Let’s Talk (Though Possibly More Of A Rant): Selling ARCs

sellind ARCs

I’m going to warn you in advance – this is probably one of those discussion posts that turns more into a rant.

It just means that I’m passionate about the subject, right?

But that also means you can rant along with me if you like.

So let’s talk about people selling ARC’s

First of all…what is an ARC?

An ARC is a book that has been printed specifically to be handed out for free to people like bloggers, booktubers, and fans at events, earlier than the release date. They’re usually handed out in exchange for reviews, to help build up hype before the book release, but sometimes at book conventions, the people going there can receive the free copies too.

These ARCs aren’t the finished version, and there still might be mistakes or very slight changes to be made, but it pretty much is just an early copy of the book.


The Situation

As most of you will know, BEA – a huge book convention – happened recently. Hundreds of authors all went to advertise their books, with most handing out ARCs to the lucky people who managed to go.

Now, I didn’t know this happened until a few days ago, but every year, as soon as BEA ends, some of these ARCs end up being sold online. Meaning there’s people out there who purposefully go to these events, exploit the author and publisher’s kindness and take the free books from them, to then exploit readers excitement to sell the books.


My opinion

Well the second I heard about this, I went on a rant on twitter.

I can’t believe people actually go to these events, look into the eyes of the author knowing they’re going to steal money from them, take their generosity and throw it back in their faces.

And they are stealing from them. The author and publisher have given up that much money, and spent loads just to print hundreds of books they won’t even gain money from. And then someone comes along, takes the free book, and gains money from it themselves.

It’s vile.

It’s not even about the money though. 

At these events, there’s always huge lines of people who spend hours waiting to meet their favourite authors, waiting for the possibility of getting one of these ARCs. These people will hold so much hope in them, waiting for so long just to get a copy of one of their most anticipated books of the year.

So imagine if one of these people wait for so long, only to be told by the author/publisher that they’re really sorry, but they’ve ran out of copies to hand out.

And then imagine being that person, and seeing that some horrid person that didn’t even want the book had been before them in the queue, and grabbed a copy only to sell it. Grabbed a copy that a genuine fan could have had instead.

Or imagine being the author, seeing one of the ARCs being sold online and knowing that one of the people you’d met that day had lied to your face, and stole from you. Knowing that you had met some fans that you couldn’t give an ARC to because you had run out, and unknowingly gave a copy to one of these vile people.

It’s just awful. While one person only thinks about how they can make money they don’t deserve, so many people are affected.


The bottom line of my rant?

I will NEVER buy an ARC.

I’ve never gone to a book convention, so I don’t have any ARCs at the moment. But no matter how badly I want an ARC of one of my most anticipated releases, I will never buy one.

ARCs aren’t meant to be bought. They’re meant to be handed out by the author or publishers to build up hype before a book release.

Buying an ARC is handing money to someone who did absolutely nothing to contribute to that book. It’s handing money to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

I will never buy an ARC. I will earn my own, thank you very much.

Share your thoughts!

What’s your opinion on all this?

Did you know it happened?

Have you seen any ARCs being sold yourself? Which ones?

Did you go to BEA? What was it like there?

Do you have any ARCs? How did you get them (events, sent by publisher, won in giveaway etc) and which ones?

Join the discussion (or have a rant!) in the comments!

Until next time…



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29 thoughts on “Let’s Talk (Though Possibly More Of A Rant): Selling ARCs

  1. Yep, I heard about this too. Such a rude thing to do, and so sad to see it happening in the book community, which is supposed to be kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For the most part the book community is, and to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t class these people as part of the book community, since they don’t appreciate the generosity of the authors enough and just get rid of the books as soon as they can for money. Ugh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ya honestly terrible that people sell ARC’s. I get if you give them to a friend to read or even give them to someone else interested in reading and reviewing the book for free, but selling it is disgusting.
    I’ve never book to a book convention, but I desperately want to go. I really want to meet some of my favorite authors and meet other fans of their books. Getting an ARC would just be an added bonus.
    I currently have one ARC: Martini Henry by Sara Crowe. It was sent to me by the publisher after a short correspondence on Twitter. It was an amazing job book, and I couldn’t imagine ever getting rid of it. Every time I look at it I get happy butterflies that remind me “hey, maybe I am a real book blogger!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Receiving an ARC means so much to us book bloggers. I think I’ll be getting my first one soon, and that honestly makes me feel so excited and proud. I can’t even imagine how people can get their hands on an ARC and just sell it, like it’s nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great discussion post Ashleigh! I didn’t even know there were people out there that sell ARCs all I’ve ever seen are warnings on the ARCS themselves and from other bloggers that you aren’t supposed to do that. I guess I should have known there would be awful people out there that wouldn’t listen.

    I think the thing that pisses me off the most about this is a point you made already: people who actually want the ARC to read and enjoy not getting one because these other rude people got to one first. It’s sick and wasteful. Not to mention what they’re doing to the authors, like you said, how can you go face to face with a person who wrote the book and then turn around and sell it illegally? You’re taking away from them, the books are their job and you’re stealing money from them.

    I almost feel like saying “shame on you” to any readers or bloggers that actually purchase these ARCs because same goes for them, they’re stealing from the authors. Besides the book WILL go on sale eventually so it’s worth it to just wait and actually have that money go towards the wonderful people that brought these books into the world!

    Ugh! I’m so upset about this and I just want to Hulk out and rage!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I only heard about it a few days on twitter and just wondered how I was so oblivious (though I haven’t been blogging too long so that’s probably why) and I couldn’t stop ranting, it made me so mad! Especially when I saw authors writing their own tweets about it, and you could tell how angry they were too.
      I definitely agree that no matter how badly you want it, just wait for the release!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no I definitely feel the same way, being oblvious to stuff like this but we are both fairly new bloggers so it wasn’t just you!
        I went onto Twitter and checked out your tweets and I found the author tweets as well, so you know it’s pretty bad when the authors are talking about it. Yeah they weren’t happy and I agree 100%.
        Seriously though this is an awesome and important post and I hope everyone sees this! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I couldn’t believe this when I heard it! It actually made me sick. I’ve never been to a book con either, and my ARCs are sent by publishers. But selling them? Making money out of it? That’s just wrong on so many levels.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love a good rant. I agree with you. I don’t understand how someone can sell a book they received for free. I feel like they’re cheating the author and publisher by doing this, and it’s so wrong on so many levels. I would never purchase an ARC. And I think the people who buy and sell them should be ashamed of themselves.


  6. I agree it seems so unfair that people who desperately want the book can have queued for hours only to be told there’s no ARCs left meanwhile someone nabbed one whose only intention for that advance reader copy is to sell it on for an extortionate amount – it’s terrible! The point of ARCs is for them to be spread and read, to help generate publicity in the run up to publication, to get early reviews out there in time, it is NOT for people to make money. They’re handed out free for a reason!

    Ethically it’s suspect and even legally it’s a bit of a grey area. As mentioned in this Guardian article: ‘Legally, it seems, the law about who actually owns proofs is somewhat confused. Most ARCs carry a legal notice stating that the proof remains the property of the publisher, who can claim it back any time. In reality … have you ever heard of anyone being prosecuted for selling a proof that wasn’t legally theirs?’ So even though very few publishers can chase people for selling their ARCs, they do technically belong to them, they’re their property in a sense. I know that seems a rather cold and clinical point compared to the ethical and emotional but one worth making!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That just makes it worse to me. If they technically belong to the publishers, and they can claim them back whenever, then these people are stealing from them, since they’re taking it and selling it on. It’s like if you gave a book to a friend to read, only to find out they had no intention of reading it, but sold it instead. I get why it’s such a grey area though. I mean, they ARE willingly given out.


      1. Oh, I absolutely agree! The problem is that it’s such a grey area that I think no one really knows where they would stand if they were to take it further, though I have heard whispers of publishers reporting ARCs being sold on eBay? I’ve always wondered though if you want to get rid of an ARC, how would you do it? You can’t technically just donate it to a charity shop, even, because that shop would then sell it on. Sure, it’s for charity, but even so, is that not technically resale? Like I said, it’s a very grey area!

