{DISCUSSION} ARC vs Final Copy

Are ARCs really better than final copies?

As many of you book bloggers know, the holy grail of reviewing is receiving ARCs from publishers. You spend months or years building up a repertoire and a fan-base, pumping out reviews as quickly as you can to show what you’re made of, to show you’re reliable, to snag the eye of some big publishers. Receiving ARCs is often seen as the ultimate determiner of whether you’re an accomplished book blogger, but…

Are ARCs really that great?

I received my very first physical ARCs in the last six months and I was ecstatic! I actually got two of them and they were both sequels for books I’d received digital ARCs for in the previous year. I enjoyed the originals and was beyond belief that I was being sent physical ARCs of the sequels! I felt like I’d finally ‘made it.’ I’d finally become an ‘official book blogger,’ but why is that?

I had been reviewing books for some time before I received those books. I could have just as easily waited until the books were published and bought them to review. After all, it’s not like I was going to be posting my review WAY early or anything. I only post ARC reviews a couple days before publication so as not to spoil anything and to remind people of the book that’s coming out. So, why did I strive so much to receive ARCs?

Well, for one thing, it definitely is a status symbol.

We secretly glare at other book bloggers when they flaunt they’re gorgeous, esteemed ARC of a book, especially when it’s an ARC we were hoping to receive. We envy them for being sent books directly from publishers. We want to be able to say we’re in the ‘in-crowd’ and have the validation of a publisher. Aaaand ARCs are pretty, rare, and collectible (as many book bloggers can attest to.)

Still, even after receiving my ARCs and requesting more (because I still want them books. :p ) I can’t help but wonder whether or not the ARC is really worth it. After all, the cover is often different. In fact, sometimes it’s not even a finished cover: the back or side could be blank and without artwork. There could be typos and grammar errors in the novel. Or! The publisher could decide to change something entirely by the time the book actually comes out, meaning your book (while rare and cool), is not ‘official.’ 

Oh! And more often than not, the ARC is a paperback. For those of you who read my discussion from two weeks ago, you’ll recall that I am partial to hard cover books. They’re durable. They’re pretty. You can protect the dust jacket by removing it during reading, but the same cannot be said for paperbacks. Thus, it’s much more likely that you could scuff, dent, or ruin your precious ARC just by reading it! And it’s not like you can go out and get a new copy either.

But what do you think?
Do you prefer ARCs to final copies? Why?
Leave your thoughts below!

And check out my discussion from last week:
Re-Reading Books

34 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} ARC vs Final Copy”

  1. I’m a lover of a paperback so ARC’s are just fine by me! And they’re usually the super floppy kind which is my absolute favourite!! Even though ARC’s aren’t finished and there may be mistakes, they hold a special place in my heart. Most of the ones I’ve received still have the same cover and chapter headings so it looks almost exactly like the finished copy. Timing your request though is difficult!! I sometimes request too early and sometimes too late. There is one published in particular that I was accepted as a reviewer but have yet to get anything because my timing is off!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. Timing is crucial. I think that has been a serious issue for me lately. I don’t even know what the sweet spot is, and I imagine it’s different depending on the publisher. Oh well. Just keep trying. 😜 I hope you get something soon from that publisher. That’s really cool!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting discussion!! I’m one of those bloggers that very rarely does ARCs cos I just don’t feel like I have the time to do them justice, so I have a lot of respect for the people that can put so much time and effort into doing so many!! I can say that sometimes when I get an ARC on my kindle, I get a little sad sometimes that it doesn’t come with the pretty cover that the book will have- cos even the aesthetic on my kindle scroll not being nice bothers me 😉 But that said- I agree with the person that commented that they prefer eARCs cos if I like the book I can get the nice cleaned up final edition and then I get the best of both worlds 😀 (in my inexpert opinion- as I said, I do this very rarely!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! I have noticed that for my eARCs now that I have a kindle to read off of. You just get a blank image with the title. So lame! I mean, they have the art already, why can’t they put that in the file? It’s such a shame because it really does bother me to not have pretty covers on my kindle. It, too, is like a bookshelf. :p

      Haha! Well, maybe I’m just weird then with wanting physical ARCs. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I’m not sure I want digital ARCs at all any more because… they’re too easy to request too many and they just… don’t have the same niceness. :/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes- it really is! EXACTLY!! I’ve no idea why they do that, since they advertise it with the cover and it’s not like it makes a difference cost wise when it’s digital. Yes- I am the exact same!!
        hahaha I can understand that- I’m pretty good about not making requests, so I don’t have that problem- but I can easily see how it could get out of control, cos it is tempting.


