ARCs, Stacks and Hauls

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”

The quote is from Desiderius Erasmus. How totally appropriate, but also one I’ve lived by long before I knew it existed. My mom would tell you I spent my allowance on books when I was a kid. And generally owed her future allowances.

I’ve always collected books. More books than I could read at any given point in time. I love having the choice of what to read next. It’s not the object, it’s the content. Ebooks suit me just fine for most things, and they take up less space. This is a big deal when you move as often as we do, and when you own as many “dead tree” books as we do.

Still over 2,000. We haven’t even unpacked them all from the last move. In December.

About ARCs. I’ve worked in libraries that received ARCs in lots of different ways. One of my former places of work (FPOW) was in a major metropolitan area. The city newspaper still had a significant book section on Sundays, and received books for review. The newspaper donated their review copies to the library. About once a month we received an industrial pallet-load of books, mixed ARCs and “real” books. The “real” books often went into the collection. But the ARCs, never. Staff had the pick of the ARCs for collection development, reading copies, whatever we liked. But they were never put in the collection. If you are wondering what the newspaper got out of this arrangement, they got a tax write-off.

Other libraries I have worked at do sell ARCs at book sales, or they end up in the Friends of the Library book sales. I haven’t worked at a library that has put them in the collection, but I know it happens.

But what does any of this have to do with ARCs now? I can hear the question from here. The recent #ARCgate mess brought up a lot of questions and it made me think about the present and future of ARCs in general, and what any mailbox-type post looks like in particular.

I do get a lot of ARCs. More in one week than I can read in a week. I’ve always picked up more books in a week than I could read that week. The difference now is that I’m getting a lot of eARCs instead of deliveries from Amazon and B&N or borrowing books from the library.

But the ARC “stack” can look like a book haul, and that isn’t the purpose of it for me. I choose eARCs because eARCs are a win/win. My eARC does not automatically deny any other reviewer the same eARC. That’s the beauty of NetGalley and Edelweiss. No print, no postage, not necessarily a limited number of ARCs the way that a print run by its very nature limits the number of ARCs.

And no print ARCs left on my shelves at the end that I’m not quite sure what to do with. Because the last thing my house needs is more print books. One of the clear messages of the whole ARCgate mess is that what you should do with your ARCs after you’re finished is very, well, unclear.

What I’m curious about, dear readers, is how you feel when you see mailbox-type posts on book blogs. Do you see them as the blogger doing a bit to promote books that she or he might not have time to review? Do you see them as bragging? Do you find them useful for adding to your own TBR pile? Do you care?

Please share your thoughts! I’ve been having a serious re-think on this topic after ARCgate, and I’d love to hear from you.


What’s on my (mostly virtual) nightstand? 4-22-12

Before I start on this week’s Nightstand, which is going to be a traveling nightstand, two newsworthy items.

We’re famous! Or maybe infamous. Your mileage may vary. Very much. Reading Reality is the featured blog this week over at Curiosity Quills Book Blog Spotlight. Go check out all the blogger interviews. They are awesome. And don’t forget, there’s still time to review one of their books and enter their contest for a chance at an iPad3.

Speaking of giveaways, tonight at midnight, the Spring Fling Blog Hop will begin at Reading Reality over 80 other blogs. So come back tomorrow and fill out the Mr. Rafflecopter for your chance at a $10 Amazon Gift Card at Reading Reality, plus more fabulous prizes at all the other participating blogs.

About that nightstand of mine. As I said, it will be a traveling nightstand this week. We’re going to a conference. Well, my husband has a conference, and I’m going along as his “plus one”.

So I’ll be taking one or two print books as my “airplane” books. Probably either Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules, or Karen Kondazian’s The Whip.

But what’s up on the reviewing calendar between now and May 1, next Tuesday? And is anyone else out there having a difficult time wrapping their heads around the idea that next Tuesday is the first of May?

I did get a new iPad3 for my birthday earlier this month. There were a certain number of trials and tribulations involved in transferring the contents of my old iPad to my new one. Enough that Galen was moved to write a guest post that will appear later this week.

But I do love my iPad enough that I requested Insanely Simple by Ken Segall from NetGalley. It’s a non-fiction business book, which is not the sort of thing I usually get. But it’s about Apple Corp. There are a couple of companies whose inner workings do interest me. Apple is one. (For anyone wondering, no, I don’t have a Mac. Galen has a Mac)

From a business that makes gadgets we go to gadgetry that makes a genre. I have Cruel Numbers by Christopher Beats, which is subtitled “A Steampunk Noir Mystery”. I hope it’s half as cool as it sounds.

I also have Zero Gravity Outcasts by Kay Keppler. As you might guess from the title, Zero Gravity Outcasts is science fiction romance. These are my two Carina indulgences from NetGalley for the week.

Because I loved Shona Husk’s Dark Vow, I snapped up her Kiss of the Goblin Prince when is appeared on NetGalley. The difference is that Dark Vow was stand alone, and Goblin Prince is book 2 in a series. So I have the prequel (The Summons) and book 1 (The Goblin King) to get through first.

