's going to be the same book, and there's no way that your reading experience is going to be different either way.

In fact, sometimes, it is even better to read the finished copy of a book, rather than the ARC, because there might be changes, minor alterations as it's clearly told in the first few pages of an Advanced Reader Copy.

Reason #3 : Free books

Now this, is just ridiculous. Whatever we might be, we are no hypocrites. And I know for sure that bloggers don't look at ARCs as free copies. After all, most of us even buy a finished copy after reading an ARC. We might be broke. poor bookworms sometimes, but that doesn't mean that we are looking at ARCs as a way out of paying for books.

So if none of these are the reason for our desire to acquire ARCs, then what is?

This question has been invading my mind for some time. I've been noticing some twitter conversations, dramas and chaos. And finally came to a conclusion that the root of all this conflict is because we are looking at ARCs in a whole different way, even without our knowledge.


As a newbie, when you visit popular blogs, and see bloggers reviewing books that yet to be released, there's an immediate want in us to acquire that privilege ourselves. I admit that when I started out, all I wanted was to write a review myself with the title - "ARC Review : xxxxx"

The thing is, we have come to a point, where we have started to see ARCs as a tool to measure our blog's popularity. It has become something like stats, follower count etc. The more ARCs you get, the more popular you are - this has become an unofficial statement that is unintentionally etched into all our minds.

Why do you think we feel the instant need to post a picture or tell it out loud when we receive a coveted ARC? Why have we become addicts of Netgalley and Edelweiss? Why do we cross our fingers and hope so hard that a publisher accepts our request? And most of all, why do you think we get jealous when another blogger gets an ARC which we wished we got but didn't?

I am not saying here that I am not guilty of this. Yes, I love ARCs as much as the next blogger. And definitely YES, I am guilty of looking at ARCs as a symbol of blogger status.

To be honest, there's nothing wrong with this, if you ask me. It's just a normal human feeling that we tend to be a bit ambitious. And if ARCs are a way of establishing our status as a blogger, what's wrong with wanting them?

The problem is all the envy that this situation had brought out.

Sometime back, I saw a blogger tweeting that someone else said outright to them that they deserved the ARC more than the said blogger. And I've been hearing that some bloggers nowadays are starting to get the opinion that they are "entitled" to ARCs.

As long as we go on to think of Advanced Review Copies as something that helps us prove to the community that we are a capable blogger, there will be jealousy, chaos, conflicts, bitterness and in the end, there'll be a lot of negativity around in the otherwise super friendly community.

I think the first step is to acknowledge that ARCS do have become a symbol of blogger status. I think this realization itself, will make us change the way we think about certain things. Sometime back I saw a tweet saying that "ARCs are the root of all problems. They should be stopped" I don't even remember who said this, but this made me sad. Back when I started out, I thought of these copies as a perk of blogging, but now, are they becoming a reason for conflict?

What do you think? Have ARCs indeed become a symbol of blogger status?
Or do you disagree?

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