Monday, April 21, 2008

Where to get free books and ARCs

(NOTE: This post was edited and updated on Dec 16, 2012)

If you are a book lover like I am, you are always excited to discover new books and ecstatic to get free books. I am lucky that I do get a lot of ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October and BEA in May. And while book fairs are great places to get books, there are other ways. Book publishers have caught on that a great way to get buzz for their books is to put them in the hands of people who love books and have a enough gratitude for a free book that they are likely to write a review on their blog, for amazon or other review outlets. Several websites now offer ways for publishers and authors to match up free books with willing readers and potential reviewers.

First up, there is the Early Reviewers program at Library Thing. Each month, LT releases a list of donated ARCs that ER members can request. LT then uses a special algorithm that calculates how likely you are to like the book you request (based on the books you enter into your LT library) and how likely you are to review it (based on the number of reviews you've uploaded to the site). It is not a sure thing - there are far more people requesting than there are review copies, but you can increase your chances. My first time, I spent a couple of hours entering about 70 books and uploading reviews for 1/3 of them and I ended up snagging an April 2008 book, The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. I've gotten 16 more since.

Book Divas has a program called Collective X that offers ARCs for review. Every once in a while, the moderator announces the books she has to offer and you send her a private message with your top 5 picks. You need to review the books you've claimed before you can claim more.


Shelf Awareness has a daily newsletter where publishers often offer ARCs in ads. Just sign up for the newsletter and look for ads which say "Click here to get an ARC" or some variation thereof. Make sure you sign up for the Pro edition.

Bostick Communications provides access to review copies of books mostly by self-published authors.

NetGalley is the place to go for eGalleys of many publishers' books if you have access to an eReader.  Be aware however that most eGalleys expire on the book's publication date.  Make sure to fill out your profile with the appropriate information or you are likely to be declined for many books.

Edelweiss is another eGalley platform of interest.

Publishers themselves have also set up ways to get free books into your eager hands:

Harper Collins has a First Look program where winners are selected at random and applicants must explain why they think they'd like the book (currently on hiatus).

Hachette also offers ARCs for active bloggers on the ning platform called Early Birds ARC review. You can also join and get review copies from the Early Birds Blog Tour group and the Audiobook Review group.

St. Martin's Reading Group Gold offers Early Access books periodically on a first-come, first-served basis so check back often for latest offers.

If you are in a Sci-fi book club, you can sign up at Del Rey to get on their ARC mailing list. Many publishers run periodic contests or will enter you into a drawing to win free books if you sign up for their newsletter.

Christian:

Thomas Nelson has a book review bloggers program where you get a book in exchange for a 200 word review on your blog and a consumer retail site .

Young Adult:


Random House offers Random Buzz for teens (earn points that can be traded for free books by submitting reviews and doing activities - this seems like a lot of work!).

There is the In Group at Mac Teen Books for teens 13-19 (not sure exactly how it works, but if you want to join, there's a e-mail address provided in the sidebar).

Teen reviewers can be members of the Hip Scouts at Hachette.

And then there is Sneeky Peeks at CBAY Books (an imprint of Blooming Tree Press).

There are also tons of sites and blogs that run contests where you can win books. You can find some just by surfing around and looking at bloggers' sidebars.  Free Book Friday and Free Book Friday for Teens offer new book contests every Friday. Fresh Fiction has a page with a LONG list of contests you can enter each month. YA Books Central has great book contests from publishers for YA books. Goodreads also has many book giveaways as part of their First Reads programs.

Another activity to get involved in is blog tours. This is where an author who wants to promote his or her latest book sets up a tour of book lover's blogs. The blog owners will usually get an ARC of the book and agree to review it as well as host the author on a specific day (usually an interview). I've been a part of several of these. There are several PR specialists who set these up and two good places to start are Pump up your book promotion and TLC Book Tours. If you do end up becoming a host for a tour, Lillie Ammann has a great article here with advice for hosts.

A type of blog tour that is becoming increasingly popular is the ARC tour, where a group of bloggers pass along upcoming books to review before publication. In this case, you do not get to keep the book, but must read it and then pass it along within a certain time frame (usually one week). Because these types of tours are a ton of work to organize, most don't last very long.  Try googling ARC tour to see if you can find current ones.

Lastly, you can get the publishers/authors to come to you - how? By maintaining an active book reviewing blog with a wide readership. Easier said than done right? I started getting offers just a few months after I started reviewing books on my blog, but I put in a lot of hard work on my blog in the meantime.

