5 Ways to Get Review Copies of Books

by Jessica Anderson on May 29, 2009

in Memes & Miscellany

Also know as “advanced reading copies,” “ARCs,” and “galleys,” these pre-publication copies of books are one of the perks of being a book blogger. Here are some ways to get your hands on them.

1.  Participate in Blog Tours

This is perhaps the easiest way for new book bloggers to cut their teeth on review copies, because blog tour companies are always looking for willing reviewers.  The agreement is simple: in exchange for a copy of a book, you will read it and post a review of it on a specific date.  Just beware not to over book! (No pun intended.) I find that two blog tours a month is quite enough for me.

Here’s a list of a few blog tour companies.  I’ve done tours with all except Promo 101:

Blog Book Tours
Blog Stop Book Tours
Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours
Pump Up Your Book Promotion
TLC Book Tours

2.  Subscribe to Shelf Awareness

Shelf Awareness – Daily Enlightenment for the Book Trade is an email newsletter delivered to your inbox each business day. It is full of information about the publishing industry – and advance reading copy (ARC) offers! Many of the ARCs I receive come from this source.

3. Sign Up For Reviewer Programs

Many book-related websites have programs for distributing ARCs to their members. Note that your chances of receiving additional books from these sources are greatly increased by posting reviews of the books you obtain in a speedy manner. Here are a few of the most popular programs:

Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club
Goodreads First Reads
Library Thing Early Reviewers

4. Subscribe to Publisher’s Newsletters

A great way to keep tabs on your favorite publishers is to subscribe to their newsletters. Many of the newsletters have information about how to get ARCs. For example, HarperCollins has a “First Look” newsletter that is specifically geared to reviewers. Here are a few of the newsletters to which I subscribe:

Hachette Book Group
HarperCollins
Knopf Doubleday
Random House
Simon & Schuster

5. Directly Contact Authors and Publishers

This one takes guts, but it usually pays off if you do it respectfully and professionally.  This method works best if you are after a specific book.  Linda Formichelli has put together a great list of publishers and their preferred methods of receiving book requests.  Google searches for authors and publishers work well too.  I’ve found that it’s best to do your research on the book, the author, and the publisher before you contact someone asking for a book.  Also, be prepared to share information about your blog and your blog’s audience.

BONUS TIP – Establish a Review Policy

It’s best to post your review policy on your blog prior to accepting review copies. Your policy should clearly delineate your preferred method of contact, your preferred genres, and your reading and posting policies. Here are several examples of detailed review policies:

The Bluestocking Society
Book Addiction
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?
Maw Books Blog
Presenting Lenore

Okay, now you’ve read my list. How do you get your hands on those precious ARCs?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly May 30, 2009 at 1:22 am

What a thorough guide to a topic that I’ve heard so many questions about. Thank you for pulling this together!

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Wrighty May 30, 2009 at 1:50 am

This is an excellent post! I already do many of these things but I am still bookmarking this for future use. It’s posts like this that have been very helpful to me in the past. This will be a great guide to other reviewers. Thanks for the valuable info!

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christina May 30, 2009 at 5:58 am

You are a rockstar! What an awesome post.

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Literate Housewife May 30, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Very good advice. I need to write up a review policy myself.

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Jackie (Farm Lane Books) May 31, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Great post! I’ve found the best way to get ARCs is just to keep blogging – soon enough the publishers/authors start trying to throw them at you, and you get buried under the requests.

It is how to get the ARCs you really want which is important, and so method 5 is probably the way to go!

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Kim L May 31, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Great tips! When I first started blogging I wondered how to get those awesome free books. Now I’m totally overwhelmed, and I’ve had to stop taking review copies. It is pretty cool to score free books, though.

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Toni May 31, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Great Post. You know I have probably a 90% success rate when I send a simple request to review a book to the publisher. And some of the publicity stuff I have got is fantastic. It is so fun to do this.. get the book.. then post the review. Good times. . . Great info.

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Heather June 1, 2009 at 8:55 am

Hey, thanks for highlighting my review policy!

Despite the fact that sometimes you can get duds when it comes to ARCs, I’m still in love with the idea of getting “free” books. Though I do agree with bloggers who say that they’re not really free, since you have to commit to reading and reviewing the book. But still… I still love it! I don’t subscribe to any of the newsletters that you mentioned, but I think I’m going to now. :)

Great post!

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trish June 5, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Great post, Jessica! New bloggers are always asking how to get books, and this is a comprehensive (but not lengthy!) list of how to get books. Thumbs up on this post. :)

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Natasha @ Maw Books June 24, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Thanks for linking over to my review policy. I’ve found that I’m rarely asking for books but yet they are always making their way into the house. Is there a back door I don’t know about it?

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Kayla May 6, 2013 at 4:56 am

Great post! I was just wondering, how do I know if blog tours accepted me as a tour host? I recently signed up to be a tour host but I have no idea whether I’m a host or not :)

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Sasha September 18, 2013 at 3:00 am

Thanks so much for all the information I started my blog yesterday love all your great advice thank you

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Erin @ My Bookish Self June 3, 2014 at 2:04 am

Thanks for this! I followed most of it, and I hope I get to receive ARCs someday! Thankyou again!

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Nicole at Mommy Moxie June 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm

This is amazing-thank you so much for giving those of us who wish to blog about books a way to get copies for free. My bank account appreciates all the help it can get ;)

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bibliomanie July 29, 2014 at 10:08 am

I get all my ARC’s from the amazing NetGalley.com. It is fabulous, however, I think access is better for people with ALA membership numbers. Otherwise I get a lot of books form publishers as I am a librarian. The perks of the job I guess.

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