  3. Here’s my take on arcs, I love arcs and I love being able to read and review them, but I do not like physical arcs. (There is a reason why so many bloggers giveaway their arc copies after they read them) something about them ruins the original intended look for the book. Which is why I Prefer e-arcs. They look cleaner to me and if I want a physical copy of the book after I can go purchase it upon release.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. o.O I have never heard of such a thing! I assumed they gave away the ARC to share it with other readers or gain more followers or whatever. But they give it away because they don’t look like the actual published book? (Am I understanding this correctly?)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well Melanie, living in Europe I doubt i’ll ever receive a “paper” ARC! As it is I’m happy to get an ecopy. I’m not picky really. But I do love receiving them and if I loved them I often organise a giveaway (ecopy mostly). It’s my way to thank the author or the publishing house for their trust. I alsp get to make someone else happy so that’s perfect! 😉 So I will never be in the “in crowd” but I’m already content.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! Do European publishers not do ARCs? I’m quite curious about this now as I know there have to be publishers across the pond. 😉

      And that’s really cool of you to host a giveaway! I know a lot of book bloggers will giveaway their ARC after they’ve reviewed, but… I’m kind of too much of a book hoarder to give away my only copy of a book, especially since I am super weird get an attachment to the book I’ve read. I’ll never like a new copy as much. Does that make sense? o.O


  5. I enjoy ARCs when it is a title I am thrilled about enough to not mind having a deadline. With that said, I have moved away from them for that very reason. There comes a bit of responsibility with ARCs (at least for me personally) to properly time reviews. I struggle to properly timing anything. So I have stopped requesting and accepting them.

    I cannot even manage to read my normal review copies that I receive as soon as I feel I should. I am not accepting those either right now.. But I do think it is nice to own them 🙂 I like the fact that there is often a cover difference and little errors that set them apart.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh boy! Don’t I know about timing reviews! 0.0 I actually ran into an issue with this back in April when I didn’t expect to get so many digital ARCs, and I only review on Sundays. I, too, had to stop for a while, especially because all those ARCs were taking precedence over the books I already owned (and that’s a lot.) I need time now to catch up on the books I’ve already spent money on, and I dislike the stress of having to post a review by a certain date. Blogging is already stressful enough. sigh

      I can understand charishing the dissimilarities between ARCs and final copies. Makes the ARC more unique and exciting.

      Thank you for joining the discussion! Glad you liked it, Danielle! 😄


  6. I’m not choosy – if books show up at my house, I’ll take them in any which way or shape. Any bloggers that have reached Physical Copies Being Sent to Them status should be proud! That’s a visible result of the hard work and dedication they’ve put into their blogs and the book community.

    As an occasional reviewer, I get some arcs, and I like the feeling of getting unannounced, physical copies that show up out of the blue. As a reader, I like finished hardcover copies mostly, they’re sturdier, look nicer, and fare better in terms of wear and tear in the long run. Having said that, despite my love of hardcover books, I like paperbacks for the ease of them – lighter, fit better in my bag, etc. And this last part will sound a bit weird, but I prefer arcs over finished paperbacks, simply for the paper – it’s not the stiffer trade copy paperback paper, it’s more of a cheap and light paper, and I like the feel of it better that the stiffer paper.

