I have quite a long history with ARCs. That's understandable, since I became aware of them only a few months after I started blogging-which reminds me: People who start blogging because of ARCs are ridiculous. No, you are not supposed to blog purely to receive free books. You're supposed to blog for the love of it. "rant over" Back on topic. So, I know ARCs seem to be an extremely popular topic for bloggers. Many older(by old, I mean their blog) bloggers I know struggle with them. They question whether ARCs are worth their time. But I also know plenty of relatively new bloggers love and adore them. As with most situations, there are both pros and cons that come with ARCs.
The pros for me include, first of all, free books! Really, receiving free books isn't all that, since I pay for used books more often than not for like $4. Still, getting free books will never grow old. The second pro includes, obviously, receiving books earlier than most people(there's nothing like bragging to your friends that you got an early copy of Cress). This pro probably is why I love getting ARCs the most, because the waiting times for books seem so long sometimes. However, I've noticed over the past year that I have better patience for books, and I can wait it out even for books that I'm most excited about. The third pro is that ARC reviews generally get more attention-at least for my blog- than older books' reviews, especially the hyped-up ones. I believe the reason for that is because usually buzz is surrounding a book the most around its releasing date; a lot of people are curious to know what others thought to find out if it's worth buying. Of course, that's the point of ARC reviews, anyway. Take Red Queen, for example. I'm sure if I were to read and review Red Queen, my review would receive more attention than, let's say, my review of Gilt by Katherine Longshore, as it's immensely popular right now.
The cons, first and foremost, include the stress ARCs bring with them. I'm sure a couple of you reading this will be aware of the saying "You want something until you have an obligation towards it." This is mostly true with ARCs, unless you have a reviewing policy that says you're not obligated to review a book if you receive it. But even then, you probably still feel some obligation towards reviewing a book. If you want to read more on that, I suggest looking at Anya's post on For Review Consideration. ARCs have that negative effect on me. More often than I would like to admit, I'll be extremely pumped for a book, but then I'll receive it as an ARC, and I suddenly don't feel as excited. Then, occasionally, I'll start seeing negative reviews of that same book and reading it now definitely sounds like having to do your homework. Not only can ARCs bring on the feelings of stress and obligation, but they also allow little time for older books. I've been seeing these older books being called "me" books. Honestly, that disturbs me tremendously, as bloggers should always-or at least a good amount of the time-be reading "me" books. I understand that you can't always read books in a genre you love, or books that you're not excited for, but having to do it constantly is another thing entirely. I feel like people get so caught up in the idea of ARCs that they forget to be excited for the books themselves, and suddenly, when they have to read the books, again, the feelings of stress and obligation are brought on. I admit this has happened to me on several occasions in the past. The last con I want to discuss is a small one, mostly a personal pet peeve of mine. It's probably the most annoying thing to go on Goodreads, searching for reviews to read, and not find a single review among the 450 friends you have. If they have only a rating, that's even more annoying, because I don't know what the problems you had with it or why you loved it and GAH.
(Seriously, how can not one person have read this book a year before its publication date?!)
You're perhaps wondering why I'm talking about ARCs, since this is the most random discussion post ever. You may have noticed that I haven't been reviewing new books. This is because I've decided just to request a few select ARCs, and these ARCs are mostly e-ARCs, not physical ones. This is because I'm hoping to get to books that I've been wanting to read for years. I have tons and tons of books from last year still unread amid the other ten billion other older books, plus newer books. I also decided that I didn't want to feel too much of the pressure ARCs bring; I want to read for pleasure, not obligation.
How do you feel about ARCs?