Backlist vs. ARCs: The Good and Bad…

When I first started blogging about a couple weeks in, I heard about Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) and thought it was an amazing concept. How exclusive would it be to read a book before release? Once I got my blog up in stats I signed up for a NetGalley account and was ready to roll in eARCs. I was approved for 3 and read 1. Then I realised the one I read actually was already released. Okaaaayyy, not quite an ARC then. When I got approved for First Lifeย I thought ‘now I’ve hit the big time’. And honestly, I was disappointed with the book. I didn’t enjoy it like I thought I would. So I joined on with some blog tours for ARCs and once again, disappointment.

I started to examine why if I really wanted to read ARCs. Sure, it’s great to feel exclusive, but it’s crummy motivation to read. On one hand, I can see the benefit of it. Especially if it’s from an author you know and love. Which wasn’t the case for any of the ones I hadย read. I turned to backlist books and actually enjoyed it more. I felt like I was working through my TBR instead of constantly adding to it. I think ARCs can be super fun to get. It was like Christmas when the copy of The Widow I won on GoodReads came in the mail. But books I’ve found and LOVED have always been ones I’ve meant to read for a long time and only finally got to reading.

There’s a constant flurry of interest in ARCs, but also a good amount of drama that surrounds them. And while backlist books don’t get as much hype once their release period is long gone, they have their own benefits over ARCs.

The Good

Backlist Books

  • No rush to finish before a deadline
  • Previous reviews to help you choose
  • Helps financially support the author
  • Great way to discover and promote lesser known books

Advanced Reading Copies

  • Get a book before most other people have seen it
  • Support the author by promoting and sharing their book before release
  • Are the first line of reviewers and set expectations for it

The Bad

Backlist Books

  • More review influence before reading
  • May have less interested readers
  • Reading a book everyone has already talked about and discussed at a length

Advanced Reading Copies

  • ARC envy
  • ARC drama – aka how some people abuse/take advantage of the system for personal benefit
  • No reviews to guide you with whether or not it’s worth reading
  • Deadlines and pressure to finish

What do you think are the pros and cons of reading backlist books vs. ARCs?

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