There have been many opinions floating around the blogosphere regarding advance review copies, especially as of late. I'm not going to lie, I've noticed a big change upon coming back to my blog last year after calling it quits in mid-2013. While it was always exciting to receive a book you coveted months before it hit the shelves, it seems that there's so much more pressure now. Not only that, but there also seems to be a stigma that comes with sharing that excitement
No one is going to tell you "I started blogging to get free stuff", but I'm willing to bet that there's a good number of bloggers who have and are very motivated by that. Is it a bad thing? Not necessarily. As long as people are sharing their own opinion and putting work into their blog, who cares if they view it as a reward? When I began my blog in 2011, I didn't even know what an ARC was, much less how to get one. I never loved books as much as I do now, but I loved the fact that there was a community that helped me broaden my horizons. I've picked up dozens, if not hundreds, of books I may have never even looked at twice if I were browsing in a bookstore, all thanks to bloggers who have taken the time to share their thoughts.
Do I blog solely to get review copies from authors or publishers? No. Do I view it as a huge perk? You bet your ass I do! I'm not afraid to admit it.
While I didn't start blogging for ARCs, once I learned of a way to get them, I worked harder to increase my readership and get to that point where other people would want to work with my blog. Five years later, getting book mail still makes my day and I feel lucky to have those connections. I genuinely enjoy helping promote new titles because I know it could help other readers find a new favorite just as it helped me when I wasn't sure what to read next. I don't mind being used as a promotional tool, because I'm getting something out of it--gratification.
I've seen a lot of shaming going on recently, and it makes me kind of sad, especially since the book blogging community has always been pretty tight knit. It's okay to feel ARC envy, but bashing is not. There are certainly people who abuse the opportunities they are given, but what matters are the ones who want to do good. Even if I don't find the time to read every review copy I receive, I try to find some way to spread the word.
Let me know what you feel about ARCs and their place in the blogosphere; I'd love to hear your opinion!