Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So, that ARC selling thing...

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter--or saw Emily White's post yesterday--you've heard that some of my precious KEEPER ARCs have ended up on ebay. And sadly, I'm most definitely NOT the only author this is happening too. If you search ebay for any of the BEA titles you'll find ARCs for sale--many for ridiculous prices. Which of course makes those of us who understand how ARCs are supposed to be used feel very... HULK SMASH!

After all, ARCs specifically say on them--SEVERAL TIMES--that they are "NOT FOR SALE."  They're a marketing tool the publishers produce--at a HIGHER cost per book than finished hardcovers--so that they can get the ARC in the hands of reviewers and hopefully generate some buzz and excitement for the book's release. Authors also receive no money from the unauthorized sale of an ARC, so anyone who sells them is *technically* stealing from us.

Which... sucks. Of course it sucks.

However, neither of those are the real reasons *I'm* annoyed by this process.

What bothers me is that the people who went to BEA and grabbed ARCs so that they could go home and list them all on ebay took them from people who genuinely wanted to read the books and promote them. I can think of many, MANY amazing people that I would LOVE to give an ARC to, but I just don't have copies available. Shoot, even I--as THE AUTHOR--only get to keep one. ONE! And I'm still getting maximum use out of that "one" by sharing it with certain friends and having them read, sign, and return it to me. The rest of my copies are all being used for marketing purposes.

So to see ARCs--precious, needed ARCs--being listed on ebay as "NEW--NEVER BEEN READ" and sold to the highest bidder is just... well, it's icky. Really really icky.

And of course I've reported each auction I've seen--not that it's seemed to matter. I've seen three sell now, and I'm sure they won't be the last (and one--strangely enough--cost the winner almost double the cost of a pre-order by the time you add in shipping).

BUT, as with so many things in this world, there's not much I can do to stop it.

So it's up to me. I can stress and shout at the wind about it. Or I can tell myself that in a backwards way it's surreally strange that my book is cool enough to not only end up on ebay in ARC form--but to have people interested in it enough to buy it. Here's hoping that will eventually be reflected in REAL book sales. And here's hoping even more that whatever slightly misguided souls have purchased those ARCs are buying them for readers--preferably KIDS--who will fall in love with my story.

At the end of the day, I guess THAT'S all that matters.

But... I still think selling ARCs is icky...

29 comments:

  1. I heard about that and it is sad. I'm one of those people who can't afford to go to BEA but love to get those ARCs like yours to help promote your book. They only give away one or I'd a friend pick me up a few ARCs at BEA. And to see people get them to sell is really sad to watch. And so wrong.

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  2. So sorry to hear about this. This is big-time-icky. People would sell their own families on there if they could, wouldn't they?

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  3. Huge anger inducing thing of mine. I hate when people sell ARCs! Especially if they haven't read them and got them with that express purpose. I wrote a post on it two years ago after BEA 2012. SMH. I wish people acted better when they are handed amazing opportunities, I know it makes authors not want to work with certain people.

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  4. After reading your post Shannon I went to ebay and found a few of the ARCs that I was dying to get but by the time I got to the end there was no more books so knowing that people were in line just to grab one or more to sell them makes me mad. Thankfully I got your book Keeper signed (and I won't be selling mine :) ) but I think this is just wrong to sell ARCs when its clearly marked not for sell.

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  5. This truly ticks me off. I was one of the lucky ones who snagged a lovely ARC of yours but there's no way in the world I'd EVER sell it. Ever. Most likely, it'll get passed to a couple of teacher friends and live the rest of its life on my classroom bookshelf.

    Personally, I think it's morally wrong to sell ARCs. The person who's selling them made a choice to pick up a book--out of the hands of someone who wants to read it and promote it, no less--and SELL something that they got for "free" and something that's specifically marked "NOT FOR SALE". *shakes head* I just don't understand it. And I'm sorry for you and every other author this has happened to. *hugs*

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  6. I agree with you! Selling ARCs *is* icky! I was lucky enough to go to BEA for the first time this year, and I know many people who would have loved to get a copy of your ARC (as well as one from other authors) to read and adore. I'm so sorry this has happened to you and to your peers. So unnecessary...