        Either way, it seems like that’s part of why it’s quite a no-no to sell on an ARC rather than trade it. At least if you’re trading it, someone who wants to read it is getting it, and it’s not a case of someone exploiting/profiting from this desire.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This gets me mad too! I know some ARCs are really hard to get even at these events and people will literally wait hours in line only to be turned away. To realize that some of the people who actually got those ARCs only did it to turn around and sell them is terrible. I would be SO mad if that happened to me. These people can’t even use the excuse that they didn’t know you’re not supposed to sell them. It literally says right on the cover that they’re not to be sold. It’s so frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It’s not like it’s made unclear that they’re not meant to be sold. It very clearly says they’re an ARC. So these people can’t say they didn’t know they were meant to be sold. They’ve been told, and go against it anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved this discussion topic, and definitely think that this is something that needs to be talked about. You’re completely right – it’s disgusting that someone would exploit all the hard work and hope that an author puts into their work, along with the money that a publishing company invests into it, by selling an ARC online. I had no idea that people did this, actually – even though I guess I should have figured.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Confession: Before I started blogging I bought a book at a used book store and didn’t realize it was an ARC until I brought it home. It was of a book that had already been out for around a year. I was not yet aware of all the controversy surrounding selling ARCs at the time, so I didn’t give it much thought.

    However, now that I know better, I have no intention of buying or selling ARCs.

    A few months ago, I went to a book sighing and one of the books I had the author sign was an ARC (which I acquired as a gift from someone who had obtained it from the publisher), and when the author asked me where I had gotten it from I knew she was worried I was going to say I’d gotten it off the internet.

    When I went to BEA this year it was interesting to see how much more restricted the more popular titles were from the less popular ones. By this I mean that publishers had no problems with people taking multiple copies of the less popular titles, but the more popular titles were ticketed with each person only allowed one copy.

    I think this is primarily because there was no way the publishers could provide everyone at BEA with a copy of the more popular books, and because those books have so much hype already there is probably little incentive for them to do so, but I was wondering if it could have something to do with this as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well you said you didn’t purposefully buy it as and ARC, and won’t be doing it again, so don’t worry, I won’t kick off about buying an ARC. Especially if it wasn’t clearly shown by the store selling it.
      And I think what you said might have something to do with this topic. Obviously the more popular books are going to be more likely sold. But when it comes to less popular books, they might just decide to take the risk in order to get more books out there.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I think it’s pretty awful behavior to go to a book event only to grab ARCs you intend to sell BEFORE the book is even released. However, I don’t have any issues if the book has been out a few years and you’ve already read it, reviewed it, and bought a final copy if you enjoyed it. It sucks when you buy a used book online and they send you an ARC though.

    I see no issue buying them at thrift stores way after publication, since the ARCs actually belong to whoever the publisher/author gave them to now. There is no contract so technically publishers can’t get them back, and there is no reason after the final book has been out for a while. I’ve never intentionally sold an ARC but I have gotten credit for them at the used bookstore, donated them, or swapped them on book-swapping sites, always disclosing that they are ARCs.

    I do hope that people who go to book events just to profit are no longer welcomed. But as far as NEVER selling/buying ARCs, I don’t consider it evil under certain circumstances. Because they are a marketing tool, and once that tool no longer serves a purpose (reviews are done, final copies out and bought), it is yours to do with whatever. I’d rather see someone find a new home for an ARC than it to be in the landfill, but maybe that’s just me.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I went to this post after reading your latest one. I can’t believe people are doing this… and actually succeeding! Seriously, why would you purposely buy an arc when it’s just going to come out later on? It makes no sense *rolls eyes* I agree that it’s stealing. Also, it’s not like the arc is necessarily better than the finished product.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It makes no sense to me either! I think people only search for them because they’re rarer than finished copies. They definitely won’t be better than the finished versions as they’re not complete!


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