The Perils of ARC Envy


I have always found the book blogging community to be an extremely welcoming and loving place, allowing everyone to share their thoughts and ideas openly without criticism or fighting. Except for when the conversation shifts to two topics: plagiarism and ARCs. I’m not going to talk about plagiarism because that wave has passed for now. But, ARCs have recently become a topic of conversation once again. I don’t know all the details, but apparently there was a comment made on a photo of ARCs posted saying that it was inconsiderate and rude of bloggers to post pictures of ARCs and that they were boasting, etc. because the book was not yet out.

*Please note that these are my personal thoughts and feelings on the topic and don’t mean to offend anyone!*

Now, I can empathize with the person that posted that comment, but I don’t at all think that what they said was “right.” I was once the person that saw pictures of ARCs and drooled because I never thought it possible that I would ever get sent physical ARCs for review. Up until fairly recently, that was the case. And to this day I still get ARC envy; I think every blogger probably does at one point or another. But, it’s the way we handle it that matters.

Book bloggers that get sent books for review are sent them not only to read them and post their thoughts, but to bring about publicity and hype for the book. Lily talks in more depth about how bloggers posting images of ARCs is a good thing in her lovely post. I completely agree with everything she says, and wanted to strongly add one point:

Bloggers that get sent a coveted ARC clearly worked hard to establish a site and following large enough that the publisher deemed them worthy. I would know, because I am not one of those said bloggers (yet?). 

Also: Being sent books for free, whether they are ARCs or not, requires some kind of payment back to the publisher and author. ARCs are expensive to make, and being sent one is a privilege. Sharing the book and creating interest is the least us bloggers can do to repay them.

So, those are my thoughts on all of the envious and jealous folks out there that feel the need to call out bloggers for fulfilling their obligations to publishers. And a word of advice if that’s you: start a book blog! You could be the person getting sent ARCs someday! 😉



20 thoughts on “The Perils of ARC Envy

  1. Totally agree with everything you said! I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years and I’m just now starting to request and receive physical ARCS. With that being said, there are also a ton of ARCs that I would have love to have gotten, but it just didn’t happen. I really don’t think it’s inconsiderate to post pics of the ARCs that us bloggers get, because like you said we are sent those ARCs to generate buzz before release date, and that’s what I’m trying to do when I post photos of the ones I get, I’m not doing it to say “look what I got and you didn’t”.

  2. Love everything you said here! I’m totally one of those people who gets jealous whenever I see people post pictures of their ARCs, but that’s it. There’s obviously nothing wrong with posting pictures of your books because as you said it helps to generate buzz. But I also think it’s an achievement for the blogger. I mean, not everybody gets the privilege to receive advance copies of books. And it also means the blogger is doing a tremendous job with sharing their love for books. 🙂

  3. I completely agree! Bloggers who get sent ARCS get them for a reason, and there are plenty of ways to get ARCs without having such a huge audience. NetGalley is a great way to get ARCs (even if they’re digital) and you can always enter Goodreads giveaways to try and win some. Everyone has some blog envy every once in a while, but it’s much more beneficial for everyone involved if you turn that jealousy into motivation and inspiration to work even harder. Awesome post! 🙂

  4. yes! although i may get a biiiit jealous of those arcs, i do believe the blogger should have the right to post pictures & etc. i don’t think some people realize the purpose of arcs are to create hype and they’re actually a marketing tool. wonderful post!

  5. I, personally, DO get ARCs and I love to share my excitement when I post pictures. I never really do it to boast because let’s be honest, I’m NOT the only person with the ARC. That would be unrealistic to think.

    I think that ARCs are getting harder to obtain [physical] because of how many bloggers there are now. I’ve been blogging for quite some time now so it isn’t as difficult but I know some one year old bloggers who’ve never gotten ARCs because the amount of blogs is just so insane at this point.

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone react negatively to people posting pictures of physical ARCs. Sure, you might see an ARC you want on another blog but it seems very petty and a little mean-spirited to tell other people not to post pictures of them. Hopefully this is rare because it isn’t fair to tell those lucky enough to receive ARCs that they can’t share such awesome news with those who would most appreciate it, like other book bloggers.