33 comments:

Linda J said...

thanks for the tips Lenore! I would love to get free books and review them. I'm not a great writer, so my reviews would be pretty basic, but I'm going to check out a couple of your suggestions.

Candy Gourlay said...

thanks for the mention lenore - and the great connects to ARC sources!

Angela said...

Lenore;
This is great information - I especially love the TEENS clubs.

I'm going to link to this post!!!

Marie said...

Terrific post- very thorough! Thanks for giving us all this great information!

Sunny Lea said...

Great post!

I love reviewing books and am always looking for new sources.

Geoffrey Allan Plauche said...

Thanks for the information. Do you think it would be better to set up a separate blog from my main one just for reviews?

Katie said...

This was so helpful. I signed up for a lot of them. =]

Kaye said...

B&N has the signup today for the next first look book. If you're looking for a love story and want to enter a contest, I am hosting Sundays at Tffany's for 2 more days. Great chances as there aren't that many entries and there is a unique way to get one entry along with the other 3 possible.

Lenore said...

Thanks Kaye, I just saw B&N's announcement for Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead. I think I'm going to pass this time though as I already have too many books to read right now.

Joanne said...

Wow this is fantastic Lenore! Lately I've been looking for places to get some YA titles for review, but most of the teen sites want members 13-19. Do you know of any that are open to all ages?

cuileann said...

This is a great post, Lenore.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Thanks for the link love, Lenore!

Wrighty - said...

Thanks Lenore! I knew of several of these but you've provided even more. This is great advice and it's good to remind people that there is give and take to this. We have a chance to receive free books but we need to provide a service in exchange for them. This form of advertising seems to be increasing every day and publishing houses and authors are using bloggers and book clubs as their "word of mouth" source with good results.

Valorie said...

This is a great guide. <3 I just gave it a Stumble.

gaby317 said...

Thank you for this list - it was suggested on one of the Barnes & Noble First Look Book Club boards. Wouldn't have know it otherwise and your post opened up a whole new world!

Have been exploring the sites for hours and hours - thank you so much!!

I've started writing in my blog again, largely because of this!

gaby317 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gaby317 said...

This post is so helpful, especially to a someone like me who is new to this, that I wrote about it and made a link to this article from my blog.

thank you.

gaby

http://startingfresh-gaby317.blogspot.com/2009/05/presenting-leonore-arcs-and-where-to.html

Julie said...

Awesome information-thanks so much:)

Lisa said...

A very informative and useful post!

Cleverly Inked said...

Finally a blogger not afraid to help a fellow reader out.

Dwayne said...

Hi Lenore - this is a very helpful post; you're wonderfully kind-hearted! However, does this apply to international book bloggers as well? This seems mostly for US book bloggers (very lucky, I must add!). Would appreciate your answer on this love! :)

Lenore said...

Hi Dwayne - Yes, most all of these are are for US and Canada only. Though some contests and ARC tours may be international on a case by case basis.

Her said...

Just wanted to say thank you! I love to read and this is great!

Ghroob said...

thanks. this was informative ;)

Nay said...

Thank you so much for writing this...I needed to know all about the ins and outs...
THANK YOU!
~Nay~ (a new follower)

Lauren said...

Lenore, you really have been very inspirational and helpful to me and many others!

Jinny (SkyInk.net) said...

I know this is an old post of yours, but I still want to thank you for all the information. My blog isn't exactly new, but I'm just starting to 'break into' the book blogging scene :)

bkwrm said...

actually for holt in group you send an email. I sent one saying I had just started a website and would love to recieve ARC's and would also write my own reviews on it. Then I got an email back with a Form that I had to fill out and send.

Giselle San Miguel said...

Thank you so much for all the information! I never even knew half of those sites, and the sites that you link for more info is pretty great too! Thank you again for the wonderful tips!

BryOak said...

Hi. This is really great ans helpful. I've been Blogging for a year now and wanted to venture into reviewing ARCs so this is a great help, thanks :)

Tran Le said...

Love your post helped me a lot considering im new to the blogging world i was just wondering are ARC available for teens too or......:)

Roberta R. said...

This was very informative - though it is too soon for me to apply for ARCs, since I've only been blogging for a couple of months. But of course I will in the future. So thank you for the great tips!
Also, I'm looking forward to reading Level 2 ;). Sounds exciting.

Julia Mitchell said...

This is really interesting! I've only just started my book blog but this was great to read :)