At the end of this post is a round up to my previous, often lengthy explanations of what an ARC is (and isn't) and why an ARC isn't just like a hardcover and why it shouldn't be sold or added to a library collection.
On one of the library listservs I lurk on, I found out that many Friends of the Library sell ARCs at booksales, sell them on E-bay, and think it is appropriate to add these items to library catalogs.
Which, just goes to show you, that the education of library staff and related professionals when it comes to publishing and ARCs is sadly lacking. The fault is not in the Friends group (well, OK, it is) but also in the Library Director who allows this.
NO, YOU CANNOT ADD THEM TO YOUR COLLECTION.
It doesn't matter how badly your budgets have been slashed. No, really.
And they also should NOT be given to your Friends to sell them. No, really.
Guess what? Part of your ethical responsibility is to educate those around you as to why this is an issue, and act accordingly. Which means NOT giving them to your Friends. Just tell them pages fell out so they cannot be sold. Half my ARCs lose pages in the first reading, so you're telling them the truth.
If you need more copies of Twilight, you wouldn't photocopy it instead of buying it, would you? (If you said you would.... I am more depressed than words could say.)
Dear Bloggers and Reviewers:
If YOU are the source of the ARCs being sold or added to the collections, stop donating them to libraries. Frankly, my personal belief is that if they are not being given directly to a teen to read and review and respond, they should be thrown out, unless (like Scholastic) other places are noted on the ARC as acceptable donation places. BUT, it should be clear you are donating them to be read, not to be sold.
"But it's a collector's item!" Excuse: Yes, in some circumstances, an ARC is indeed a collector's item with its own inherent value. Guess what? Those circumstances are very limited. And nine out of ten times, doesn't apply to your selling situation. Instead, what happens is people who think they are buying the "real book" are being sold an inferior product. And, people who think an ARC is a paperback version of a book don't understand what the issue is and get defensive and pissy.
A round up of my previous posts about ARCs:
But Can I Catalog It?, YALSA Blog, September 1, 2009
ARCs: Just Like a Hardcover, Only Free! Part 1. December 21, 2009
ARCs: Just Like a Hardcover, Only Free! Part 2. December 30, 2009.
Interviews About ARCs:
With Sheila Ruth, Imaginator Press. May 7, 2009
With Andrew Karre, Carolrhoda Books. May 13, 2009.
With Brian Farrey, Flux Books. May 20, 2009.
With Sarah Prineas, author. May 27, 2009
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy