I have always felt like I’m ~bad at ARCs.~ I request books and never want to read them, or I read them super late, or I forget to email the publisher with my feedback… the list goes on. I’m ashamed to say that I have quiiiite a few old ARCs around that I still want to read but just haven’t done it yet. At the time of writing this, my Netgalley ratio is 75%. That’s really not bad, considering how terrible I THINK I am with reading ARCs. I recently – finally – developed a spreadsheet to track my books for review (more on that in a second) and was able to do some major analysis about my ARCs, where they come from, and if I really am as bad at reading them as I think. If you like stats and random analysis like that, keep on reading!
This spreadsheet concept very randomly came into my life. I loved reading about Nick’s review copy spreadsheet and thought about making my own for a couple of weeks. Later in August, Shealea commented on my TTT post and I went to check out her blog and TTT, which was about 10 spreadsheet hacks for book bloggers. It was a great post and linked to her “owned book” spreadsheet. Because I have an app for that, I decided to revamp her spreadsheet and turn it into my “review copy” spreadsheet instead! I basically reworked some of the formulas and formatting, added some columns, and viola! My ARC spreadsheet was born. Here’s what it looks like.
The columns are as followed, with color-coding based on the status of the book. Books I’ve read are in green, books that are “up next” (meaning they publish in the next calendar month) are yellow, unread books (that don’t publish for 2+ months) are white, red means the book is past due aka already published, and gray means I DNFed the book. More details:
- Status: Read, DNF, Up Next, Unread, Past Due
- Book Title, Author
- Month, Day, Year of publication
- Format: ARC, Egalley, or if the publisher sent me a finished copy
- Source: Netgalley, Edelweiss, Publisher (mail), Friend (gifted), Borrowed (from a friend), Giveaway, Author, ARC Tour (borrow the book and pass it along)
- Book read on time: checkbox for yes/no if the book was read by the week it was publishing
- Book as a part of a blog tour: checkbox for yes/no if the book was read for a blog tour
- Notes: anything random to add
2018 Need to Read – Backlist & Upcoming
Above you can see what it looks like when I remove the books I’ve already read or DNFed. There quite a few past due ones because I’m terrible about reading my physical ARCs. You’ll see some yellow lines to show books publishing next – October – and the white blank lines to see books publishing any time in 2018 AFTER October.
Backlist (Pre-2018) Review Copy Sheet
I have another sheet that separates out everything prior to the current year. In this situation, I have everything from 2014 (when I started blogging) to 2017. If I’m in the mood to go back and read something I forgot that I technically still have for review, I can sort this page by “past due” and see what old ARCs I could read to catch up.
2019 Review Copy Sheet
I’ve already read two ARCs for 2019 because I’m a mood reader and don’t care 😉 Otherwise, I can track ahead into 2019 as needed just in case. We’re getting close to the end of the year too – eek!
So now that you know where I’m getting the numbers, here are some fun stats I learned about my review copy habits!
Where I get review copies from:
I wasn’t overly surprised by this, considering how much I use Netgalley and prefer using eARCs instead of physical copies. Out of all the review copies I tracked, 125 of them were from there (and only 16 from EW – which makes sense because I hate the site and don’t have auto-approvals on there). I used to participate in A LOT of ARC Tours until the site went under, so I’m not surprised that 54 fall under that category, with another 29 books being borrowed from friends. I attended BEA and ALAMW in my earlier days, so I got a total of 40 review copies from those conferences. I’ve gotten a few books from authors and publisher giveaways, plus a nice amount gifted from friends. I’ve gotten 40 review copies sent in the mail from publishers too.
When I read the books:
I’m definitely not surprised by this one – I am really not great about reading my review copies when I’m supposed to. In all honesty though, I do usually read them within the month. I was strict when checking off the “on time?” box on my spreadsheet and only said yes if I read the book before the pub week. It’s nearly a 50/50 split (too close for comfort, IMO) but 179 books were read pre-release and 125 were not on time.
What formats I frequently get:
This category actually did surprise me. I was totally expecting to have more egalleys than physical ARCs. I don’t get THAT many books mailed from the publisher but I do borrow from friends, participate in ARC tours, and have attended some conferences in the past. I think that as time goes on, the egalley side will get bigger and bigger. It’s easily my preferred reading format. More on that in a second…
When format mixes with reading:
Since I started blogging, I’ve read a total of 103 egalleys and 100 physical ARCs. That’s pretty damn even. However, there’s an interesting trend in my particular reading habits. In 2018 so far, the vast majority of review copies read were egalleys. For all of the previous years, the majority were physical ARCs. I’m not surprised overall because I DID participate in all those ARC tours. Now, I get a book from the publisher and honestly forget about it because it doesn’t count to my Netgalley ratio. It’s the worst habit.