I feel as though there’s always something to comment on in the book community these days. Most recently, it’s been bloggers and book cons. BookExpo, BookCon, and just last weekend, ALA. Between these three events I’ve heard about ARCs put up on eBay during the event (including a personalized one which was like.. really?), bloggers stealing ARCs, and general rudeness.
Sorry, not sorry, but this is going to be a full-on rant because recent events have seriously pissed me off.
Also FOR THE RECORD, the accusations that are flying around social media right now are exactly that. I’m not here to prove them right or wrong, but they’ve sparked a related conversation. I’m not getting into the middle of a fight based on a few people’s comments. Please don’t bother asking me about it. This post isn’t directed at any one person but at something that’s been brewing for a while.
I’d like to add in that I have no doubt that these book cons are a ton of fun and that a lot of people have great experiences. The issue is that these few incidences reflect on bloggers as a whole because, unfortunately, we all get lumped together and for the rest of us, this sucks.
Sadly, all of this just solidifies some of my thoughts about the community. I’d hazard a guess that at least half of the book bloggers in the YA community are adults. Totally fine. Except that a lot of them behave like children. It’s ridiculous and honestly makes me question the motives of some who join in but seem to be only about getting books. This brings in the trade tag too.
Book trading is SUCH an awesome idea because it allows you to get books you might not normally have the chance to. It’s great! But over the last year, maybe even sooner than that, it’s turned into an auction house. It’s not about spreading books around but who will give you the most for one book.
When did ARCs become currency?
These are PROMOTIONAL copies. They’re not as nice as a finished copy. They’re literally meant to promote the book, through reviews, instagram pictures, whatever it may be. Yet here we are as a group and suddenly it’s about what ARCs you have. I’ve witnessed people get books from a publisher and turn around just to trade them. I’ve heard stories of bloggers requesting books just to trade them.
Have we fallen so far?
Our purpose is a marketing tool. Those books the publishers send? They’re not free. There’s an obligation attached, an expectation that the book will receive coverage of some kind. Same goes with books you grab at a conference. They’re not for you to take multiple copies for your friends or giveaways, and especially not to trade off. Other people paid to attend that event too and you deprive them of the chance to get a copy. Not cool.
Let me ask y’all this: what happens when the shady trading, the selling of ARCs, all of it… what happens when it becomes too much? When bloggers start costing the industry?
Do you think they’re going to keep us around? Publishing was doing just fine without us and I bet they’d be fine without us again. The industry doesn’t need bloggers, and bloggers don’t need the industry. We really don’t. We have book stores and libraries. We still have books. We don’t need ARCs to keep on going. And the industry is, first and foremost, a business. They aren’t going to keep sending to people who have proven themselves to be a bad investment.
Bloggers. Aren’t. Entitled. To. ARCs.
I can’t believe that has to be said. We aren’t. We are LUCKY to be able to work with publishers to promote books. It’s a privilege, not a right. And every time that privilege is abused, it doesn’t just reflect on the individual, but on bloggers as a whole. Unfortunate but true.
Y’all, please understand that these are generalizations. I don’t think everyone in the community has supported this idea. But it’s there, and it affects more than just a few people.
I’m not even sure what could be done to help stop some of the drama ARCs seem to cause beyond not providing any to bloggers anymore. Any sort of system to monitor it all requires people and money, neither, I’m guessing, the industry wants to dish out when they could just stop sending altogether instead.
That’s my little rant/speech. Be grateful we get the opportunities we have and stop taking advantage of the system for your own gain because you’re ruining it for more than just yourself. There’s no reason for the childish behavior and the drama that springs up on the trade tag and during/after book cons. We are a community, and what we do can have effects on everyone else.