ARCs and Materialism

Hi everyone! Today I want to talk to you guys about something that can be sensitive topic for some people.

Some time ago, when I was browsing youtube, I saw a booktuber showing their yallwest haul. They got around 70ish ARCs, in which they keep around 40 of those books. They also admitted about not knowing what some of the ARCs are about. Recently, there was this whole uproar on twitter about ARCs being sold on E-bay. This got me thinking about few things in our book community.

The first one is how we treat ARCs. I get it, getting ARC is exciting, a priviledge, and it makes you feel like you’re officially part of the bookish community. But most of us tend to forget that the publishers spend money to print and give them to us, sometimes by giving them away on events or mail them personally to you. They spend money in hope that we will read the books and help promote them. If we openly say we “don’t know what some of these books are about” or saying “I grab X number of books and I’ll keep Y number of books”, we literally saying “oh we only grab these because these were ARCs, not because we actually excited for it”. Also, some ARCs have “not for sale” stickers/logo on the cover, and I bet anyone who can read knows that it literally means DO NOT SELL THE ARCS. I mean, if that’s how we are treating ARCs, no wonder some people actually look down on us reviewers and bloggers and our community looks bad with the publishers.

Another thing that I want to talk about is about materialism in the bookish community. We grabbed for so many ARCs and even sell them. But what I’m talking about aren’t limited to ARCs only. We’ve seen a lot of people within the community having multiple editions of their favorite books; some people even have multiple copies of the exact same edition, with same cover and page count and everything, of the same books.

And yes, before you guys scream “IT’S MY MONEY I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT WITH IT” I get it. I truly get it. But what you did reflects on us as one community. Selling ARCs for money? Not cool. Yes, you attend the events using your money, but that doesn’t give you rights to sell other people’s works illegally. And yes, you can use your money to buy multiple editions of the exact same book. You can fill your whole shelf with editions of your favorite books. But the thing is, some people who do this actually have tight financial situation. I mean, reducing multiple books might not give huge financial impact, but money is money and it might help saving them instead of buying books…?

I know some of them might feel like a personal attack or critique, but I did not mean it that way and I’m sorry if you feel that way. So yeah, those are some things that has been in my head recently, let me know down below what you are thinking of about this topic.



17 Replies to “ARCs and Materialism”

  1. I don’t think that I can tell people not to spend money on multiple editions of books if they have the money to do so. People collect stuff. Maybe some people spend their money on Funkos or different pairs of shoes. I would, of course, hope that these people are in the financial position to do so and that they also spend some of their money on charitable causes. But it’s difficult to know the full lives of people online and difficult to say that it’s okay to buy certain “useless” things but not other things. Why do we buy more clothes than we need or paintings for the walls or things like fidget spinners, if it comes to that? I feel a little uncomfortable saying what it’s acceptable to buy when I buy stuff I don’t need, either.

    However, I do think there is a trend towards materialism in blogging that is concerning. I am worried that people might feel pressured into buying books beyond their means because the really popular bloggers are showing off their hundreds of books or buying books in rainbow colors for no other purpose than to photograph them and get more views–not even to read the books in some cases. To compete with these types of bloggers, others might think they need to buy hundreds of books, too. In that case, I would be worried that we’ve gone beyond celebrating the beauty of a well-made book and started competing with each other to see who owns the most.


  2. I don’t even bother going for arcs. I just don’t like the pressure of having to read them by a certain date, and the fact that everyone flips out for them. And people should definitely never sell them. I do buy multiple copies of certain books, though. I collect Tolkien’s works, so I have several editions of his books. It’s about collecting, personally. I like them, so I get them. Sure my money could go towards something else, but if I’m not worried about it, it’s not a big deal. If people are putting themselves into financial strain just to get more than 1 edition, then that’s kind of questionable. But, hey, to each their own. hahah Either way, great discussion!


  3. Hi! Most of us can agree on the selling ARCs part. BIG NO NO. However, I do have some opinions on the having multiple editions or same edition of a book. It’s a weird feeling you know. Because 1) You’re buying books so it’s supporting an author 2) You aren’t hurting anyone because again, if you buy so many copies of the same book, then it isn’t like other people will be without books! They will bring more and be like ‘OMG WE NEED MORE OF THESE BECAUSE THEY SELLLL’ And that’s always good!

    Why does it strangely bother me? It feels a bit like jealously, to be honest. Because I really really want to be honest here. It’s not that I want those books. It’s just, maybe the ability to be able to buy multiple copies of it, and still buy other books. It says something about how well you have to be financially to be able to place money on a single book several times instead of using it to get as many different ones as possible. Like you say, WE HAVE NO BUSINESS TELLING ANYONE HOW THEY SHOULD SPEND THEIR MONEY. But since it’s a discussion, I’m just speaking from a personal place as to why it makes me a little sad sometimes. Because of my situation as not from a country with a lot of bookstores and no shipping from TBD or even Amazon, I can only get physical copies of books in batches about once or twice a year, then a few scattered throughout, that I miraculously find at the bookstore. So I always have to prioritize which books I want to get, always choosing which one I want most. So I’m happy for people with the privilege, but I’m only human and can’t shake the disappointment of my own ability to get books. But sigh that’s just life. I’m beyond happy that I’m able to buy books at all!

    Of course people with multiple copies don’t always BUY them. I’ve seen people sometimes just accidentally end up with more than one! XD And they’re so lucky omg! Sometimes they got the ARC and then they bought the finished copy and then whoops best friend gifted them the same one but with another cover, and so on. That way I would probably treasure them forever too!


  4. I never understood the impatience when it came to reading new releases. I would much rather pay $15 on the book’s release to read the finished copy rather than $50 or whatever ridiculous price these cons are asking for on eBay. I think a toxic part of the community is how much ARCs represent a sign of status symbol. People are always talking about “unicorns” for rare ARC copies and the trading scene of ARCs have always been interesting to me.


  5. I went to Yallwest last year and I actually only got about 5 ARCs. The only one I lined up for was Heartless by Marissa Meyer because I was super excited to read it. The other 4, I got because I lined up for the publisher booths and they had games which would determine the ARC that you would get (i.e. spin the wheel). So, I think some of the bloggers may have lined up for those and probably got a copy that they didn’t really know anything about. It is a little frustrating that some just grab ARCs like crazy and it is also true that some sell it on Ebay, which is illegal.

    That being said, I also agree that there is some sort of materialism and of course, bragging that comes with it. I am not someone that is comfortable with sharing book hauls but, I do include in a blog post series that I do every other week, a list of books I bought and also the eGalleys I requested (which is not a lot). But I’ve never gotten 50 ARCs. I also don’t request as much unless I am willing to read it. But I mostly get eGalleys rather than physical ARCs anyway.

    I don’t really care if a person buys multiple copies of a book, though. I know some collect multiple editions of it so I don’t really fault them with that. Also, I receive books as gifts and some of them, I already have. So, there may be a reason for it. I personally wouldn’t buy multiple copies of books even though I would want to because a) money and b) space. However, I have bought the illustrated copies of the HP series (books 1&2 since those are the only ones out) even though I have the complete set.


  6. I read at an insanely fast pace, and I’ve ended up with ARCs that I didn’t know a ton about, but I was able to read them, so that’s not as much of a big deal for me. Selling ARCs is pretty much always illegal, so selling them is completely stupid and I totally agree with you on that. I do kind of get the multiple editions thing. If a favorite book comes out with very cool new edition after you’ve already gotten copies, it’s reasonable to want to pick up a copy. Though I agree with you about the financial situation. Be smart, people.


  7. I try hard to only request ARCs I’m going to read. Big book events like BEA are a little harder because I nearly always end up with books I don’t get to, and I feel guilty about that, but sometimes it’s hard to know which books are perfect for you and which aren’t—and it’s hard to turn them down when they’re there for the asking/ I would never sell ARCs though!


  8. I absolutely agree that receiving an ARC is a privilege and those that abuse this makes everyone look bad. I used to intern at a few publishers, and man it is costly to send out ARCs and finished copies, especially in Australia. I’m five years into my book blog now, and over the years, I’ve noticed that I’ve really slowed down in my book review requests. Not only do I not have time, but I rather not waste a publisher’s limited marketing funds on sending me a book that I will most often than not, not get around to reading before it’s published. It’s important to not be greedy — use Netgalley if you need. But think about the bigger picture too.


  9. I one hundred percent agree with you. I would never accept ARCs that I don’t plan to read and review. I think it is so awful what people do when they sell them because they could have gone into the hands of the fans or those who want to read them. So this post came at a perfect time!


  10. I don’t really get why people buy multiple copies of a book, but if they want to, that’s their choice, but if you’re just squeaking by in life, it’s probably not the smartest choice. Well then again, I just don’t really buy books at all so I guess I just wouldn’t understand buying multiple of the same one??? It’s not that I don’t want to buy books, it’s just I’ve never really been able to (my parents don’t believe in buying books) so the library was really my only source of books until I got into book blogging and arcs became an option. It’s honestly been pretty cool, I have access to new releases and books from smaller publishers that’d I’d never have otherwise. I only request books I’m genuinely interested in though, cause having unread arcs staring at me makes me feel so guilty…


    1. Yeah, I mean, it’s your money and I can’t judge. But isn’t it more sensible to saving them instead of buying more books?? My parents also don’t believe in buying books but my local library sucks, which is why after much talking and begging I got 1 book per month quota 😀 And yesss, opening my phone and seeing tons of unread ARCs really made me feel guilty.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Good point, good post! I’ll be linking to this in my monthly wrap up.

    I’ve never requested ARCs because I don’t have the time and prefer not to own books (I have too many already) if I don’t know for sure that I’ll love them and reread them. People can do what they like, but it does seem weird and excessive to a) request ARCs you don’t intend to keep or read and b) own multiple copies of a book.


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