Discussion Post: The Thing About ARCs…

all the books

I remember when there used to be a time when I didn’t know what an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) was. I would patiently wait for books to be published and I would either purchase the book or borrow it from my local library (I still do – nothing like having a new shiny finished hardcover). My first adventure into the world of ARCs did not occur until a few years ago when I attended my first Power Reader’s Day at BEA. I must admit that since it was my first time at BEA I did get a bit “grabby hands” and tried to get copies of everything being thrown/shoved into my hands, I think this happens to the best of us, but in recent years I have been better and only focus on getting books I absolutely will read and review.

I would often (and still do) see  bloggers on Twitter often post about how they just received “book mail” or chat about their awesome book hauls from different publishers. Sometimes I would feel a little bit of the green-eyed jealousy monster pop up, but as time passed I started to realize that getting these physical ARCS takes lots of work and networking. These veteran bloggers are awesome and so very organized. They review constantly and are promoting machines (I hope I can reach this level of greatness one day). Getting to a point where you establish good relationships with publishers and authors takes lots of ground work and dedication. Physical ARCs don’t just magically “poof” into your lap.

poof harry

 

A key to getting physical ARCs is to establish a blog following, to be constant with posts, and to review ARCs you receive in a timely manner. You should also have a constant presence on social media and talk up the books you love. You should be professional, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen and heard bloggers gloat and be boastful about receiving ARCs (not in a promotional way, but in a look at me I am the greatest way). Don’t do this, it only makes you look immature and petty.
just saying

ARC hoarding is also a big problem too. Bloggers request or pick up (sometimes multiple copies) of ARCs that they have no interest in or care about just to say they have a copy of it (especially for highly anticipated books). ARCs aren’t free, they cost the publisher money and time to print and to be put together. If you aren’t going to have time to read and review an ARC you shouldn’t request it. There is too much competition about getting ARCS in the blogverse these days. It is sad that the actions of a few misguided bloggers make the rest of us all end up looking bad too.

human behavior

 

ARCS are a marketing tool for the publisher and they should be respected. Every time you take an ARC you don’t really intend to read or review, you are taking away the opportunity from a fellow book blogger/ book lover. As BEA#16 approaches (unfortunately, I won’t be attending this year ::sad face::), it is important to shine a light on how to use and not abuse ARCs. Events like BEA are not there solely for you to grab multiple copies of ARCs and run away without even saying a hello or thank you to the people working at the publisher’s booth. Book events like these are meant to be a place to network and make new connections. This is where book bloggers should try their hardest to overcome any shyness and actually speak with the people working the event. These folks aren’t just there to have ARCs snapped out of their hands or be almost run over by a frenzy of people all trying to grab the new “buzz” book of the day. (I know it’s hard to resist, and often you want the book just as badly as the next person, but there is no need to act barbaric). 

barbaric

 

The publishers want to talk to you, they want to hear your thoughts and they want to be treated humanely. Befriend them, ask them about future titles you are excited about. While you are in a chatty mood say hello to the people you are standing in line with or sitting next to at these events. You never know who they might turn out be. Some of the nicest people and friends I met to this day was from randomly talking to people on Twitter, at book events and standing in line at BEA and ALAMW with. 

this is the best

 

Now that The Plot Bunny is fully launched, I have started to review on a more consistent schedule and I am organizing my posts almost a month to two in advance. I recently received my very first “book mail” and it made me so very happy because that means I am doing something right. Be it a physical copy or an E-ARC I am just thrilled to be getting the opportunity to share my love of books with as many people as I can.

 

Let’s chat. Do you prefer physical copies or E-ARCs?  Do you take the time to speak with publishers and network at book events? How do you feel about ARC hoarding? When do you write/post reviews after finishing an ARC? Do you ever feel ARC envy? 

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Discussion Post: First Library

belle library
My face the first time I went to the library (though it wasn’t quite this large)….

The basement of my school was divided into thirds:  the library, the furnace/boiler/trash room (aka land of the lost/dungeon) and the lunchroom. Our make-shift library was snuggled between the girls’ restroom area and three “walls” that were basically just oversized bookshelves stuffed with books of all sizes and shapes. One of these “walls” was a shorter bookshelf that wasn’t as long as the other two, which allowed an opening for passage into the small “cubicle” inner area. Inside this “room” was a small desk with a chair (for the librarian), some room to move around and scan the shelves and a little reading area with a small table and a few chairs. On the floor was a bright patchwork rug that gave the dingy gray basement a more “homey” feel.

merlin books
Me, with ALL the books…doing my happy book dance…

Though the school library was cold, and sometimes I had to cut through the scary and dark furnace “land of the lost-dungeon” area to get to the library, it became my favorite place to hang out growing up. I would beg my teachers to let me stay there inside of going outside to play at recess, but they hardly ever agreed. I would count the hours/days until we had “reading time” so I could go down to the library and spend my time scanning the shelves for hidden books I had not yet read, or checking out stacks of books I had already read to re-read again. I loved that though it was tiny, it was a place I could always find an escape to various far-off lands and find my newest adventure just around the corner of one of the bookshelves. It didn’t take too long for me to outgrow my grade school library and to make my first treasured visit to the main branch closer to the center of town, but I will never forget the first place I discovered my love of reading.

