Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book bloggers: What to do with those old ARCs?

Following up on my post about how librarians can get ARCs, I'm turning my attention to book bloggers and the question of what to do with an ARC once you're done reviewing it.

Donate to your local library

Please (please please please!) consider donating ARCs to your local library. Most book bloggers know libraries can't add ARCs to our collections or sell them at our Friends of the Library bookstores for legal and ethical reasons. Trust us, we won't do that. But did you know we can still use ARCs in other ways?

I use them as prizes in my library's teen Summer Reading Program, which encourages teens to read for fun and maintain their level of literacy while they're away from the school setting.

Each participant is invited to earn a free paperback book in exchange for writing five brief book reviews. In the past, I've had to budget for the expense of prize books, which, of course, takes away from other things I could be providing for the teens. And with library funding the way it is these days-- well, believe me, every penny counts. Getting ARCs to use as prize books for free is a truly wonderful thing.

And Summer Reading is just the tip of the iceberg. Some librarians use ARCs as door prizes at teen events, or as giveaways for contests throughout the year. Others share ARCs with their book club or distribute them to their Teen Advisory groups who often have input on purchasing books for the library's collection. Your local librarian will find a way to get your old ARCs into the hands of young readers and introduce them to some really fantastic recent titles.

Other donation possibilities

Although I am biased toward the library (natch!), there are other venues for ethically passing along your ARCs, including classrooms, homeless shelters, hospitals, juvenile detention facilities, or organizations that serve youth, such as Boys and Girls Clubs.

You can do something good with those old ARCs. They don't have to go in the recycle bin. Even if they're really old, somebody can use them.

Did I miss any donation possibilities? Please share in the comments. Book bloggers, how have you passed along your old ARCs?

Edited to add: Oh no! What I said up there about libraries not selling ARCs in their Friends of the Library bookstores? Apparently not always the case! Thank you to the commenters on this post who let me know that it does, unfortunately, happen. I still stand by my plea for donating ARCs to libraries, but I will add that it's not advisable to drop off the ARCs without talking to anyone. Please make personal contact with your local librarian and verify how they might be able to use donated ARCs before passing them along.

Big thanks to Michelle from Never Gonna Grow Up Reviews for the ADORABLE photo above demonstrating the book blogger/ARC quandry. Be sure to check out her blog, because it's just as awesome as she is. And she does, in fact, donate ARCs to my library!


  1. If anyone's looking for classrooms in need of books/ARCs, make sure you check out ARCs Float On:

  2. Haha, that picture is awesome! Thanks for this great post--the last place I worked discouraged giving ARCS away (not entirely clear why), so it's nice to know there are places I can offload them. Speaking of which, I have several (new!) YA books I'd like to give you--most were pub'd between 2010-2011. Let me know of a good time to drop them off.

  3. Ha! I guess the people who work at my Friends of the Library bookstore don't know you're not supposed to sell ARCs because I find them there (and buy them) all the time. It's one of those things I know isn't completely ethical, but um, I'm more concerned about getting books in my students' hands than whether them charging me fifty cents for an ARC is an ethics violation.

  4. Abby, thanks so for sharing about ARCs Float On! What a great resource.

    Lalitha, I know, isn't Michelle ADORBS?? That's really odd that your last library didn't want to give ARCs away. As far as I've ever heard from publishers, they want their titles to get into the hands of eager readers who will create buzz, so... ah well! And thanks for thinking of me, I would love to take those older ARCs off your hands for my library teens!

    Beth, oh nooooo, your Friends of the Library store sells ARCs?? Ah well, there goes my whole "We promise we won't do that!" defense, haha. I guess I can only speak for myself. But honestly, I do believe the vast majority of libraries do follow the rules. Anyway, regardless of what your library is doing, it's reassuring to know that the ARCs end up in good hands. You are SO great at encouraging your students to read!

  5. Yeah, the Newport Beach Friends store sells ARCs, too. I have seen quite a few there before the book's release date, and even purchased a few because they were ones I had been waiting for.

  6. LOL! Thanks for the compliments on the picture, folks. I had fun doing silly photos for Allison. :)

    It's a shame that libraries sell the ARCs. This is such a good option for reviewers. I know I personally cannot throw a book away. It's too painful!

  7. Ha, you guys are killing me with the stories of library bookstores that actually DO sell ARCs! I honestly didn't think it was a thing-- maybe I'm naive. Alas!

    So I should advise making direct contact with a librarian BEFORE donating ARCs, then. Talk to the librarian and make sure he or she is on board with the concept that ARCs are NOT for sale, ever. I'm sure you'll find that the vast majority of librarians only have good intentions for using ARCs... but apparently it's best to have that conversation at make absolutely sure!

    Thanks for weighing in, all!

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