5 Ways to Get Review Copies of Books

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?

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  1. 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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  3. 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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  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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. :)

  9. 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?

  10. 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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  12. 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.

  13. Being a blogger almost every week I get review copy offers from publishers and writers. I never subscribed anywhere but they somehow reach me. I now have over 100 paper backs and review almost 25% of them. Over all, nice experience, I keep un getting knowledge and insights and also our book self looks awesome.