In this week’s Coode Street the boys talk about the burgeoning phenomenon of eARCs. Given what we know of the B Ark, I’m not sure of the terminology, but unlike Jonathan I like them a lot. You see, if you are Locus, even the dimmest publicist knows that you are important and will send you books. Also you cover a wide range of material, so there’s little chance of being sent a lot of books you don’t want.
My situation is somewhat different. I do have a small say each year in what books get on the Locus Recommended Reading List, and in the Crawford Award, but most publishers don’t send me books. The main reason for that is that I don’t want them to. I had some deeply unpleasant experiences with publicists when I was running Emerald City, and I don’t want to have to go through that again. In any case, there’s only one of me. I can’t possibly read the quantity of books I’d get sent, and have nowhere to put them.
For me, eARCs are a perfect solution. They take up no space, and with Net Galley I need only request the books I want. Mostly they seem to come in epub format, so there’s no problem wrangling them. I could probably do with better sorting and selecting facilities on their website, but the only major problem is that not all publishers use them. From Wizard’s Tower’s point of view that’s because they are absurdly expensive. It would cost me more to put a WTP book on Net Galley than I expect to make from it in a year. I suspect that if more big publishers used them they’d be able to bring the price down.
Of course I’d love to have actual paper copies of books that I really love. But as I buy most of my paper books anyway that’s not an issue. And Net Galley helps me decide which ones I want to buy.