  7. I love the way you approached the topic in this post! ARC envy is definitely a thing, but at the same time most of the people receiving the ARCs have worked really hard to get their blogs a steady stream of followers (and it’s a job in and of itself). I really only started getting ARCs after a year of consistent blogging, and taking pictures, tweeting about it, etc isn’t done to make anyone feel bad, rather I’m trying to promote the book as much as I can for publishers! (especially when it’s a physical ARC since those cost much more for the publishing house to produce and distribute!) I also love seeing other blogger’s ARCs because it makes me EXCITED for the book, and I’m more likely to add it to my TBR if I see buzz on my social media networks about it!

  8. I couldn’t have said it better myself Emily. It’s human nature to feel a bit envious once in a while, and there’s nothing shameful in that. It’s when you constantly obsess over that envy to the point where it controls you (like tweeting messages like the ones you mentioned) that it becomes a problem.

    And, like you said, ARCs are to promote the book and to build hype for it. What better way to do that than to take pictures, right?

    Thank you for sharing this Emily – if only everyone saw it the way you did! 😐 *sighs*

  9. It seems odd to me that you would tell a person not to talk about their ARCs since publishers and authors provide ARCs to bloggers specifically so they can promote them. The blogger isn’t getting a book for nothing and bragging about it–the blogger is expected to do marketing in exchange for receiving it. I’m sure we all have books we wish we could have in our hands right now, but complaining about the good fortune of others isn’t going to hasten the release date.

  10. I agree about this community being really welcoming and lovely. I’ve been stunned and touched by how kind everyone is and continues to be. We’re a positive bunch of people and when we get together we seem to ooze niceness.
    I hadn’t heard that this happened, so I’m interested in the whole of the debate- I mean, I understand feeling envious of bloggers who get sent books early because look at those gorgeous books and they have so many of them and if you don’t know the behind the scenes issues, like all the work and time and stress that is and can be a part of book blogging, then it might seem a little unfair. But I truly think us book bloggers work hard and it’s our job, as reviewers, to gush love for the books we get to review, sent, purchased or borrowed. And it is all about helping others decide whether or not to read a book, isn’t it? Xx

  11. What an awesome, brilliantly written post. I 100% agree with you, there shouldn’t be a problem with people posting pictures of ARCs, they worked so hard to get them and like you said, it aids in the marketing!
    I’ve been blogging 3 years now and I’ve only just started requesting because I have such a large tbr pile, but also because up until now I didn’t really feel worthy of approaching publishers. So when I do get an ARC and it’s from a book I’ve been insanely looking forward to I want to shout about it from the rooftops and I’m sure many others would feel the same. 🙂

  12. I completely agree with you — I’ve never been *angry* at book bloggers for getting copies of books before their release. Envious, sure. Interested, yes. Excited to get the book when it’s actually released, yeah! I love book bloggers — I trust them so much more than paid-for critical reviews in magazines or media websites. ARCs and book bloggers go a long way to get authors out there in ways they haven’t been able to publicize themselves before. I love that!

  13. I SO AGREE. I’ve been blogging for over 3 yrs now (damn) and I *still* get ARC envy, but I have no problem with ppl posting pics of ARCs! In fact it’s awesome because when it’s a book I’m excited aobut I get so emotional being all OH MY GOD IT’S ALMOST FINISHED AND OUT IN PUBLIC.

  14. Absolutely! It makes me a bit sad to see people calling out bloggers who are posting pictures of their ARCs – after all, isn’t the whole point of an ARC to generate hype and excitements for books? ARC envy is an ugly beast, but I think it’s learning to control it that’s the key – and after all, those lovely books will be in our hands in a few months anyway 😉

  15. I have to admit, I get SUPER jealous about ARCs, but I don’t post comments saying that. 😉 I’ve been blogger for a little over a year so it’s kid of unrealistic for me to request them yet. I do read lots of older blogs who almost only receive ARCs/books for review.
    I just remind myself that my time will come. 🙂

  16. Though I usually manage to avoid getting jealous of bloggers who get a lot of great ARCs, usually I try to scroll past these pics on Instagram, etc. because, well, it just makes me a little sad! I do understand that it’s polite to thank the publishers, and spread the word a bit, but I think it would be nice if these pics were a little more than just “thanks to so and so for the ARCs!” and a little more in depth on the books, or interactive with their followers, ya know? Otherwise, I really feel like these kinds of posts aren’t really for me (especially when I usually have already heard about the books) and really make me want to scroll right past them.

  17. So far, I haven’t seen anyone become enraged over someone posting pictures of their arcs, but I am someone who has an extreme case of ARC envy. It hasn’t been until this week where I’ve gotten physical arcs, which I’m thankful for for being such a new blogger. And great post, this needed to be addressed! 🙂

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