Sadie Jones’ The Uninvited Guests is a book that looks like it’s going to get a lot of buzz. I picked up a paper ARC at PLA and I requested in from Edelweiss. It’s due out on May 1. At least when the Edelweiss egalley timebombs, the paper ARC will still be good! It’s about an Edwardian house party that goes sadly astray, it reminds me of the movie Gosford Park, and, of course, Downton Abbey.

I went through a period of picking up mysteries at NetGalley. Fatal Induction by Bernadette Pajer is the second in the Professor Bradshaw series, after A Spark of Death. These are historic mysteries, and they look interesting, taking place at the beginning of the 1900s and having to do with electrical engineering and academics, and, of course, murder.

My last book for next week is also a bit unusual for me. I will be participating in the BlogHer Book Club in May, and the book chosen for the Book Club next month is You Have No Idea by Vanessa and Helen Williams. So it’s an autobiography written by a famous daughter and her mother.

I’ll be visiting my mom in the middle of May. Maybe I’ll get some insights from the rich and famous…

So, what’s on your nightstand this week? What are you planning to read?


In My Mailbox #6

Books keep appearing in my mailbox. It’s magic!

Sometimes it’s really magic. One of my wishlist books was granted. Edelweiss presented me with a ebook ARC of Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King. This is the next book in the Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell series. I am ecstatic about this one. Now if only the magic would repeat and John Scalzi’s Redshirts would transport in…


My other arrivals this week:

From Sizzling PR for review:
The Risque Target by Kelly Gendron (ebook)

Book and Trailer Showcase for review and book tour:
Bad Girl Lessons by Seraphina Donavan (ebook)

From Bewitching Book Tours (you guessed it for review and book tour):
Night Walker by Lisa Kessler (ebook)

From the author:
The Whip by Karen Kondazian (print)
Under His Protection by Karen Erickson (ebook)

For Book Lovers Inc. for review:
Of Thieves and Elves by AP Stephens (ebook)


From NetGalley:
The Bewitching Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell (ebook)
Untouched by Sara Humphreys (ebook)

From Edelweiss:
Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King (ebook)
The Vampire Shrink by Lynda Hilburn (ebook)

Purchased from Amazon (what can I say, I couldn’t resist reading the rest!):
Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James (ebook)
Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (ebook)

What’s on my (mostly virtual) nightstand? 3-25-12

The Virtual Nightstand is way for me to give a shout-out to books that are coming out in the next week or so that are on my TBR (To Be Reviewed, in this case) list.

And, since I tend to do a lot of my reading in bed at midnight on my trusty iPad, when I finish a book I take a virtual look at my Virtual Nightstand to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to be reading next!

And speaking of next…what’s on that Nightstand this week?

There are two books I’ve been really looking forward to.

Lessons After Dark by Isabel Cooper is a loose sequel to her breakout debut No Proper Lady. No Proper Lady was a romance that handled the time-travel, the romance and the magic right. I wasn’t the only reader who loved it (see review), this one was recognized with bunches of awards. I can’t wait to see if the magic continues.

Zoë Archer’s Skies of Fire is the first book in her new Ether Chronicles. The author says it’s steampunk, which makes it doubly appealing. I’ve really enjoyed both her historicals and her SFR, so her steampunk should be good. I got this one from Edelweiss with very high hopes.

I requested Legacy and Wrath by Denise Tompkins from Samhain. Wrath, the second book in The Niteclif Evolutions, is due out next week. This looked like an interesting suspense/paranormal romance series, and since I wanted book 2, I had to get them both.

A Tryst with Trouble by Alyssa Everett is a Regency Romance, and is the author’s debut. I requested this because it looked like fun. A rake and a wallflower join forces to solve the murder of a footman, because each believes that the other plans to pin their murder on a hapless but not murderous member of their respective families. The comedy of errors leads to true love by strange pathways, of course!

I was invited to get the galley of Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers at NetGalley because I went to PLA. I think librarians or conference attendees got a widget. But I’m starting to hear some very good buzz about this YA historical romance that seems to mix a lot of deliciously nasty political intrigue with just the tiniest bit of magic. Sounds like it could be fantastic.

And I have a mystery! No, really. Skeleton Picnic by Michael Norman looked good when I saw it on NetGalley. It reminded me a little of the Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott series, only with a male protagonist. What I didn’t see (and didn’t check, my bad) was that it was the third J.D. Books mystery.

On April 6, Reading Reality will be hosting a stop on the Isadora DayStar Blog Tour for Book & Trailer Showcase. This will be a review stop on the tour, so I’ll be reading Isadora DayStar by P.I. Barrington this week so I have my review ready. P.I. Barrington will be giving away 2 copies of her science fiction novel.

Don’t forget the Brightarrow Burning Blog Tour  stops at Reading Reality on March 29!


And because I want to be a complete tease, April 4 is Reading Reality’s blogoversary and April 5 is my birthday. There will be a celebration. Here at Reading Reality. Is blogo-birthday the word? Whatever it’s called it will happen.

Watch this space! There will be further announcements.

Mondays come sooner. Ebook Review Central tomorrow!