Picture Taken from a recent product page, for a “Prince Lestat” ARC, being sold nearly three months prior to the slated Publication Date.
**Click the hyperlinked text, to be taken to the incriminating Ebay page, which really quite shocked me, to say the least!**
As a book blogger, it is commonplace for me to receive Advance Reader Copies, or Galleys, for books, which I might review and feature here on this book blog. These ARCs are rarely ever shared with anyone else, besides myself, and I have never thought to sell them on Ebay, because there is an unspoken truce between publishers and media outlets to not sell galleys or advance reader copies for profit, in advance of a book’s slated release/publication date. Some people might be wondering, “Why are you writing this article, exposing this kind of stuff, when the practical thing is neither to raise attention to it, or let it be known this kind of underhanded thing happens?”
Well, don’t you suppose that ignorance has allowed this industry, of selling ARCs prior to a book’s release date, on Ebay or other such sites, for profit, by definition is unethical? And when people don’t scrutinize an issue, or raise awareness of something ugly occuring right under our eyes; the inevitable result will be the enabling of such actions, on the part of these individuals. Now, selling ARCS, in of itself, can be a very fruitful, even sound practice, when the ARCs are being sold to collectors, after the book has been officially released. The element of selling ARCs that makes such sale unethical, and a form of thievery, is the act of selling them, months before the release date of the book. This is when things become thornier.
Last night, I discovered that the above Ebay seller had recently sold their Advance Reader Copy of Prince Lestat, nearly three months prior to the book’s release date. Unfortunately, this is a practice that is slowly becoming ubiquitous, and almost unavoidable, in the world of the internet, where Craig’s List and Ebay exist. Again, inherently, the practice of selling ARCS, after a book has been released officially, is not unethical. But selling them prior to a book’s release is where things disconcertingly become something that carries repercussions for reviewers and book bloggers alike; many of who are receiving them primarily to read and review for their publication. Most bloggers and reviewers are not receiving them to sale, or to receive any kind of profit. And, publishers are usually circumspect about trying to put a limit on the number of ARCs released, to curtail the number of people that are trying to procure them to sell in advance of their release date (and make a jackpot of a profit, doing so).
The element of this sale that is so egregious, to me, is the fact that Prince Lestat is a title that has been heavily embargoed, meaning there are very few ARCs of this novel being released. Unfortunately, the seller, selling the above ARC, was able to get one of these very rare, very elusive ARCs, yet was using it to make a killing of a profit, in the end.
When someone does this, it alerts to the publishing company to put more of a limitation on ARCs being handed out to the many ethically-minded reviewers and bloggers out there, who are not taking advantage of the system to make a profit. If the person above sold the Prince Lestat ARC, after October 28, 2014; there wouldn’t be any problem being posed, and really, it would have been wiser, more ethical for this seller to hold off on selling such a popular book, until it has been released.
Instead, reviewers like myself, that uphold the promise made with publishers, when receiving ARCS, must watch with chagrin, as various people on Ebay are using such copies, being published primarily for marketing and publicity purposes, sell them, and inevitably undermine the whole buisness of advance reader copies and galleys.
In light of this very distressing discovery of Prince Lestat ARC being sold early, I am going to be doing weekly discussion posts on the spate of new, almost undetectable security concerns that publishers must have in the age of the internet. We will discuss how Ebook galleys may help, in preventing such theft, and how publishers are working to make the phenomenon of those who sell ARCS for profit, prior to the publication date of a book, being more of a rarity. When individuals sell ARCs early like something like Anne Rice’s much-anticipated Prince Lestat, the reputation of reviewers and bloggers alike is depreciated, because some people may suspect that we might have the same intention, as this very small minority of people. Most reviewers are very respectful, as per the ethics of having an ARC, and in no way taking selfish advantage of a privilege.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Leave your comment below!!