What is an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) ?

What is an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) ?

Hey Reader

I'm here today to talk to you about ARCs. 

If you're new to the Bookstagram scene then you may have already seen this term being used but not know what it means.

What does ARC stand for?

ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy. These are pre-published books that are given out by publishers for free to Booksellers, Influencers, Librarians, Journalists and celebrities who wish to review the book prior to it being printed for mass distribution.

When are ARCs distributed?

ARCs are normally distributed 3-6 months prior to the official publication date.  They are distributed as paperbacks and are more likely to contain misspellings and errors making them sought after by collectors.  A typical mid popularity author will produce around 5000 ARCs for distribution.

Although ARCs are very similar to they final draft copies you can identify if you are in possession of an ACR by the wording 'Uncorrected proof' or ‘Ad an Ed Reaser Copy Do Not Resale’ written on the front cover.  ARCs are by no means the final and mass produced edition and are susceptible to final editing. If you read both the ARC and the final edit you may very well see differences.

Can you sell ARCs?

The short answer to this it yes. However, it's not as simple as that.  Although it is part of the agreement that the book will be gifted to you in exchange for a review, and feature on your social media account to ignite interest into the book, thus free publicity is gained by the publisher and payment can be assumed.  The book is given to you for free and you get to read it 3-6 months before anyone else. It's seen as unethical to sell on your ARCs.

So what can you do with them if you're starting to stockpile too many?

Donating them to a charity shop may seem like a good idea however they have no option but to sell the products they receive and if they take the ethical route and decide not to sell it then the only other option for them it to send it to landfill, and no body want's that.

Library donations are also a no go because they are restricted from putting ARCs on their shelves.

Instead you can donate ARCs to schools, shelters, hospices or hospital wards that accept donations. Drop them off at book swap locations or swap them with local book bloggers who may wish to review it themselves. Gift them to fellow book lovers to enjoy.  Host prize winning events such as giveaways on your social media account. Any way that allows you to give away the book without any financial gain is a winner.

I have been lucky enough to have been donated a gorgeous bundle of ARCs from an influencer that I will be donating to others through a series of social media giveaways and random acts of kindness.

Back to blog