One of the perks of book blogging is the free books. But even if you aren’t a book blogger, it’s possible to score new books for free. Let’s break down the many ways you can get an ARC for totally free.
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What’s an ARC?
ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy. An ARC is an incomplete copy of a book released before its publication date for review (and sometimes promotion to fans). By incomplete, I don’t mean that the story isn’t finished. The author has finished writing their novel, but editing might be incomplete, the cover design may be up in the air, dedications often have not been filled in, etc. Basically, all the little things that turn a manuscript into a book are missing.
This is how I scored my first ARC.
I started book blogging in 2018. In my research while setting up my book blog, I found a myriad of blog tour websites. I found my first ARC through either Pump Up Your Book or Xpresso Book Tours, the two blog tour sites I worked with first. I signed up for a review on one of these tours, and was sent either a PDF or a Kindle file of the book, which I then read and reviewed, all for free!
I’ve worked with a number of blog tour sites.
As stated, I’ve worked with Pump Up Your Book and Xpresso Book Tours. I’ve also worked with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and Silver Dagger Book Tours. While I’ve had positive experienced with all of the hosts, I’ve had the best experience with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. Amy is wonderful and I see a lot of hits on my site from the tours she hosts. Xpresso Book Tours is the one I recommend if you read a variety of genres. I’ve joined in on tours for indie books as well as books that wound up on best sellers lists. The only one I’ve had a less than perfect (but still good!) experience with is Silver Dagger Book Tours. Tours have been cancelled with no communication to those who signed up (until I reached out), which is a pet peeve of mine.
I also use NetGalley and Edelweiss.
My favorite method to score free copies of books is using NetGalley (or it’s clunkier but bigger brother, Edelweiss). These sites are around for book bloggers and professionals such as librarians, teachers, and reviewers to access ARCs. I find NetGalley to be much more user friendly and easy to navigate, but Edelweiss has a larger selection.
While your likelihood of scoring more books goes up with the more reviews you submit to NetGalley for the books you have received, submitting reviews to Edelweiss doesn’t seem to have impact on whether or not you’re sent more copies. When signing up for these sites, if your work is in some way tied into the publishing industry (i.e. I work for a library), I advise you use your work email. Changing from my blog email to my work email led from me receiving about 50% of the books I requested to 100%. NetGalley tendes to accept new users more quickly and to accept or deny requests in a timelier manner than Edelweiss.
I don’t review books but still want free ARCs. How do I get them?
Again, Edelweiss does not seem to require or suggest reviews be submitted in order to receive more ARCs, though it definitely is a site more for book bloggers and professionals than for your average reader. You can always try reaching out directly to your favorite publishers and authors and keeping an eye out for contests online.
I hope this helps you score some more ARCs. If you have any more tips on getting advanced books for free, let me know in the comments!