    So I guess what I’m saying is – I like arcs, not necessarily for their desirability, but for their cheap and thin pages 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Of course I’ll take the books if they show up. I’m not that choosey. 😂 But I haven’t reached that level of esteem yet. So I can still have this discussion. 😉

      Hee hee! It seems there are many who agree with you on the hardcover vs paperback. I can understand the ease of carrying paperbacks around, but… I never seem to do so. Thus, it’s really an issue for me. shrug

      Huh. Obviously I haven’t received enough ARCs (or paid enough attention) to realize the paper is different. Now I’m gonna have to go check when I get home. 😜

      Thank you for joining the discussion! You brought up a point I never would’ve thought of. 😀


      1. I’m a creepy paper-feeler 🙂 Let me know if you notice a difference, it’ll make me feel less…creepy (although I’m also a book-sniffer, I suppose paper-feeling isn’t too out-there)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So, I just checked and funny story… My ARC actually has stiffer, thicker paper than the final copy I own. :p I don’t have a final for my other ARC, but it too seems to be quite a bit more durable than many of my regular finished copies. ;p Are you sure you didn’t get them mixed up? haha!


          1. I guess it varies by publisher or printing house. Kind of like how some mass-market pb’s have those awful stiff pages that don’t turn nicely, but then some have that lovely smooth bendy paper. I like the bendy. And no, you’re not weird for disliking musty books. Anything other than New Book Smell is a slap to the nose 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

        2. P.s. I don’t sniff my books, per se, but I am very attentive of smell. Like, I don’t like older books because they have a tendency to smell musty. You know what I mean? o.O is totally the crazy person in this convo :p


  7. I’ll take em off your hands…I know they must be a burden for you! 😜😘
    I know what you mean…it’s like, “OMG they acknowledged that I’m a book blogger! That means I AM A BOOK BLOGGER!” But we are book bloggers. And Netgalley is still pretty competitive…digital ARCs are often just as hard to get…so I guess it’s the idea that we need physical validation for what we do. I’ve stopped a lot of requests to pubs bc I can get the book from trading or from the author, or I can win one in a giveaway! I can find them at my bookstore!
    So does it really mean we made it if we have physical ARCs? I know people buy them off eBay…tout them as “Look what the pub sent me!” to look “cool”… is that what we must do? It’s silly!
    Yet I’m still trying to get to BookCon (if you haven’t noticed lmao!) so that I can meet the authors and get ARCs and have them sign them…I’m just as bad as all the other bloggers I guess!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! I think we’re all as bad as the other book bloggers. I know I am as I’m still requesting. 😉 And there is something quite a bit more satisfying about a physical ARC in contrast with a digital ARC. I think that comes from having a pretty bookshelf. Would you agree?

      Oh! I wanna go, but isn’t Bookcon like… out West or something?


        1. It’s certainly not right, that’s for sure. As far as legality goes, once the arc is out in the world, it’s nigh to impossible to manage what happens with them. Sure, pubs could track them down, but that would theoretically be both incredibly difficult, and certainly a great financial burden to actually pursue.

          There are a few big and well-known online bookstores that sell them, and I think it’s rotten. Booksellers of all people should understand that the creators and the publishers don’t make any money from arcs, so why should the bookseller? It’s one of those instances where common sense is overtaken by greed 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes. Unfortunately there’s no way to regulate the selling of ARCs, but it’s just pathetic on the seller’s end. Like, do you not understand how lucky you were to get this? How dare you make a profit off it? It’s a slap in the face to publishers’ generosity, and I’d hate to think they might do away with ARCs because of those people.


  8. Well like you might remember I am a lover of paperbacks so I wouldn’t have that problem!

    It’s true that ARCs are not the final copies, so they usually have mistakes and the covers… well that’s another kind of world!! I still would love to get my hand on them! If I really liked the books I would later go and buy them (no doubt about it!)
    The fact is that I’ve gotten some eARCs thanks to discovering netgalley and I am super grateful!! But what I wouldn’t give to receive physical books at home, unannounced…. So yes! I love the idea of ARCs, but there’s nothing better than a finished copy… so who says you cannot get both?¿? Early copy for reading/reviewing and if it’s good enough then you get your hands on the final copy!! (At least, for that cover gorgeouness, am I right?¿?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! But your idea goes back to my issue with having duplicates. I suppose it would make sense to buy a new one if they are different, but… books can be expensive and I’ve already read the book. Thus, I would actually go out and buy a final copy. 😜 is so difficult

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hahaha well… duplicate duplicate… if they end up changing the covers and such.. it’s like a different book!hahaha
        But isn’t it the same as if you read an ebook but then later buy the physical thing?? I don’t know if people actually do that, but I do!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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