Friday, January 11, 2008

A new ARC silliness

Interesting entry from the Fine Books Blog, asking "Who Owns Your Advance Reading Copies?". The idea of publishers (S&S in this case) sending unsolicited galleys to reviewers, while at the same time asserting a right to consider it a loan subject to recall at any time, is pure silliness.

Putting that specific issue aside, while I understand some fiction ARCs can carry some real value, I can't imagine anyone wanting to actually purchase a non-fiction Civil War galley (at least the vast majority of the ones I've seen) anyway.


  1. Uuggghhhh... gee.... that someone would be me. :-) Actually, I found an ARC for one of Eric's books at a book fair and bought it because I did not have the trade ed.

    I'd love to hear how the publisher would enforce such a ridiculous policy.


  2. So would I. I also marveled at the theoretical point made that the NYT would have to build an extra warehouse to store the thousands of ARCs they received each month!

  3. Drew

    I had left a detailed comment on this, and find it is gone. Odd. Maybe I clicked something wrong.

    I also left the following comment on the original blog from which you draw.


    Thank you for writing on this fascinating and timely topic.

    As a publisher and an attorney, i do not believe Simon & Schuster’s latest gambit will survive the scrutiny of any judge able to fog a mirror. Unsolicited ARCs are gifts (as you describe), and treating them any other way will infringe on established law and create unintended consequences so obvious even judges and politicans can spot them.

    There has long been an unspoken gentleman's agreement that ARCs are not for sale. But the winks and nods have, sadly in my opinion, overridden sounds ethics.

    SPAN (Small Publisher's Association of North America), a vitally important organization whose newsletters I read with religious fervor, and other similar groups (PMA in particular) have been discussing / debating this issue recently.

    Savas Beatie is a small but thriving military and general history house. We produce (at considerable expense) ARCs for nearly every book. A time or two the number was as high as 300-500 copies (for unique promotional opportunities for unique titles). It is expensive, and of course I do not like to see the ARCs for sale.

    Speaking only for Savas Beatie, the issue of whether a reviewer sells one does not keep me up at night. I don't like it, but I don't see how to reasonably police it and stop it.

    Last, we have had many people ask to buy galley copies of our books. Some people consider them the "true" first editions. (I am not in that category.) Some of our authors sign them and we sell them, making some collectors very happy.

    Keep up the fine work.

    Theodore P. Savas
    Savas Beatie LLC
    989 Governor Dr., Suite 102
    P.O. Box 4527
    El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
    916.941.6896 (phone
    916.941.6895 (fax)

  4. Ted,
    Sorry about that. I don't moderate comments before they are posted, and individuals have emailed me before about the difficulty in getting lengthy comments to be accepted by the Blogger software. I am sure I have lost some great ones.



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