I’ve talked quite a bit recently about my ARC-related habits, how I plan my TBRs around them, and how I progress through reading them in a mostly timely manner. All of this is well and good but you may have noticed that I don’t often talk about my success with PHYSICAL ARCs. That is because I have very little success with them, to be frank. Here’s why they sit idle and don’t get read (sometimes at all, sometimes in a timely manner, etc.):
1. There’s no real ratio to hold me accountable (like a Netgalley percentage).
This is the number one thing here for a reason. Because I don’t have any solid number to associate my physical ARCs with, I tend to ignore them in favor of egalleys. There’s a ratio or percentage that helps you out on Netgalley specifically, so I can tie my overall success to that number. I can find out when to improve it or how much it will take to increase it to 80% at any given moment. If the number is too low, I can’t really get all of the great books I’m hoping for. The NG ratio is obviously a bit annoying to maintain or improve, but its existence totally holds me accountable for reading those review copies.
2. While I’m grateful to get them, many are unsolicited, which often means “not for me.”
I’ve gotten more and more unsolicited ARCs lately, which is awesome! I genuinely feel that I am finally gaining some momentum with blogging and being noticed by publishers. I would have had this much sooner but let’s be real: I’m lazy and didn’t focus on it for years. I love being approached by pubs to collaborate, receive a book, be a part of a blog tour, or join a release day celebration. Because I don’t request many physical ARCs (more on that later), most review copies I get are unsolicited, and unfortunately don’t fall into my wheelhouse. I like fantasy books sometimes!… but I am so moody about reading them. I have ARCs of delightful-sounding fantasy books that published in January but I am still sleeping on them because I’m not in the mood.
3. I alternate formats throughout the month, usually reading one of each (audio, physical, and digital) at a time… but many of my physical TBR books are for specific purposes and not ARCs.
Even though I read 2-3 books at a time (alternating between ebooks/egalleys, physical copies/ARCs, and audiobooks), my physical book TBR in general does not often include ARCs… for various reasons. I have some “required reading” each month, like my book club selection or any library books I requested. This means that my physical book TBR may be restricted to those. I straight up don’t read as many physical books as I used to. This is partly because ebooks or egalleys are easier to read during work breaks, before bed in the dark, and on the go on my Kindle or phone. I can virtually only read physical books if I read in bed or on the couch during our TV time. At the time of writing this in mid-March, I’ve read 4 hardcovers, 6 paperbacks (including ARCs), 10 ebooks or egalleys, and 9 audiobooks. (Quick caveat that within the these categories, 6 reads were mixed formats, meaning I alternated between an audiobook and physical/ebook copy.) My monthly breakdown of reads will MOSTLY feature digital formats or some kind of mix between them and audiobooks. So like I said, my required reading books, if they came from the library or something, will be the priority during my “physical book reading time.” ARCs end up on the back burner unless it’s a highly anticipated book. On that note…
4. Most of my highly anticipated advanced copies come in the digital format.
If I went out of my way to request more physical ARCs from publishers for highly anticipated books, I would 100% read them in a timely manner. However, I am way more likely to request an egalley over an ARC. This is for a few reasons: I don’t like adding books to my physical shelves (especially ARCs because they’re hard to offload when you finish reading them), I prefer reading digitally in general, and the process is much easier. I can just put a request in on Netgalley and let my ratio do the talking… instead of writing up a full email to request the book. I will do this from time to time, of course, but not nearly as often. That means all of my HOLY-SHIT-READING-THIS-ASAP-EVEN-THOUGH-IT-PUBS-IN-DECEMBER books get read in a digital format.