Buying an ARC
By davidleetodd on May 24, 2007
Can't wait for the next book by your favorite author to come out? There's a semi-secret way to get your hands on a copy before everyone else.
I've mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of Rick Riordan's Tres Navarre mystery novels. The next one, Rebel Island, is scheduled to come out on August 28. Publishing is an excruciatingly slow business. I know from Rick's blog that he delivered the manuscript to his editor nearly a year ago, and yet I still have to wait for three more months. Arrgh! I've got a hunch that the reason may be that Rick is even more well-known as an author of bestselling children's books, so it may be that the publisher was avoiding publishing too close to the release of one of them.
However, I have a way of getting around this this delay. Publishers often produce "advance reading copies," or ARCs, and distribute them to reviewers and book stores in advance of publication in order to build buzz for the book. These may not be as slickly bound and decorated as the final product, but true fans like me don't care. The text is what counts!
ARCs aren't supposed to be sold, but there is an active gray market for them on eBay. Late last week I scored an ARC of Rebel Island for $10.25, including shipping. Hee-hee! Since I am helping build buzz for the book myself, I've got a hunch that the publisher's "prohibition" on reselling ARCs is more of a nudge-nudge-wink-wink ban, and that they actively hope they'll circulate. A rabid fan like me will buy the true first edition for my collection when it comes out anyway, so my conscience is clear.