My first library was small, cluttered, sometimes stinky (thanks to the girls’ bathroom being right next to it), and sometimes even noisy with all the flushing, girls chatting and the cafeteria ladies getting lunch ready across the way.  Even with all these downfalls, it was a place where I felt safe and where I could go to and know that no one would judge me or tell me what I could or couldn’t read. It was the place I found solace and some of my favorite childhood books. It accepted me in even when I couldn’t read yet (when I first arrived from Brazil when I was 5) and it helped me to learn and gain knowledge as I grew up. For this and so much more reasons, it will forever hold a special place in my heart and in my memories (where I am sure it is far better organized than it ever was in real life).

Where was your first library? Was it a large library or small? What made it special to you? Do you ever go back to visit? I would love to hear all about your own treasure library memories. Share them with me in the comments below. Let’s chat!

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Discussion Post: To Lend My Books or Not to?

To lend my books out or not to? I think this is a question/struggle many of us book lovers have to face at one point or another.

For those of you who know me, you know I am a bit of a collector when it comes to books. I especially love finding 1st editions from authors I love, rare,special editions and ARCS (hardcovers or paperbacks) and of course the ultimate book nerd holy grail….signed 1st editions…(preferably that I obtain in person).

belle gif

So when it comes to my books, I am pretty protective. I usually rather buy the person the book I want to “lend” to them instead of giving them the precious one on my shelves. Don’t get me wrong, I love recommending books and pushing the books I love into the lives of my friends and family, but I just don’t trust some of them enough with the handle and care of my personal books.

finished reading

When I was younger, this was really rarely a problem, because I was the primary reader in my household. My cousins all rather be outside riding their bikes, or sunbathing ( my cousins never asked me to lend my books to them…they weren’t much for reading).

Belle reading

Meanwhile, you could find me with my nose in a book hiding in my bedroom reading or frolicking amongst the selves of the air-conditioned book sanctuary aka my local library. As I got older and made friends with other avid readers, I would sometimes lend my books to them. While I always returned the books loaned to me back to my friends in pristine condition, the few that I did get back weren’t always returned without being “hurt”.

What Belle
What did you do to my book babies?

 

Some of the conditions/tortures my books have experienced from being loaned out:

Food crumbs/Stains/Dirt/

shesh belle
Really people….is it so hard to keep a book clean?

 

Smelly and Sticky with random residue from god knows what…

Yuck belle
Oh god what is that smell? Why is it sticky? WHY?

 

Dog-eared/Written In

skeptical Belle
Really? What’s wrong with you?

 

Ripped/Broken Spin

belle ripped portrait
Maybe…I can fix it…

 

Books I have loaned out and will never see again…so very sad…

last rose petal
R.I.P My lost books….

Seeing my poor book babies in such tragic conditions literally pained me and brought tears to my eyes. Which is why I no longer lend my books out (unless I really, truly love and trust you). I still love recommending and pushing books on friends and relatives, but now I just buy them paperbacks or used copies of the book (with hopes that they will maybe also start obsessively collecting books and reading).

sheep and Belle

Currently, I am in the process of getting new bookcases to finally organize my many books in our living room (former bookshelf broke from the weight of too many books). My husband suggested that we probably should get either really tall bookcases (for me to store the valuable 1st editions/signed/collectible books on the very top), or buy a whole other bookcase for our bedroom just in case I don’t want to leave my  collectible editions out where people could touch and harm them (he knows my obsession all too well).

Belle Whatever
So, I’m going a bit overboard…whatever!

Okay, so maybe I might be taking this a bit too far but I don’t think I am the only one that would run back in the house to save her books in case of a fire. Right?

belle huh
Me? Crazy?

Recently, I have started to think about how I will protect the books from our nephews and our future children until they are old enough to understand how to hand them properly, so maybe my husband isn’t too off about getting tall bookcases with high shelves to protect my precious books.

belle kids

On a side note, I usually am only this “crazy” with my hardcovers and special editions, the paperbacks I still care for but I am not as “book-nuts” as I am with the hardcovers. Is that weird? Should not all books have equal value in my eyes if they are beloved?

I love them so much!
I love them so much!

 

How do you feel about lending your books to friends/family? Are there books that are completely off limits to lending? Do you give preferential treatment to your hardcover books over paperbacks?