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  7. Here's where the cynical me comes out. It's so entirely sad that people will steal from artists to make a buck. Because, in the end, yes, it's stealing. I've had artist friends who sell on Etsy have to send "cease and desist" notices to people who have stolen their images and tried to resell products with unlicensed use of their images. I've had photographer friends have photos reused without permission. And, I've seen people try to sell just about anything on eBay. Sad, sad, sad. Do I think people deserve to make a living...sure, but not on the backs of other people.

    Aaaand...like you said, there are those of us who would LOVE to have an ARC just for the pleasure of the early read who won't get the chance because someone took one and tried to sell it on eBay!

    OK...stepping off my box...

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  8. That's really terrible, Shannon... so nothing happened when you reported these people? I guess it's impossible to keep this from happening. What I don't understand is why someone would spend twice the amount of a pre-order on an ARC that's not even supposed to be sold. I guess they really wanted to get their hands on your book and FAST! Is that a tiny bright side to this whole thing? Maybe...?

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  9. Hopefully some of the people buying these on e-bay are big Shannon Messenger fans and are buying them to read and post an awesome review. Here's to hoping!

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  10. Agreed. It is just bad form. If someone doesn't want an ARC, they could at least pass it on in good faith to someone who does--what about an actual MG kid???

    As an author who only gets to keep 1 ARC as well, it makes me very sad that people are trying to make money off of a freebie.

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  11. Selling ARCs is wrong. If I decide to stop reading an ARC because of content, then I pass it on to my blogger friends. Actually, I am careful BEFORE accepting an ARC precisely because I am a careful reader and would prefer to pass up and give another reviewer a chance to get it. Hoarding ARCs to then sell them is plain greedy and shows a lack of appreciation for the art of literature.

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  12. The thing that really chaps my hide (yes even more than being envious of people who can afford to go to NYC for BEA) is that with ARCs, it's NOT ABOUT free stuff. I mean sure, that's cool, and my kids get especially excited when they get a "free book" before it's released, but you've got to understand what the purpose of an ARC is.

    Advanced REVIEW Copy.

    I used to own a small record label. We spent a lot of money producing what are called promos (we made hip-hop, so it was mostly vinyl). And yes, we gave them away for free, but there was an understanding. If you liked it, you played it at the club, or on the radio at your college station or whatever.

    The point is that those of us who love books, or love music or whatever, don't have time to sift through all the media that it released each year, so we rely on each other, people we trust, who we know have good taste, to tall us what they liked.

    So the point of ARCs is to be instruments through which to spread the word about great books. It's not an exclusive club. It's not a way to make money (and seriously, can you really get enough profit on Ebay to cover your airfare and hotel for BEA?). It's a way to support the industry, and make sure that good books end up in the hands of people who will enjoy reading them, especially people who might not have otherwise heard of the book if you hadn't reviewed it.

    #endrant

    P.S. I saw your reply at Emily's, Shan. Thanks for letting me know, but I still have plans in the works.

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  13. This is horrible. Shouldn't authors be able to report the seller for putting these up there and have the auctions taken down??

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  14. Ugh, I think you said it all. Oh, and Matthew said it quite nicely as well. But it still sucks.

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  15. http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/intellectual-property-ov.html
    You can probably report them, if not through the regular means, then through the VeRO program.

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  16. What is wrong with people!? I mean morals and ethics anyone?
    I was luckily enough to go to BEA this year, but it certainly NEVER crossed my mind to sell anything that I received there! Unfortunately, we know that these people who do not revere books and the process as much as the rest of us. That just is...sad:(

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  17. That really makes me mad. I must have my head in a hole because I didn't know people were doing that. ARC's are so special and I feel honored every time I get one for my blog. Grrr. Those people.

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  18. Eep! That is horrible! I also had my head in the sand about it...had no idea! And I'm so very sorry that this is a truth in the world. I hope that we adults and parents can teach the youth around us what "honesty", "integrity" and "ethics" mean through our actions in public and in private.

    Perhaps this issue could be intertwined in a book plot? Hmmm...

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  19. :( Ugh. That's rude. I do hope the people buying them are giving them to kids to love and share with people. But still. That's just inconsiderate. I'm sorry :(

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  20. No no no....ARCs are not for sale. Ever. And not to be given to libraries to catalogue...it's rare, really rare that that has happened, but I have come across the odd one here and there....

    They are to be shared-passed along to kids and other readers. UGH to those selling them.

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  21. How frustrating! I didn't realize people do things like that *sigh*

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  22. UGH! This should be forbidden on ebay. Next time post the auctions and we'll all report them. Or maybe we authors should make a Change.org petition? Or get together and demand ebay make a NO ARC-selling policy?

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  23. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop at eBay. I live in Portland, Oregon, home of world famous bookstore Powell's. Every time I go there, they have ARCs for sale on their shelves (loads in the YA section, but the graphic novel section is also crammed with ARCs). I remember seeing The Scorpio Racs before it was out, with a huge "NOT FOR SALE!" sticker on it, Sadly, the store refuses to address this problem, and I've been asking them to stop the practice for years. I've been told that there are a number of other well-known new and used bookstores that engage in the same practice. So, while eBay is probably the most visible, I suspect that there are a lot of outlets where these are being sold. :( It straight up sucks.

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  24. I think the part of this that bothers me most (which isn't to say that the other parts are awesome) is that the person selling the ARC marked it as unread. Seriously? You lucked into one of the most anticipated ARCs and DIDN'T EVEN READ IT before turning around and selling it (illegally). REALLY?

    What I want to know is where these people are getting ARCs. I did some research on the eBay last night when I first saw this post. Several of the users selling an ARC tended to be selling ARCs almost exclusively. Do these people have publisher contacts that send them all the things and they just fence them? As an active reviewer who feels so special every time I get one, that thought makes me rage.

    The question of what to do with ARCs you don't want to personally keep is a tricky one. I usually do giveaways on my blog, but if for some reason you don't want to or can't, what do you do? I've heard throw them away, but...I don't think I could do that. Books are not to be thrown away. Are we opposed to donating them to Goodwill or something similar (post-publication)?

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    1. They're probably getting the ARCs from book conferences, especially the signed ones. I think it's a lot harder to get ARCs by request than at a large convention.

      I usually donate all my books to Goodwill after I'm done with them, but the problem is that those books aren't just given to the needy - they're sold at thrift stores, which means the author isn't getting any extra profit. But if I simply gave it away the author wouldn't be making any money anyway. It helps out people in need so I can't really oppose the idea.

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  25. I think it is awful that someone would sell an ARC on Ebay or in a bookstore. So not fair to the author. Shannon, I'm sorry that this is happening to you and so many other authors.

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  26. I have so many ARCs from BEA that I've run out of space on my shelf. After I've finished reading all of them, I'm going to put them all in a giant box and give them away to someone. I'm already giving away the signed copy of Prodigy on my blog (which is going for $70 on Ebay... pftt).

    Shipping books to others is expensive, but nothing makes me happier than sharing good writing with other people.

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  27. I'm really too lazy to do giveaways on my blog - I hate going to the post office and I procrastinate terribly. I don't really know very many book bloggers that I could just hand them off to. So far I have mostly just hung on to all my ARCs but soon this will reach a problem stage. Switching to eARCs is a big help for this.

    Part of me thinks that an ARC that sells for a high price on eBay is a big compliment to the author - it's a collectors' item of a sort - but of course the wrong people are making money on it.

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  28. I am really sorry Shannon that's happening to you. It makes me so sad. (sniffle). I REALY want an ARC and to think people sell them on Ebay. :(

    from A

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